Department of Philosophy


The Department of Philosophy at Memorial University is a small but vibrant community of scholars actively researching and teaching 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 with us and explore the nature and problems of existence, being and thought.

Coming Up Soon in Philosophy:

  • The Winter Colloquium Series Begins:

Dr. Walter Okshevsky(Education and Philosophy)

Discourse, justification and education: Jurgen Habermas on moral epistemology and dialogical conditions of moral justification and rightness

Tuesday, Feb. 12th 2019, 3:30-4:45pm

SN 2105

Abstract. In this paper Walter Okshevsky addresses the question of whether a certain form of dialogically derived agreement can function as an epistemic (universal and necessary) criterion of moral judgement and ground of moral authority. Okshevsky examines arguments for and against in the literature of educational philosophy and develops Jurgen Habermas’s affirmative answer as presented in his Discourse Theory of Morality. Habermas’s position is articulated as a moral epistemology (“strong dialogicality”) and is developed through his critique of the “monologism” of certain aspects of Kant’s moral theory. Okshevsky concludes with a consideration of some educational implications of Habermas’s position.

All are welcome!

  • The Philosophy Public Lecture Series Begins Again, Tuesday, February 5, 2019, 8pm at the Ship Pub: 
Speaker: Dr. Andrew Loman (Department of English)

"Lower Broadway: Fall, 1843" A reading by Dr. Andrew Loman.

Winter Semester 2019:
  • 2 Visiting Speakers
  • 3 Public Lectures
  • Department Colloquia
  • The Jockey Club
  • Two conferences (in May)
  • Grad School Applications coming up soon in the new year
  • The Department of Philosophy at Memorial University in St. John's, Newfoundland is accepting applications for its graduate programs. The deadline for application is February 1, 2019 for a September, 2019 start.

    In addition to its undergraduate programs, the Department of Philosophy offers a 1-year M.A in Philosophy (course work and thesis) and a Ph.D. in Philosophy.

    The 1-Year M.A. in Philosophy:

    One full year of funding (three semesters)
    Teaching / Research Assistantships available for further funding and experience
    Two semesters of coursework
    The thesis is written over the third (summer) semester
    Solid track-record of placement in Ph.D. programs

    The Ph.D Program:

    Four years of funding at approximately $20,000 per year
    Teaching / Research Assistantships available for further funding and experience
    One year of course work
    Other requirements include the comprehensive examinations, dissertation proposal, second language requirement, and the dissertation
    Opportunity to teach in our undergraduate programs
  • All Graduate Programs include:
    • Professional Development and Research Seminar for Graduate Students
    • A focus on graduate writing
    • Funding for conferences available
    • Biennial Graduate Conference organized by our graduate students
    • Eight full-time faculty members who cover a wide area of expertise
    • Excellent library resources
    • An active and growing graduate student community
    • An active and lively extended philosophical community engaged in weekly discussion groups, colloquia, visiting speaker series, mixers and social events, and more
  • To apply, follow the instructions at

For particular inquires, contact the Philosophy Department Graduate Officer, Dr. Seamus O'Neill, at

FALL SEMESTER 2018: Higlights from an active semester

  • The Dean's List Reception, Fall 2018 Thursday, Oct. 25th: Many philosophy students, under our auspices or under their other majors, were honoured for being on the Dean's list. On the list for Philosophy:

    Bethany Autumn. Lesley Burgess (book prize), Benjamin French, Spencer Hayden, Ethan Lewis (Dean's Award). Congratulations to everyone! And special congratulations to Lesley for receiving the book prize  and Ethan for receiving the Dean's Award for Academic Excellence.

  • Philosophy Meet and Greet (with pizza!) Tuesday October 30, 2018, in the Kiefte Room, AA 3068.

The Philosophy Public Lecture Series Continues: Tuesday, November 20, 2018, 8pm at the Peter Easton Pub:
Dr. Brad Levett, Classics, Memorial
"In Defence of Sophistry"

Abstract: While in recent generations there has been considerable rehabilitation of the Sophists, those itinerant teachers of Classical Greece associated with relativism, social constructionism and rhetoric, "Sophist", "Sophism" and "Sophistry" today remain bywords for a negative view of an intellectual who employs falsehood and deception to obtain personal benefit, a view that derives in good part from the works of Plato. While this talk will touch upon recent reinterpretations of the Sophists both as a positive historical force and as legitimate philosophical thinkers, it will focus on the question of how the image of the Sophist as the malformed, evil twin of philosophy is a necessary construction designed to protect certain fundamental characteristics of Plato's philosophy, and perhaps of all philosophy more generally

The Philosophy Public Lecture Series Begins: October 23, 2018

Dr. Peter Trnka, Philosophy, Memorial

"For Those Who Seek Joy Over Pleasure: A Philosophical Inquiry"

The Bradley Lecture, 2018 

Professor Brad Inwood, Department of Classics and Department of Philosophym, Yale University

  • Recent Colloquia

  • Final event of the fall semester: The Philosophy Graduate Seminar Conference, 2018

    A conference showcasing the ongoing research of the incoming class of M.A. and Ph.D. students in the Department of Philosophy, focusing on a broad range of philosophical authors and including topics such as:

  • Technology
  • Language and Networks
  • Phenomenology
  • Philosophy of Nature
  • Community and Political Philosophy
  • Freedom, Determinism, and Autonomy

click for conference schedule


Department of Philosophy

230 Elizabeth Ave, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1B 3X9

Postal Address: P.O. Box 4200, St. John's, NL, CANADA, A1C 5S7

Tel: (709) 864-8000