Welcome to the Department of Philosophy!

We offer a variety of programs and courses that will help build your skillset, whether you want a career in the medical field, are thinking of going to law school, or want to become an engineer, computer scientist, writer or artist. We also offer exciting undergraduate and graduate programs, including a BA Honors program, a new Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics and a new course-based MA program. If you are new to Philosophy and are wondering what philosophers study and what you can do with a Philosophy degree, take a look at this brief guide to the field of philosophy and its uses.


Undergraduate Degree Program

Over the course of our four-year program, you will learn how to interpret philosophical arguments, engage in philosophical discussions, pursue original avenues of research and acquire reasoning and argumentative skills unmatched by any other discipline.

Honors Degree Program

If you would like to take your understanding of Philosophy a step further and pursue your interests in a more focused way, consider enrolling in our Honors program. You will acquire a broad knowledge of philosophy, hone your independent research skills, delve deep into a topic of interest, learn how to write a longer research essay and work closely with a faculty member who will supervise your Honors Thesis.

Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics

The Undergraduate Certificate in Ethics in the Faculty of Arts positions students to become ethical leaders in the humanities, business, civil service, law, healthcare, science and other professions. The curriculum provides a broad understanding of central ethical theories together with core competencies in their application to emerging ethical issues in individual and social life. The Certificate in Ethics is a valuable credential for new professionals, public and private sector employees, and those planning to pursue graduate degrees.

Graduate Programs - MA + PhD

We offer well-rounded MA and PhD programs that cover the study of traditional areas of philosophy including metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, logic and the history of philosophy, especially ancient, medieval and early modern. We are also proud to offer teachings in the philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, aesthetics, political philosophy, environmental ethics, Indian philosophy and certain areas of continental philosophy.

winter Term
tr 9:30-10:50 A.M.

PHIL 2o2 - Indian Philosophy

An introduction to Indian philosophy, focusing on the ancient and classical periods. We will start with a history and overview of the nature of philosophy and religion in Indian thought and then explore some of the most influential Indian philosophies—beginning with Yoga and Advaita Vedānta (falling within the umbrella of Hindu philosophy) and continuing with Buddhist philosophy. We will also briefly engage the traditions of Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, and Jainism. We will meet with a range of major metaphysical and ethical concepts, such as Indian theories of human consciousness, the nature of self-identity, ultimate being, appearance and reality, virtue, meditation, well-being, and freedom from suffering. We will critically assess these and also the philosophical debates between these traditions.

No prerequisites.

Dr. Neil Dalal

winter Term
TR 2–3:20 p.M. 

PHIL 305 lec b1 - topics in philosophy and psychology

How similar are the minds of various nonhuman animals in terms of their capacities for joy and suffering, experiencing emotions, learning, remembering, representing, and navigating their worlds? Are the minds of typical human adults as different from those of nonhuman animals as we often assume? Do all vertebrates, from mammals and birds to amphibians and fishes, and perhaps cephalopod molluscs like octopi and squid, have the same basic capacities to experience joy and suffering? How confident can we be about whether other invertebrates, from spiders, bees, and lobsters to crickets, fruit flies and worms, have subjective experiences, and how should we act given our uncertainties about this? In this class we will examine these questions in light of philosophical issues about the nature of mental states and how we can know about the minds of others (be they human or nonhuman) that are central to understanding animal minds.

No prerequisites

Dr. Howard Nye

  • Beyond Philosophy

    The Philosophy Department was the original home for Education, Psychology and Sociology. Your philosophy education isn't limited to one discipline.

  • Historic Roots

    Anthony Mardiros, an Australian who chaired the Department in the 1960s, studied with prominent philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge during the Second World War.

  • Royal Society of Canada

    The Department is home to two members of the Royal Society of Canada: Jeffry Pelletier and Bernard Linsky (both Professors Emeritus).

Featured Philosopher  

Professor Howard Nye works primarily in the areas of practical ethics, normative ethics, and metaethics, and has related interests in political philosophy, the philosophy of mind, and decision theory. His recent research concerns the ethics of collective action. A current project is investigating a just transition to a predominantly plant-based food system in Canada. Another interest is in understanding 'sentience;' what must an entity be like to count as sentient, which entities are sentient, and the role of sentience in a being's welfare.


News + Events


2024 Killam Memorial Postdoctoral Fellowship application now open

Deadline to submit application is December 10, 2023.

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