Why Philosophy?


What is philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems concerning matters such as existence, knowledge, truth, beauty, law, justice, validity, mind and language. Philosophers aim to understand reality, clarify the nature of interactions between individuals and society, and to come to terms with problems of existence and ultimate value. This is done through the examining age-old questions such as: why are we here, how ought we to live, what is knowledge, what are the principles of reason, and what is the essential nature of being human; whose answers are often taken for granted. Philosophy at Memorial aims to develop students’ intellectual abilities through examining different answers that philosophers have given to fundamental questions in order to develop a critical and systematic approach toward investigating reality and experience that relies on reasoned arguments.

What do philosophers do?

What sort of things do philosophy students study?

Sample courses:

  • PHIL 2000 Introduction to Metaphysics; is an introduction to the systematic inquiry into the nature of reality. Topic may include the nature of being, time, the question of God, appearance and reality, the one and the many, mind and matter, essence and existence.
  • PHIL 2581 Philosophy of Film; introduces some of the central philosophers, topics and themes in the philosophy of film. Topics and themes include: the nature of film image, the relationship between film and “reality”, the social/ political role and function of film and the nature and value of the documentary. The course will also consider the representation of broader philosophical ideas in film. A film or films will accompany each section.
  • PHIL 2552 Mental Health Ethics; examines concepts of mental health and illness and their ethical implications.

What do people with philosophy degrees do?

Niall O’Dea holds two BAs from Memorial in both philosophy and biology. Currently he is director general of electricity resources at Natural Resources Canada. Niall has been working within the Government of Canada since 2006, and working within Environment Canada and Natural Resources Canada as well as working on policy under the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister of the Environment. More about Niall.