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

As the semester starts to wind down.....

We had an active semester in Philosophy, with colloquium talks, a public lecture, visiting speakers, the annual Bradley Lecture, and our regular Jockey Club discussions. and the annual Bradley Lecture. As the term winds down and everyone is busy with exams and papers, keep in mind various ongoing and upcoming academic events and deadlines, including: registration,M.A. SSHRC application deadlines, the TrudeauDoctoralFellowship deadline,  and the start of grad schoolapplication activities. See below for more information. And, stay tuned for our concluding colloquium of the fall term on Tuesday, November 26th (details below) & our grad seminar conference on Thursday, December 5th (more info coming soon)

Next in Philosophy:

Dr. Shannon Hoff (Philosophy, Memorial)

“Between Weltanschauung and Weltwissenschaft:

A Phenomenological Consideration of the Intersectional Critique of Feminism”

The “intersectionality” critique of feminism circulates around two issues: the demand that we be alive to how different forms of oppression intersect with one another, and the critique that our situations produce a partiality in us that impedes our capacity to do justice to this demand. My goal is to illuminate phenomenologically the underpinnings of the this critique, defending the legitimacy of the hope implicit in the first claim—that we can be alive to different forms of oppression and their intersections—by exploring the elements at work in the second: that our perception is shaped in specific contexts and thus operates in a one-sided way. That is, I argue that specificity, while it may impede our capacity to do justice to the demand intersectionality makes on our perception, brings with it the possibility of perception beyond the one-sided terms by which we are inducted into being human. The ultimate commitment of the paper is captured by Merleau-Ponty’s claim in “The Philosopher and Sociology” that, “superficially considered, our inherence destroys all truth; considered radically, it founds a new idea of truth” (109). (Those who discussed this essay at Jockey a couple of months ago are especially warmly invited!)Tuesday, November 26th, 3:30-4:45pm, SN 2105


  • Visiting Speaker in the Fall Colloquium Series:

    Dr. Uwe Voigt, the Chair in Analytical Philosophy and the Philosophy of Science at the University of Germany, speaking on:
    "The Anthropocene as an Environ-Mental Crisis"

    Note: the time/date  are different from our usual Colloquium time/date.

    Wednesday, Nov. 6th, 2019, *5-6:15pm* SN 2105 (our usual room this semester).  

    Dr. Voigt was also involved in a number of other activities, including a workshop on pan-psychism organized by grad students in the M.Phil. in Humanities.

  • Our first public lecture of the season! Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 8:30pm at the Ship Pub, organizer, Riley Pike:
Dr. Michael Kirkpatrick of the History Department at Memorial spoke on: 
"Modernity Interrupted: Motion and Stasis During the Guatemalan Fin-de-Siècle"

Abstract: For liberal-minded Guatemalan elites, the technological, economic, and cultural developments of late nineteenth-century “progress” were invariably described in the language of movement and dynamism: electric currents, market flows, and commodity circulation. They argued that in opposition to the motion and vitality of the modern world stood the obstinacy of indigenous Maya communities who refused to exchange their labour for wages, in addition to conservative institutions like the Catholic Church which opposed the liberal order. This talk seeks to understand the implications of these liberal ideas of motion and stasis in the context of economic crisis during the fin-de-siècle by examining the decades-long construction of Guatemala’s Northern Railway to the Atlantic.

  • The Fall Colloquia continued, Tuesday Oct. 22nd with:

Kyla Bruff (Philosophy, Memorial)
"The Outside of Politics: Could Adorno and Schelling Help Us to Better Understand Populism?"

Abstract: Much of the literature on 21st century populism thematizes ‘outside’ of the political, labeling populists as 'anti-establishment outsiders' who are critical of the status quo. In this presentation, I use Schelling and Adorno to critically examine this outside of state politics to which populist politicians appeal. Although I uncover a critical moment in populism that cannot be simply dismissed, I also use Schelling and Adorno to show that populist politicians do not have the last word on the outside of politics. Schelling and Adorno, I argue, can help us to identify elements of this outside—such as pluralism and the forces of identity formation—which transcend the split between left- and right-wing politics. They can thereby positively contribute to a better understanding of the rise of the rise of populism in our time. Tuesday, October 22nd, 3:30-4:45pm, SN 2105

“Know Thyself: Ancient and Modern Responses to the Delphic Dictum”

Tuesday, October 8th, 3:30-4:45pm, SN 2105

  • This fall the Philosophy Department welcomed Professor Danielle A. Layne, Department of Philosophy, Gonzaga University as The James Bradley Lecturer for 2019. Dr. Layne is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Gonzaga University, Spokane WA. She is the author of numerous articles on Plato and Neoplatonism and was the co-editor of The Brill Companion to the Reception of Plato in Antiquity (Brill), Proclus and his Legacy (De Gruyter) and The Neoplatonic Socrates (Penn Press). Dr. Layne gave two presentations at Memorial:

Monday, Sept. 30th, 5-6:45pm,  SN 4087 (the Sally Davis seminar room):Workshop on "Erotic Feminism: Plato and the Platonic Tradition on Resistance, Struggle and Becoming Otherwise" click for description 

Tuesday, Oct. 1st, 3:30-4:45pm, Junior Common Room, Gushue Hall, The James Bradley Annual Lecture in Speculative Philosophy:

"Plato and Divination: Why Reason without the Divine is not Philosophy"

  • First Fall Philosophy Colloquium:
Dr. Sean Fleming (Cambridge University)
“Rivers are People Too?: On Legal Personhood for Nature”

Tuesday, Sept. 17, 3:30-4:45pm, SN 2105

  • Philosophy Courses, Fall 2019, updated:

Please click here for our updated Philosophy Fall  Schedule 2019, including undergraduate and graduate courses and seminar descriptions (updated August 16)

Spring 2019

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."

Winter/Spring 2019: Click to see highlights from an active winter and spring
FALL SEMESTER 2018: Click to see the higlights from an active semester

And stay tuned for our latest newsletter, coming soon!


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