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Department of Philosophy

Strategy plan

Strategy plan 2016 - 2022

Presentation of the Stratgy plan for the Department of Philosophy 2016 - 2022.

VISION

Philosophy that meets global societal challenges

OBJECTIVES

  • Offer teaching in philosophy at a high international level
  • Offer teaching in philosophy with relevance to students of other subjects
  • Offer high quality teaching in Examen philosophicum, with a content that is relevant to the students' other subjects
  • Publish basic research in reputable international journals
  • Publish philosophical research with global relevance
  • Offer continuing education and contribute to the public debate

Research

Our goal is to become a leading research environment in philosophy that is relevant for society. We will achieve this by:

- providing the conditions for individual employees to develop their own research interests as best as possible. It is our goal that all employees with a doctoral degree at FoF have standard working contracts.

- introducing incentives for publishing in good international journals and publishers, through prioritisation in the choice of teaching, increased personal working capital and prioritisation in internal applications for research funding.

- maintaining competence within our well-established research areas

- encouraging the establishment and continuation of interdisciplinary research and research across faculties within specific areas

- increasing the quality of the PhD training.

 

Prioritised tasks within FoF's research areas

Logic, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind

The department's expertise in logic, philosophy of science and philosophy of mind has been significantly strengthened through employment in recent years. The research area is already linked to UiB's growing research environment for cognitive science, through an interdisciplinary research network and programme of study. Research on argumentation theory, and in particular legal proof theory, also links the research area to the Faculty of Law. The department has an annual international conference in philosophy of science, and has organised a number of smaller workshops. Tim Bayne is Professor II with specialisation in philosophy of mind. The research area already has a FRIHUMSAM-project in the years 2016-2020 which involves two more research positions in philosophy of logic. The department has recently added a top researcher in philosophy of science with funding for five years from the UiB's top research program .

In the period 2016-2022, the research area will be strengthened:

- By increasing the number of publications in top-ranked journals and publishers.

- By providing national and European funding for major projects and conferences.

- By joining a European PhD network that will help give our PhD students international experience.

- By establishing long-term partnerships with leading research institutions.

- By delivering socially relevant research and disseminate the results in channels outside academia.

- More frequent participation at international conferences.

 

Philosophy and Text Technology

The group uses philosophy to better understand how IT and the digital media and resources enter into all of our lives. It also studies how digital tools and methods may best be used for dissemination and research within philosophy. A third main question is how the humanities can contribute to the development of better text technological theories, methods and tools. The leader of the group is Professor Alois Pichler. The group’s research is closely related to the Wittgenstein archive and its projects and international networks.

In the period 2016-22, the group will work to:

- create courses in "Philosophy and Text Technology"

- attract at least one externally funded research and / or development project in the group's area

- arrange at least one major international conference on the topic in Bergen

- publish at least 10 contributions in good international journals and publishers

- get a PhD fellow with a project in the group's research area

- collaborate closely with complementary research areas at UiB, e.g. (data) linguistics and digital culture at LLE (Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies) and UBB (University of Bergen Library), in order to integrate into a strong local network for Digital Humanities.

 

Ancient Philosophy

Ancient Philosophy is a strong and vibrant research group at FoF, with active members, a broad and very good contact network, and regular seminars, workshops and symposia. The group has been responsible for a number of publications, and is currently working on, among other things, the release of international anthologies based on held conferences.

The Ancient Philosophy Group's strategy for the period 2016-2022 is divided into four concrete and countable goals.

- Publishing. Each of the scientific FoF employees in the group publishes an average of at least 1 article per year in a professionally acknowledged forum (professional journal or anthology) within the field; the group will also systematically help ensure that all members receive help towards publishing as desired.

- Project funding. The Ancient Philosophy Group prepares and updates project descriptions for applications and academic activity, and will apply for funding in order to realise at least one project that includes a PhD and / or Postdoc position.

- Networking. The Ancient Philosophy Group will conduct annual international symposiums, as a main measure for the maintenance and further development of the group's contact network and professional timeliness.

- Academic continuity. In order to ensure continuity and quality in the work and maintenance of the group's identity and activity level, at least 5 seminars and 1 workshop per year shall be carried out on average for presentation and discussion of own and others' articles as well as original antique texts; the annual workshop is devoted to preparing for the symposium.

 

Ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of law

The department has quite a few employees with expertise in ethics, political philosophy, and philosophy of law. It includes both permanent academic staff and temporarily employed PhD- and Postdoctoral fellows. The researchers currently work mainly on individual research projects. There is a focus on applied issues within all three main areas, such as distribution rights related to health, climate and tax; international law; penalty; human rights, education, welfare, evil, and freedom. The researchers have published their work in national and international journals, and with Norwegian and international publishers. The research area has arranged several conferences and workshops in recent years, as well as the seminar series Forum for Political Theory, with lectures on central issues in ethics, political theory and philosophy of law. Several of the employees are also active in dissemination of their research, and administering the blog "politiskfilosofi.no".

In the period 2016-2022, the research area will be strengthened by:

- publishing in highly rated journals and publishers

- establishing new collaborative projects

- obtaining external funding for research on one or more of the research areas

- strengthening cooperation with current foreign research communities

- highlighting our expertise, both nationally and internationally

- becoming a leader in the dissemination of normative research to the public.

 

Modern philosophy

The department has considerable expertise in the diverse field of research "modern philosophy", especially in phenomenology / existential philosophy, critical theory, rhetoric and structuralism / post-structuralism, as well as modern history of philosophy. The area includes the group "Subjectivisation and Late Modernity", and researchers related to the groups "Literature and Radical Philosophy" (LLE (Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies)) and "Intellectual History" (IF (Department of Foreign Languages)) and to SKOK (Centre for Women's and Gender Research ) and SVT (Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities). The research is linked to networks nationally (KHiO (Oslo National Academy of Arts), Volda University College, UiT (The Artic University of Norway), in Europe (the Nordic countries, France, Italy), and internationally (Brazil) with collaboration on conferences, workshops and publications. Cooperation with various academic environments and interest groups outside academia (e.g. the school system, administration and organizations) is also important.

In the period 2016-2022, the research activity in the area "Modern philosophy" will be strengthened and further developed through:

- strengthening publication and dissemination activity in relevant forms and forums

- further developing networking, also about organized research training (cotutelle)

- developing and applying for funding for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research projects, including PhD and Postdoc scholarships

- continuing work on professional involvement of alumni

- promoting Erasmus teacher exchange

 

Wittgenstein Research

The departmen's long tradition of Wittgenstein research will continue in the period 2016-2022. The aim is to do and publish research that in various ways is related to Wittgenstein's philosophy. Today, academic staff at FoF are researching and publishing on Wittgenstein's texts and on the relationship between Wittgenstein's philosophy and mathematics, aesthetics, social sciences, and ethics. These researchers are active participants in networking and collaborative projects, of which the most important one today is the Nordic Wittgenstein Society (NWS) 2008 - present. NWS has its own open access journal Nordic Wittgenstein Review, where members of the Bergen research group sit at the editorial board or function as referees. The department has been and will also be visited annually by international Wittgenstein researchers in the coming years. The Wittgenstein research area in Bergen has also received funding for and has organised several international conferences in recent years, which they will continue to do in the coming period.

In the period 2016-2022, the research activity in the area "Wittgenstein Research" will be strengthened and further developed by:

- Improving the courses in "Wittgenstein studies"

- Maintaining and expanding their international contact network

- Attracting at least one externally funded research project

- Arranging at least one major international conference on the topic in Bergen 

- Publishing in good international journals and publishers

- Strengthening the dissemination activity in relevant forms and forums.

Ph.d.-program

The quality of FoF's PhD-program must be improved in order to ensure that it is at an internationally high level. This is absolutely crucial for FoF to become attractive to skilful PhD applicants and to ensure that our candidates find suitable positions after completing the PhD-degree. We will emphasise the following:

  • Follow-ups with annual status meetings
  • Mentor arrangement when carrying out the compulsory requirements of the PhD
  • Better integrate the Master's program as a preparation for the Phd program
  • Better coordination and integration of study abroad in the PhD program.

Teaching of philosophy students

The department will emphasise strengthening the Master's degree program by highlighting the relevance of philosophy for jobs in public administration, voluntary and international organisations and business. The department will make it easier for people with a background other than philosophy to apply for admission to the Master's program in philosophy. At the same time, the department will raise the standards on the philosophical level of the master's degree courses so that, to a greater extent than today, they prepare people for a further research career in philosophy.

Specifically, we will do the following:

 

Improve recruitment and implementation

The department will:

  • Clarify the responsibilities of social media and other channels that can reach prospective students
  • Continue the engagement in the university’s open day
  • Continue the mentor scheme
  • Facilitate social contact between students and employees, among other things through active support for the Student Council
  • Gather alumni information to identify career opportunities
  • Improve the frequency and follow-up on course evaluations

Improving the quality of the Bachelor program

The department's course portfolio will enable our students to enter into outstanding foreign programs, and make it attractive for foreign students to apply to our programs.

The department will therefore:

- Offer more topics in the core areas of philosophy at the 200-level. A cycle of teaching these every two years shall be established so that they become available to the department's undergraduate students during the course of the three-year program of study

- Phase out teaching that covers course codes at 100, 200 and 300 levels simultaneously

- Offer more courses in English

-  make more use of digital activities and forms of assessment, including "student peer review", which can motivate and inspire during the entire program of study

- Strengthen students' writing skills by increasing the number of writing assignments, increasing topics with portfolio assessment with several written assignments distributed throughout the semester.

- Encourage increased use of exchange agreements

- Increase teaching with several teachers on the same course.

 

Improving the Master's program

The department's master's program will recruit more and stronger applicants, both from Norway and abroad. The Master's program will teach students to evaluate and contribute to philosophical research, as well as prepare students to compete for doctoral scholarships in Norway and abroad. The content of the program should not be exclusively aimed at the thesis topic, but provide a broad background for further studies and research.

- The department will offer more 300-level courses. New specialisation courses that reflect the department's expertise will be developed at 300-level.

- The department will develop the master's program to include two compulsory 300-courses with academic content at research level: one in practical philosophy (autumn) and one in theoretical philosophy (spring).

- Employees in Professor 2 positions and guest lecturers will to a greater extent be involved in teaching at the master’s program.

- The department will ensure increased academic and social contact between master students and PhD fellows.

- The department will be the driving force for several interdisciplinary topics in rhetoric.

In addition, FoF will maintain and improve the study offer for students at other faculties within environmental ethics, philosophy of mind, practical argumentation / rhetoric and political philosophy. We will improve the offer and the standards of the master's program teaching, and increase the recruitment of students with relevant specialisation other than philosophy for this program. The department will also consider creating new programmes of study.

 

Establishment of new programmes of study

Programme of study in philosophy, political science, economics

The long-term goal should be to introduce a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) programme of study at UiB, and the department will work to facilitate this. As a step in this process, the department will introduce a course of study for a master's degree in philosophy with emphasis on Philosophy and Public Policy.

International Master's degree / Master's degree program for students with a background other than philosophy

A course of study with an emphasis on Philosophy and Public Policy will be attractive for international students, both with quota financing and with self-financing. We will therefore facilitate the conditions so that we can take up more students on our master's program with this specialisation. A streamlined process for admission to this type of interdisciplinary program must be introduced.

Examen philosophicum

In an international context, the University of Bergen has a large philosophical department. The reason for this is the number of positions and teaching related to examen philosophicum, which makes up approximately 2/3 of the department's activity. In addition, students other than philosophy students make up a significant part of the credits accumulated in the subject field. The main activity at the department is therefore related to teaching students who have not been admitted to the bachelor's or master's programme in philosophy.

Exam philosophicum is general, interdisciplinary and faculty-oriented. It is general by virtue of the fact that all students take it and that there are overlapping similarities between the ex.phil. taught at the various faculties. It is interdisciplinary in that one's own subject is put into a larger academic context, and it is subject-/ faculty-oriented in that is based on a single subject / faculty's point of view.

The department shall be at the forefront when it comes to developing examen philosophicum professionally and pedagogically. By virtue of being a subject all students at the university take, it is a goal that examen philosophicum will contribute to a common foundation and vocabulary for students and researchers within the various disciplines, which in turn can promote dialogue between different subject traditions and interdisciplinary collaboration. Examen philosophicum will present philosophical perspectives - such as from epistemology, theory of science, philosophy of language, and moral philosophy - that can enable the student to identify basic assumptions in his or her own subject, and to reflect on these. Examen philosophicum will also help students develop analytical and critical skills.

In the work ahead towards these goals, emphasis is placed on the teaching of examen philosophicum:

- Try out various educational tools within the framework of the seminar model, including new digital learning methods.

- The aim is to reflect the individual faculties' academic main focus, and make the ex.phil courses even more relevant to the students, e.g. through establishing contact with professionals around the respective faculties

- Use profiled and motivating professionals as co-educators, and set lecture hours to current debates

- Strengthen the work of the teaching teams as a contribution to raising the quality of teaching and to further develop the various faculty versions

- Is linked more strongly to ongoing interdisciplinary research at the department.

HSE

The department's social environment must be inclusive and professional. Students and alumni are to be welcomed to a professional community. A good environment will contribute to professional collaboration between employees.

To achieve this,

- Events directed by the department shall be open and widely advertised

- The employees have a special responsibility to ensure that students and visitors feel welcome at the department's events. Students and PhD-candidates should be especially encouraged to participate in discussions.

- An inclusive reading environment for master students and advanced bachelor students shall be made available

- The department has several regular social arenas for employees and students, such as communal lunches, public lectures, mountain walks and informal meetings after guest lectures and department seminars.

 

Offices and communal areas

The department must have an office environment that is not only functional, but which contributes to the well-being of employees and students.

- There will be better office arrangements for individual academic supervision of students at the Examen Philosophicum.

- The common areas will to a greater extent be used for social events that involve both employees and students.

- Offices and office spaces should be easy to adapt to the needs of different employees.

- The office environment shall be adapted to an increasing number of temporary and visiting researchers.

- HSE-deviations should be followed up on quickly, and more employees should be familiar with routines for notifying HSE-deviations.

 

The working environment

Employees at the department shall have varied tasks and predictable work tasks.

- Tasks should be distributed in a way so that absence to a lesser extent affects the department's operations. All regular teaching at the department should be covered by at least two members of the academic staff.

- The department will to a greater extent assist temporary employees, especially doctoral and postdoctoral fellows, to identify and pursue career opportunities.