History of Philosophies, East and West (HPEW)

The HPEW curriculum includes courses on Islamic philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Japanese philosophy, Hindu philosophy, ancient Greek philosophy, as well as medieval and modern western philosophy. The systematic areas covered from historical perspectives are ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, cosmology, psychology, aesthetics, theology and theories of knowledge. The program’s courses and seminars on eastern thought include treatments of its western interpretations, and vice versa. Teaching is based on primary texts, with selective use of secondary sources. Special emphasis is put on the understanding of native terms and concepts from the original languages of the works read. (Languages may include German, French, Italian, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Persian, Sanskrit, Pali, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Achieving reading competency in one or more of these languages is strongly encouraged.) This program is one of the few in the western world allowing students to earn a philosophy graduate degree while pursuing coursework in both eastern and western thought. Because of its distinctive character, it aims to attract students with a comparative perspective who wish to deepen their understanding of the history of philosophy under the guidance of internationally renowned scholars of modern, medieval, and classical philosophical traditions. 

Program Administration and Advising 

The administration of this joint MA program is carried out by HPEW’s program director in consultation with the Graduate Program Committee (GPC). The GPC consists of HPEW core faculty (see below) and one graduate student representative. Academic advising is carried out primarily by the core faculty, who also meet regularly to evaluate all individual students’ progress toward graduation. 

Students must fulfill most degree requirements by taking HPEW’s regularly scheduled graduate courses and seminars. Any student who takes the MA thesis option (6 credits) will request the formation of a faculty committee for the thesis project. This committee consists of the thesis advisor and one other faculty member.