What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the critical study of ideas, experiences, and meaning. Philosophy is devoted to rational inquiry itself, rather than memorizing facts and received theories. Whether your inclinations are those of a mathematician, poet, scholar, or an activist, there is certain to be an area of philosophy that will grab your interest.

Why Study Philosophy at UAlberta?

Philosophy is for people who like to ask and think about the 'big' questions: What is truth? Are human beings free? What does it mean to be human? How should we treat others? What does a just society look like? Can computers think? Along the way, philosophy majors acquire a unique skill set and are exposed to national and international conferences that are hosted at the University of Alberta.

Experience Beyond the Classroom

Students can engage in Community Service-Learning and international experiences. We are partners with the Beijing Normal University Summer School.

  • Sub-disciplines within Philosophy

    Students who are interested in ethical and social problems may consider taking such courses as: Contemporary Ethical Issues, Environmental Ethics, Healthcare Ethics, Humans and Animals, Topics in Social Justice, Philosophy of Sexuality, Feminist Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Computers and Culture as well as Biology, Society, and Values.

    For those who are interested in understanding the origin and development of central ideas that have shaped our culture, we recommend courses in the history of philosophy: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Aristotle, Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy, Descartes to Hume, Kant to Nietzsche, along with Existentialism, Indian Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Art, and our special course on the Trial and Execution of Socrates.

    Students who enjoy formal and symbolic reasoning and thinking about abstract concepts should consider the following courses: Practical Logic, Symbolic Logic (I and II), Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Epistemology, Philosophy of Computing, Philosophy of Mathematics, Philosophy of Mind, and Metaphysics. Risk, Choice and Rationality has broad applications to the sciences and social sciences as well as in practical decision-making.

  • What can I do with a Philosophy degree?
    Philosophy offers excellent preparation for a wide range of careers. Philosophers value originality and creativity and are widely known for their ability to express themselves clearly and argue convincingly. Employers prize philosophy majors for their analytical thinking, clear writing, and persuasive powers.

    Philosophical experience will give you a distinct advantage in any profession that demands effective speaking and writing skills, incisive analysis of ideas and project proposals, and complex problem solving. But most importantly, philosophy will equip you to contribute meaningfully to the good of others through moral reflection and deliberation.

    Graduates have gone on to become journalists, writers, editors, filmmakers, politicians, and activists. They work in business, human resources, the publishing industry, the government and NGOs. Many continue their study in Business, Law School or Medicine.

If you're interested in Philosophy, you might also be interested in...

History and Classics Mathematics and Statistical Sciences

Humanities Computing Sociology

Criminology Psychology

Linguistics Religious Studies

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