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.

New in Philosophy

Upcoming Philosophy Courses, Fall 2019:

Please click here for our new Philosophy Fall Schedule, including undergraduate and graduate courses and seminar descriptions (updated June 29)

Recent Events

Congratulations, graduates!

  • Congratulations to our undergraduate philosophy students who convocated recently (May 28th)! We are so proud of each and every one of you and wish you every success after your degree, whether in grad school, jobs, or other exciting adventures. Two successes among others: Alex Morgan graduated with the University Medal of Excellence in Philosophy  and the Whiteley English Prize(having won the Good Fellowship in Philosophy previously as well). And Kristen Lewis graduated with the University Medal of Excellence in Religious Studies (part of her Joint Honours with Philosophy for which she was awarded the Good Fellowship earlier this year) as well as the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences George Storey Medal. Congratulations Kristen and Alex! And to our other outstanding undergrads, honours, majors, minors, including many award/medal winners, whether majors, honours, minors:  Congratulations to Callum, Clay, Emily, Grant, Lesley, Patrick, Spencer, Sarah, William, and many others! You made our Department a great place in which to do philosophy, and we will miss you. (the Kiefte Room will miss you)

  • And to our  graduate students who received their M.A.s in Philosophy at this spring convocation: Benni, Chris, Phoebe, Sarah, Stefan, Thomas, congratulations! We are so proud of you and all you have accomplished: You wrote excellent theses, you presented papers and published articles, you argued philosophically in the classroom and outside, all while being research and teaching assistants, holding down other jobs, and mentoring younger students and each other. Some of you are going on to your doctorates, some of you are starting other exciting activities or jobs, all of you made philosophy in this Department a lively and welcoming "commons of the mind."

Philosophy in the Spring: Our second  big May event:

WINTER SEMESTER 2019: Highlights of a busy and exciting term!

  • The Philosophy Public Lecture Series Concluded for the term: Speaker: Dr. Jennifer Selby (Department of Religious Studies)

“Sexular Sensibilities”: How Fears of Religious Traditionalism Index Narrow Possibilities of Sexuality in Contemporary Secular France.Tuesday, April 9, 2019, 8pm at the Ship Pub.

  • The Philosophy Winter Colloquium Series concluded on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 after a full year of stimulating talks--thanks to the presenters for great papers! and, of course, thanks to an engaged and appreciative audience for their presence, their attentiveness, and their thoughtful questions and comments.
  • Jockey Club, our weekly discussion group including faculty, students, and friends of philosophy, concluded for the term with the usual exciting discussion; please contact the Department if you want to be added to the Jockey list and stay tuned for summer plans
  • Philosophy Department Mixer, organized by the Undergraduate Philosophy Society
  • The Philosophy Public Lecture Series Continued, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, 8pm at the Ship Pub:

Speaker: Dr. Luke Roman (Department of Classics)

"Greco-Roman Voyages: The Modernity of the Classics" Prefaced by some Painfully Personal Autobiographical Personal Reflections

The Classics are OLD. Or are they??? Prepare yourself for some reality-rearranging thoughts from Luke Roman, who is right now adding the penultimate punctuation marks to a highly polished public lecture that will be fully completed by March 5. It will include brief (but significant) mention of Jane Austen, the island of Sicily, and the experience of childhood in the 70’s.

  • 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.

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