Broadly speaking, the principal aim of philosophy is to increase our understanding of ourselves, the world, and our place in it. Philosophy differs from the empirical and social sciences in important respects. One way to characterize philosophy is by the sorts of questions it seeks to answer, and the ways in which it seeks to answer them. Different areas of philosophy are characterized by the questions they address. For example, Epistemology inquires into the nature of knowledge, Metaphysics is concerned with the fundamental nature of the world and of the types of things that it contains, Ethics investigates the nature of moral judgment and moral reasoning, while Political Philosophy examines such matters as justice, freedom, rights, democracy, and power, and Logic is broadly the analysis of the structure of correct reasoning. In addition, there are the various “Philosophies of...”, e.g., Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion.
Some of the courses in the Department are explicitly devoted to these specific areas of philosophy, each exploring one or several ways of construing and answering the questions it poses. Other courses explore some period or individual figure in the history of philosophy, approaching philosophical questions through the work of past thinkers, and often exploring connections between the different areas of philosophy.
The discipline of Philosophy, as a particular way of thinking, emphasizes clarity in expression, both written and oral, and rigour in argument. Philosophical questions are intriguing and hard, and so philosophical method stresses thoroughness and intellectual generosity – the willingness and ability to grasp another's arguments and respond to them. The Department requires of all (and only) Honours and Joint Honours students that they take a special 3-credit course (PHIL 301), the principal aim of which is to equip students with the distinctively philosophical skills required for advanced work in the field.
The B.A. in Philosophy is not a professional qualification. It prepares students for graduate work in philosophy and for study in other disciplines, e.g., Law. As the interdisciplinary discipline par excellence, philosophy also maintains and encourages ties with other fields, so many students will find that certain classes in philosophy are directly relevant to their major area of study. The department has a strong commitment to providing an intensive yet broad-based philosophical education. The research interests of members of the Department are wide-ranging.
See also the separate listing for History and Philosophy of Science (HPSC).
|Mario A. Bunge; Ph.D.(LaPlata), F.R.S.C. (John Frothingham Emeritus Professor of Logic and Metaphysics)|
|Alastair McKinnon; M.A.(Tor.), Ph.D.(Edin.), B.D.(McG.), F.R.S.C., R.D., D.H.L.(St. Olaf) (William C. Macdonald Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy)|
|David Norton; M.A.(Claremont), Ph.D.(Calif.), F.R.S.C (William C. Macdonald Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy)|
|Charles Taylor; M.A., D.Phil.(Oxf.), F.R.S.C.|
|George Di Giovanni; B.A., M.A., S.T.B., Ph.D.(Tor.)|
|Storrs McCall; B.A.(McG.), B.Phil., D.Phil.(Oxf.)|
|Calvin Normore; B.A.(McG.), M.A., Ph.D.(Tor.)|
|Alia Al-Saji; M.A.(Louvain), Ph.D.(Emory)|
|R. Philip Buckley; Ph.D.(Louvain)|
|Emily Carson; M.A.(McG.), Ph.D.(Harv.)|
|David Davies; B.A.(Oxf.), M.A.(Manit.), Ph.D.(W. Ont.)|
|Marguerite Deslauriers; B.A.(McG.), M.A., Ph.D.(Tor.)|
|Gaëlle Fiasse; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.(Louvain) (joint appoint. with Faculty of Religious Studies)|
|Carlos Fraenkel; B.A., M.A., Ph.D.(Free Univ., Berlin) (joint appoint. with Jewish Studies)|
|Ian Gold; B.A., M.A.(McG.), Ph.D.(Prin.) (joint appoint. with Psychiatry)|
|Michael Hallett; B.Sc., Ph.D.(Lond.)|
|Alison Laywine; B.A.(Ott.), M.A.(Montr.), Ph.D.(Chic.)|
|Eric Lewis; B.A.(C'nell), Ph.D.(Ill.-Chic.)|
|James McGilvray; B.A.(Carleton College), Ph.D.(Yale)|
|Stephen Menn; M.A., Ph.D.(Chic.), M.A., Ph.D.(Johns H.)|
|Gregory Mikkelson; M.S., Ph.D.(Chic.) (joint appoint. with McGill School of Environment)|
|Natalie Stoljar; B.A, LL.B.(Syd.), Ph.D.(Prin.) (joint appoint. with Social Studies of Medicine)|
|Sarah Stroud; A.B.(Harv.), Ph.D.(Prin.)|
|Michael Blome-Tillmann; B.Phil., D.Phil.(Oxf.)|
|Iwao Hirose; B.A., M.A.(Waseda), Ph.D.(St. And.) (joint appoint. with McGill School of Environment)|
|Andrew Reisner; B.A.(Middlebury), M.A.(Brist.), D.Phil.(Oxf.)|
|Dirk Schlimm; M.Sc.(TU Darmstadt), M.Sc., Ph.D.(Carn. Mell)|
|Hasana Sharp; A.B.(Occidental), M.A.(Binghampton), Ph.D.(Penn.)|
|William Roberts; Ph.D.(Penn. St.) (joint appoint. with Political Science)|
|Steven Davis; (Car.)|
|Susan-Judith Hoffmann; (Dawson)|
|Iain Macdonald; (Montr.)|
|Konstantinos Arvanitakis; B.Sc., M.A., M.D.,C.M.(McG.), D.Psy., C.I.P.C., C.C.M.Q., F.R.C.P., R.S.M.A.(U.K.) (Can. Institute of Psychoanalysis)|
|Arash Abizadeh (Political Science)|
|Brendan Gillon (Linguistics)|
|Lawrence Kaplan (Jewish Studies)|
|Jacob T. Levy (Political Science)|
|Robert Wisnovsky (Islamic Studies)|
For more information, see Minor Concentration Philosophy (18 credits).
For more information, see Major Concentration Philosophy (36 credits).
According to Faculty regulations, Honours students must maintain a minimum CGPA of 3.00 and maintain a minimum program GPA of 3.00. Admission to Honours: Students must attain a 3.00 CGPA and have a 3.00 GPA in Philosophy courses.
For more information, see Honours Philosophy (60 credits).
Students who wish to study at the Honours level in two Arts disciplines may apply to combine Joint Honours program components from two Arts disciplines. For a list of available Joint Honours programs, see "Overview of Programs Offered" and "Joint Honours Programs". Prior to registering for each Joint Honours component, students should consult an adviser in each ...
For more information, see Joint Honours Component Philosophy (36 credits).