“What makes a just society?”, “Do we have free will?”, “Does science show us how the world really is?” – these are questions that the philosopher strives to find answers to. Philosophy investigates the relevant possible answers and their reasons, but also analyze the central concepts involved. The critical examination of positions featured in the history of thought is seamlessly intertwined with addressing fundamental challenges of the modern world by using rational argument.
Studying philosophy in Bielefeld begins with the texts of classical philosophers – from such canonical thinkers as Plato and Aristotle, Descartes, Kant and Hegel, to Wittgenstein, Quine and Rawls. Acquainting oneself with these classical ways of thinking, however, is not primarily a historical endeavor. Rather, these classical positions themselves are used as a relevant source of ideas whose truth claims need to be evaluated in light of current research interests in philosophy. Students of Bielefeld’s philosophy department will broaden their intellectual horizons by being exposed to, and learning to understand, a wide variety of different perspectives and ways of thinking. At the same time, one will learn to compare and contrast opposing views and opinions while simultaneously learning to judge the validity of such positions via critical investigation of their arguments and counter-arguments. Studying philosophy in Bielefeld teaches students to command clarity in expression, and to argue creatively and systematically with precision in order to actively engage intellectual problems to which no standard answers are available.
The study of philosophy in Bielefeld provides intensive mentoring and competent guidance. The philosophy program in Bielefeld is comprised by a group of experienced and sophisticated instructors who personally supervise students’ writing. A careful guidance of readings is promoted within small groups along with the presentation of philosophical positions and comprehension of texts. The approach to studying philosophy found in Bielefeld places great value on self-motivated work and independent argumentation. The corresponding master’s program in Bielefeld places intense focus on the student’s own writing in the context of current research problems and classical traditions. Bielefeld University also offers a well organized library (which was ranked second among German university libraries in recent CHE-study) and is furnished with many computerized student workplaces.
The philosophy program prepares students for a range of professional work fields which center on the ability to analyze complex texts and problems as well as the ability to express oneself clearly in writing and conversation. Jobs in publishing, public relations, culture management, media and many other areas are some examples. For those interested in employment in education, the bachelor’s program offers a special degree profile specifically for education.
Bielefeld offers one bachelor’s program and several master’s programs in philosophy. In the three-year bachelor program both major and minor studies are possible. Every student in the bachelor program has the choice between three different profiles:
· Professional Study profile (fachwissenschaftliches Profil)
· Gymnasium und Gesamtschule profile (Profil GG: Unterrichtsfächer „Philosophie“ und „Praktische Philosophie“)
· Haupt- und Realschule profile (Profil HR: Unterrichtsfach „Praktische Philosophie“)
After having finished the B.A. program, students can then enroll in a two-year master’s program, which can be completed as either a Master of Arts (M.A.) or a Master of Education (M.Ed.), which certifies one for professional teaching. An interdisciplinary master’s program on “history, philosophy, and sociology of science” (HPSS) and a French-German master’s program on “science studies” are also offered. An overview regarding this study paths can be found here.
Positions in the philosophy program are limited, and applications for admission are accepted between June 1 and July 15 for the winter semester and December 1 to January 15 for the summer semester. More information on applying can be found here. More information on applying can be found here.