Department of Philosophy & Psychology

University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka

Postgraduate Programme-Philosophy


PHY501  Issues in Philosophy
PHY502  Modern Western Philosophy
PHY503  Indian Philosophy
PHY504  Classical Ethics – East & West
PHY505  Ethics and Social Philosophy of Buddhism
PHY506  Philosophy & Psychology of Education
PHY507  Seminar on Methodology

PHY 501   Issues in Philosophy

The objective of this course is to introduce the main issues in Philosophy and the nature of the Philosophical enterprise.  The course elaborates the fundamental and central questions in Philosophy, problems of Philosophy and the practical issues of Philosophy.

 The course content deals with the nature of Philosophical enterprise and Problems of Knowledge, Issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, Ethics and Aesthetics.

 PHY 502   Modern Western Philosophy

 The course intends to introduce the principal themes and trends in Modern Western Philosophy from Rene Descartes to Nietzsche; the students are expected to have background knowledge in Philosophy of Medieval period and a sound understanding on Modern Western Philosophical Thought. 

 The course content includes the transition to Modern Philosophy and relation of Modern Philosophy to Medieval and renaissance thought. The rise of the scientific world-view, Mathematics and the methodology of the natural Sciences; Religion versus Science. The course also deals with issues in epistemology and metaphysics of continental rationalism and empiricist views on foundations of human knowledge, perception, the knowledge of external world; emergence of skepticism and Kantian synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism. The content includes study of the evolution of morality during the Modern Period with special reference to Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, Rousseau and Kant and Philosophy of History according to Hegel.


PHY 503    Indian Philosophy

 The objective of this course is to give a sound understanding of Indian Philosophy with the historical overview of Metaphysical, Epistemological and Ethical views of schools of Indian Philosophy.

The course content deals with the cosmological and metaphysical ideas of the Vedas, and Upanishads and the concept of Atman and Brahman. The non- Vedic systems of thought prior to the emergence of Buddhism, the doctrines of Ajivaka’s and Jainism. The course also deals with the philosophy of Early Buddhism with special reference to Epistemology and Theory of Reality.  Philosophical developments of later Buddhism, The Sauntrantika, Vaibashika, Madhyamika and Yogachara systems. Students will learn about the six systems of Indian Philosophy, Vedanta Philosophy, Saiva Siddhanta Philosophy, and Contemporary Indian Philosophy.

PHY 504   Classical Ethics - East & West 

The course aims to provide the understanding of brief history and Philosophy of Eastern and Western Classical Ethics and Ethical concepts.

The course content deals with history of Eastern and Western Classical Ethics, nature and scope of ethics. Eastern Ethics includes Vedas, Upanishads, Early Buddhist Ethics, Bhagavad-Gita, Mahayana Ethics, Hua yen Buddhism, Confucius, Loa Tzu, Zoroastrian Ethics and Western Classical Ethics focuses on Greek Ethics, Sophists, Socrates, Epicureans, Stoics, skeptics, Plato and Aristotle. Modern Ethics -Teleology, Deontology, Spinoza, Hume, Kant, Schopenhaur and Nietzsche. The course will introduce the ethical concepts of Good and Bad, Freewill and Determinism, Politics and Ethics, Ethics and Liberation, Science and Ethics, Medicine and Ethics.

PHY 505   Ethics and social Philosophy of Buddhism

 The course aims to provide a sound knowledge of ethics of Buddhism and social Philosophy of Buddhism. Part I deals with ethics of Buddhism and Part II introduces the Social Philosophy of Buddhism.

 Ethics of Buddhism analyses the nature and subject matter of ethics, Pre- Buddhist background and the emergence of Buddhism as moral reform movement. Ethical terminology and ethical concepts of Buddhism, substantive ethical doctrines of Buddhism. Part I also deals with philosophical problems of ethics in relation to the Buddhist ethical system and Buddhist ethics and moral problems of contemporary society.

Part II deals with social philosophy of Buddhism. Buddhist Critique of Pre- Buddhist views on the nature and origin of society. Moral basis of political order, social divisions, the essential equality of human beings, attitude towards women and concept of harmonious social order.

PHY 506 Philosophy  and Psychology of Education

 This course aims to provide a sound knowledge in philosophical aspect of Education and psychological aspect of Education, Part one deals with the philosophical aspect of Education and Part II focuses on psychological aspect of Education.

 The course content of Philosophical aspect of Education includes the normative aspect of Education and the cognitive aspect of Education, Philosophers of Education and Natural Science.

The part II deals with the psychological aspects of Education.. The genesis of Educational psychology, and its historical development. Attention sand Education. Motivations and educations. Negative thinking in Education. Positive thinking in Education. Anxiety, stress and depression managing stress and depression Psychological problems in learning;  Cross – Cultural perspectives in Education

PHY 507  Seminar on Methodology

 Objective of this course is to provide a sound understanding of Philosophical methodologies and Research methodologies in social sciences.

 The course content deals with Critical method, Scientific Method, Dialectical method, Existential method, Phenomenological method and Hermeneutic method. The students will also learn about qualitative research methodology in Social Sciences and present papers on new approaches in research methodology.



M.A./M.Phil in Philosophy

PHY 601/ 701   Contemporary Analytical Philosophy   
PHY 602/ 702   Contemporary Moral Philosophy     
PHY 603/ 703    Philosophy of Mahayana                               
PHY 604/704     Elements of Buddhist logic      
PHY 605/705     French Philosophy              
PHY 606/706     Modern German Philosophy      
PHY 607/707     Modernity, Post- Modernity and Islamic Thought   
PHY 608/ 708    Hua – Yen Buddhism    
PHY 609/709     Science and Society
PHY 610/710     Research Methodology


PHY 601/ 701 Contemporary Analytical Philosophy

  The objective of this course is to give a sound knowledge of the main trends in contemporary Analytical Philosophy and Linguistic approaches to Philosophical problems.

 The course content deals with Logical Empiricism and contemporary Analytical Philosophy; Bertrand Russell’s and G.E Moore’s conception of Analysis. Logical positivism with special reference to Vienna Circle, the work of Rudolf Carnap in

Particular. Early Wittgenstein’s analysis as reflected in Tractutus and the works of A.J Ayer. Linguistic analysis of later Wittgenstein, A.L Austin, P.F Strawsan and G. Ryle. Analysis in Contemporary French and German Philosophy

PHY 602/702 Contemporary Moral Philosophy

 The course intends to provide new conceptions of the philosophical method and their influences on developments in contemporary moral philosophy.

 Intuitionism and G.E Moore, H.A Prichard and W.D Ross on moral philosophy. Critique of Naturalism in Ethics, Emotivism and early forms of emotivist analysis deal with Moral Philosophy of A.J Ayer’s and Logical Positivists; C.L Stevenson’s development of emotivism as full- fledged ethical theory; Critique of emotivism. Prescriptivism of R.M Hare and neo naturalist approaches of Phillippa Foot and G.J Warnock. Existentialist approaches to Ethics and Marxist Ethics. The course also emphasizes on applied aspects of Ethics e.g. Medical Ethics, legal and business Ethics and Bio Medical Ethics.

PHY 603/ 703   Philosophy of  Mahayana 

This course intends to introduce the student to the major concepts of Mahayana thought. This will be done in comparison with the teachings of Theravada Buddhism. The origin and development of Mahayana thought will be discussed in detail.

The doctrine of Voidness and Philosophy of Nagarjuna; Philosophy of Shunyata, samsara - Nirvana identity theory; Wisdom Sutras; Saddharmapundarika Sutra, Lankavatara sutra, Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra and other major Mahayana Sutras will be discussed; Philosophy of Vijanavada - Philosophy of Asanga and Vasubandu, the doctrine of death and after life; evolution of the doctrine of Nirvana; the teaching of non-duality; the relationship between Pragna, Bhakti and morality; the special significance of the doctrine of Bodhisattva. Philosophy of Zen Buddhism

PHY 604/ 704    Elements of Buddhist Logic

The objective of this course is to impart to the student the logical concepts, techniques and principles and dialectics that evolved in Buddhist Thought in India.

The course content includes Indian logic Prior to and at the time of Buddha; logical forms and reasoning in the Pali Canon particularly the Catuskoti and the Kathavatthu

and the Milinda Panha; Nagarjuna and Madhyamika Logic; Later Buddhist logic as seen in the expositions of Vasubandu, Dinnaga, Dharmakirti and other thinkers.

PHY 605/705     French Philosophy

 The objective of this course is to give a comprehensive knowledge of French Philosophy. Historical legacies of French Philosophy in general e.g. Plato’s Theory of Forms; the role of reason in Aristotle; Introduces the Renaissance interlude and gate way to Modernity.

 The course content includes the historical overview of French Philosophy, the birth of the modern Cogito Enlightenment, The nature of Knowledge and Truth as interpreted by classical French Philosophers, British Empiricism and Existentialist Turn and Jean Paul Sartre, turning French Philosophy to Structuralism; Ferdinand Saussure; French philosophy turning to Social and cultural Analysis: Pierre Bourdieu: Habitus Students will read On Michel Foucault, Jacque Derrda, Jean Baudrillard, Jacque Lacan, Francios Lyotard, Delluze and Guttari

PHY 606/706   Modern German Philosophy

 The course intends to give sound knowledge in Modern German Philosophy with the historical background of classical western Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Renaissance and Enlightenment or pre Kantian Philosophy, Science and Kantian Philosophy and Post- Kantian Philosophy in Germany.

 The course content covers the major contribution made by Immanuel Kant in Metaphysics, Ethics and Aesthetics, and Newtonian influence on Kant. Students will read on Hegel’s Philosophy and Nietzsche’s Nihilism.  German Existentialism, Keirkegard, Gabriel Marcel, Phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, Heideggar, Frankfurt school of Social Research with special reference to Marcuse, Habermas, Adarno and Hermeneutical approach of Hans George Gadamar.

PHY 607/707   Modernity, Post - Modernity and Islamic Thought

 This Program Provides comprehensive coverage of political cultural and intellectual issues that associated with modern Islam, Modernity and Post-Modernism. The aim of the program is to promote students with basic competence with modern Islamic Thought and also to enabling them to interact with modernity and post modernity and contemporary political and philosophical issues. This program offers the opportunity to the students to explore the relationship with Islamic Thought and Modernity and Post Modernity.

 The course content deals with modernity, post modernity and post- modern attitude towards religion. The modern world system and the main characteristics of Muslim modernism. Philosophical formations of Islamic political theory in the 19th and 20th centuries. Political, Social, Cultural and secular trends in Muslim Modernism. Independent thinking of Muslim world, Islam and the West. Islam’s attitudes towards

Science. Nationalism and Liberalism, Human rights and Democracy. Women in  Islamic Law and Society. Challenges for Muslim women in a post -modern world.  Islam and Ideology in the age of Post modernity.

PHY 608/ 708    Hua Yen Buddhism

The objective of the course is to introduce the student to a wider view of the cosmos, and its network of inter-relationships. The developments of Buddhist thought particularly in terms of its theory of causality and theory of no self will be given special attention. Special attention will be paid to the profound ecological implications of this thought system.

The inter-related nature of cosmic events, and the consequent theory of relativity it implies; the nature of causation as no-causation; the theory of identity; Part and the whole; The jewel net of Indra; epistemological and moral implications; doctrine of liberation as a present event.

PHY 609/ 709   Science and Society

The objective of this course is to bring out the relationships that could be discerned in the modes of thought as well as social & economic developments in different societies and the science evolved in them.

The course content includes the ways of thinking and perception in Indian Chinese and European civilizations.  Science in relation to political, social, economic and religious background. Science and technology in historic Sri Lanka. Pre-Greek and Greek science.

Arab science. The Scientific revolution in Europe.  Methodological and Epistemological  features of modern science. Science and Globalization. Philosophical problems of contemporary science. Science and ethics. Future science

PHY 610/710   Research Methodology

Objective of this course is to give a sound understanding on Research Methodologies   and Philosophical Methodologies, which can be utilized to do research papers and dissertations in Philosophy and Social Sciences and for   textual criticisms and analysis in Philosophy.

The course will include Philosophical methods – Critical method, Hermeneutic method, Scientific method, Phenomenological method, Existential method, Phenomenological hermeneutic method and Existential hermeneutic method.  Qualitative research methodologies and new approaches to research methodologies in social sciences will be included as research areas in this research methodology course.