"Philosophy has taught me to rely on my own convictions rather than on the judgment of others and to concern myself less with whether I am well thought of than whether what I do or say is evil."

-Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man

The Department of Philosophy at Memorial University is a small but vibrant community of scholars actively researching in a variety of areas of philosophy in the heritage city of St. John’s, Newfoundland. 

The Department offers a variety of undergraduate programs, and directs graduate research in the history of philosophy, continental philosophy, and political philosophy, as well as other areas. Students of all levels are invited to come and explore the nature and problems of existence, being and thought.


For an overview of what's been happening in our department over the past few months, please click here. 

The Department of Philosophy will be hosting a graduate conference in March 2018. Click here for the call for papers! 


Upcoming Conferences in MUN Philosophy

The Department of Philosophy will be hosting a philosophy graduate conference entitled Politics, Bodies, and the Earth from March 8th to 10th , 2018. Abstracts are due January 7th, 2018. To see the Call for Papers, please click here

Additionally, Memorial Unviersity, in collaboration with Dominican University College, is sponsering an upcoming conference Idealist Philosophies of History in Ottawa on April 19-20, 2018. The Call for Papers for this conference can be viewed here

The department additionally thanks all who participated in and attended the conference on "Ethics for the 21st Century: Body, Mind and Spirit" which took place at the end of November. This interdisciplinary event was very stimulating and enjoyed by all.

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Ethics in the 21st Century: Body, Mind, Spirit

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (Philosophy Department), Queen’s College (Faculty of Theology), the Faculty of Medicine (Community Health and Humanities) as well as Eastern Health and the Provincial Health Ethics Network are collaborating to organize a conference on Ethics for the 21st Century: Body, Mind and Spirit. All are invited.


WEDNESDAY 29 NOVEMBER Queen’s College, Great Hall


4:00-5:30 pm Queen’s College, Great Hall Keynote Address: The Ethics of Human Gene Editing Dr. Francoise Baylis, Canada Research Chair in Bioethics and Professor of Philosophy Dalhousie University

5:30-6:45 pm Reception


THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER Queen’s College, 3005 Human Issues in Ethics (Moderator: Dr. Rick Singleton, Provost, Faculty of Theology)


9:30-10:45 am Keynote address: Churchgoing and Christian Ethics Dr. Leslie Francis, Professor of Religions and Education University of Warwick 10:45 am Coffee Break

11:00-11:30 am What Contemporary Models of Disability Miss: The Case for a Phenomenological Hermeneutic Analysis Chandra Kavanagh, PhD Candidate, Philosophy McMaster University

11:30 am-12:00 pm The Human Being in Contemporary Bioethics Dr. Jennifer Flynn, Assistant Professor, Bioethics, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University

12:00-12:30 The Human Difference Dr. Sean J. McGrath, Professor, Philosophy Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Memorial University

12:30-2:00 pm Lunch (tables reserved at Bitters

Enviornmental Issues in Ethics (Moderator: Dr. Sean McGrath, Philosophy, MUN)

2:00-2:30 pm Making Pacts with Ghosts: Negotiating Ethics in the 21st Century Dr. Peter Trnka, Associate Professor, Philosophy Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Memorial University

2:30-3:00 pm The Descent of Man: Toward an Anthropology of Human Failings Dr. Reade Davis, Associate Professor, Anthropology Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Memorial University

3:00-3:30 pm Humans, Earth, and the Future: Can Only a God Save Us Now? Dr. Michelle Rebidoux, Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Theology, Memorial Univesity 

3:30-4:00 pm Brain Health and Our Contaminated Planet: The Case for Environmental Neuroethics Dr. Judy Illes, Canada Research Chair, Neuroethics University of British Columbia

4:00-4:15 pm Coffee Break

4:15-5:30 pm Keynote address: Ethical Orientation in a Democratic State: Jürgen Habermas on Reason and Religion Dr. Michael Schulz, Professor in Philosophy and Theory of Religion University of Bonn

5:30-6:30 pm Cash bar at Bitters (tables reserved)


FRIDAY 1 DECEMBER Health Sciences Centre Medical School Auditorium


9:00-9:50am: Keynote address: Do Doctors Believe in Autonomy Dr. Andrew Latus, MD Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University

10:00-11:30 am Panel Contemporary Challenges in Health Care Ethics Moderator: Dr. Jacintha Penney, PsyD, Eastern Health Dr. Daryl Pullman, Faculty of Medicine Dr. Chris Kaposy, Faculty of Medicine Dr. Kathleen Hodgkinson, Faculty of Medicine Dr. Susan Cummings, Eastern Health

12:00-1:00 p.m. Keynote address: Spirit of Minding the Brain and Mental Health Dr. Judy Illes Professor of Neurology and Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics, UBC

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In the Agora

MUN Philosophy, For a New Earth and Prof. Sean McGrath featured in the Independent



On February 17, 2016, The Independent newspaper published an article on the recent ecological initiatives and analyses of Prof. Sean McGrath and his team. After an interview with Prof. McGrath, and following up on statments from his op-ed for MUN newspaper The Gazette, writer Justin Break presented some of Prof. McGrath's theses regarding "the challenges of consumer capitalism for its role in the ecological and climate crises," the significance of Pope Francis in this discussion, and how to start "'a new conversation' about ecology and sustainability".

To read the article, please click here. 

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