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Philosophy MA student wins prestigious European scholarship

By Janet Harron | Feb. 4, 2010

Joseph Carew, a native of Cape Broyle on the Southern Shore, has won the prestigious Erasmus Mundus Europhilosophe Scholarship and will be studying at three different French and/or German speaking universities over the next two years.

The award, which was established in 2007 by the European Commission, has a total value of 21,000 Euros annually and is offered to 17 students from outside the European Union. All classes and course work are in French and German, both of which Mr. Carew already speaks with relative fluency. He started learning German at the end of his BA in philosophy and spent some time in Düsseldorf taking part in an intensive German language course in the summer of 2008. He has spent much of the past year in Quebec, immersing himself in French while completing his thesis.

“I am looking forward to completely immersing myself in French and German during the program and think it will be an excellent opportunity that will greatly affect my work and my life in general,” says Mr. Carew.

Mr. Carew is not only the first person from Memorial University to win the scholarship – he is the first native English-speaking Canadian to win it. Encouraged to apply by a former fellow student, he applied this year “thinking I had nothing to lose.” He applied in German (“I thought it would be normal for a Canadian to write the application in French”) which required him to translate one of his own published philosophy essays into German.

His research uses German Idealism to reinforce that philosophical knowledge of the past can be used to overcome current impasses in science, politics and contemporary theory. Mr. Carew goes on to explain, “It’s not just a problem of ‘textual interpretation’; but real value and truth… We just need to know how to listen to the philosophical past and let it pass through our current knowledge.” He is looking forward to researching thinkers like Kant, Hegel and Schelling in their original language to discover “what else may still be hidden in their thinking that we are overlooking because of our current scientific, postmodern supplications.”

Mr. Carew credits the professors at Memorial’s philosophy department who have incorporated both a history of ideas and the real life application of those ideas in their teaching. “I want to integrate the best aspects of their methodologies into my own. I have learned a lot at Memorial and I would like to keep that knowledge alive in my own way and continue to pass it on to others.”

Dr. James Bradley, head of the Department of Philosophy, comments, "This is a great achievement for Joseph and his graduate supervisor at Memorial, Dr. Sean McGrath. It testifies to the quality of our students and of our teaching in humanities at Memorial, and it underscores the importance for Newfoundland students of the international and cosmopolitan dimension of an arts education."

More information on the award can be found at www.europhilosophie.eu/mundus/spip.php?article117.


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