Choices in Philosophy 2009-2010 - Introduction

Why do philosophy?

  • Philosophy is fun, and challenging.
  • It helps you reflect on the deeper issues in life.
  • It helps you improve your critical thinking skills.
  • Philosophy provides a solid background for those who intend to go on for further studies in philosophy and many other areas.
  • Studying philosophy is good for your career prospects :
    • You acquire skills valued by most employers, like the ability to analyse and solve problems, to communicate, to organize ideas and issues, to assess pros and cons. These skills are important not just in philosophy but also in the modern job market.
    • Many employers prefer students with broad intellectual experience and skills. This is particularly true of students who study philosophy in combination with other subjects. You can take a social science subject (e.g. politics or psychology) as one of your double majors.
    • The study of philosophy is useful for at least the following careers: business, management, public administration, journalism, law, communication, public relations, teaching and publishing.

Types of courses

Our courses are divided into three levels and four groups. The three levels correspond to the three years of study for an undergraduate degree. But it is open to students outside the Arts Faculty to take, for instance, a first level philosophy course in any year of study (provided that the regulations of their own degree programme permit it). The four groups are rough indications of courses related to each other in subject-matter, though not necessarily in approach. The four general first-level courses correspond to the four groupings of higher-level courses.

Students wishing to take the second/third level courses should normally have taken at least one first-level course, except where otherwise indicated, or with prior approval. Apart from PHIL3810 SENIOR SEMINAR and PHIL3910 SENIOR THESIS, they are all second or third level courses. Some of these courses are also available to students of other faculties as "broadening courses".

Most of these courses consist of 24 teaching hours in one semester.

Of all the second and third level courses listed, twelve to sixteen will normally be given each year. This means that not every course will be available in any two-year period. Therefore, student preferences will play a part in determining which courses are given. Some courses, however, are likely to be given every year (because of our commitments to curricula outside the B.A., and for other reasons), and some we prefer to give at least once every two years to make sure that every student has an opportunity to take them.

Majoring in philosophy

Students who major in philosophy must take at least eight courses in philosophy (i.e. eight second or third level 6 unit courses), and are recommended to take at least one course from each of the following categories:

  • Group I : Knowledge and Reality
  • Group II : Mind and Language
  • Group III : Moral and Political Philosophy
  • Group IV : History of Philosophy

Third year majors are recommended to take the SENIOR SEMINAR (PHIL3810) in their final year, especially if they are considering further study in philosophy, provided that their second year grades reach a good level.

You may also double major, by combining Philosophy equally with any other discipline in the Faculty of Arts or the Faculty of Social Sciences. This is a favoured and good pattern of work.

You may also major in a cross-disciplinary programme in LINGUISTICS AND PHILOSOPHY.

Minoring in philosophy

Students who take a minor in Philosophy must complete 24 credits of second and third-year courses.