What is philosophy?
Philosophy is the systematic attempt to understand and clarify ultimate questions about knowledge, values and reality. It emphasizes clarity, analysis, and logical reasoning. Studying philosophy provides an excellent training for all kinds of careers where good thinking skills are essential. The department offers a diverse range of courses in Chinese and comparative philosophy, philosophy of mind and language, ethics and politics, and other areas of philosophy including the history of European philosophy. Our students come from all the different faculties. Students can choose to major or minor in philosophy, or take just one or a few philosophy courses to try out.
If you want to learn more about philosophy, here are some useful readings:
- “The purpose of philosophy”, an essay written by Isaiah Berlin.
- The Problems of Philosophy, a book written by Bertrand Russell.
- Philosophy: A brief guide for undergraduates. Produced by the American Philosophical Association.
What can I do with a philosophy degree?
- The short answer is that you can do anything! The most valuable skills you learn in philosophy are thinking skills like critical thinking and logical analysis. These skills do not go out of fashion and are crucial to all kinds of career.
- It is also very useful to concentrate on philosophy in conjunction with a different subject. A training in philosophy can give you a deeper understanding of other subjects. You will encounter new perspectives and enhance your creativity. Many social sciences and science students have found it really useful and fun to study some philosophy.
- HKU Students who studied philosophy have gone on to the public and private sector, including for example IT, education, business and management. Many continued with philosophy and academic research. Some have also pursued professional degrees in law.
- Hong Kong Legislator Margaret Ng, did a BA and MPhil in Philosophy at HKU.
- Former Hong Kong Legislator Martin Lee studied English and Philosophy at HKU.
- Professor Kwong-loi Shun is a professor at Berkeley, was formerly a Chair Professor of Philosophy at Chinese University of Hong Kong. and former Vice-President and Principal of the University of Toronto at Scarborough.
- Terence Chang, former Headmaster of Diocesan Boys’ School, studied Philosophy and Comparative Literature at HKU.
- Charles Chau, Former executive vice president of strategy and research as well as managing director for North Asia, MTV Networks.
- Many of our students have gone on for postgraduate studies overseas, e.g. Oxford, Berkeley, Brown, St. Andrews.
What about further studies in philosophy?
- Many students do continue with further studies in philosophy. You will find HKU philosophy graduates teaching and doing research in many places including Hong Kong, China, and the United States.