Philosophy is the critical study of ideas, experiences, and institutions. Whether your inclinations are those of the mathematician, the poet, the scholar, or the activist, there is certain to be an area of Philosophy that will pique your interest. Unlike many other fields, in which the memorization of facts or the inculcation of received theories figures prominently, Philosophy is devoted to free inquiry, and originality and creativity as well as the ability to express oneself clearly and to argue convincingly are valued. For this reason, the Philosophy major, and the study of Philosophy generally, offer preparation for a variety of careers. In any occupation in which it is important to speak and write effectively, to analyze projects and proposals, to engage in moral reflection and deliberation, to understand the underlying principles at stake behind issues, and to solve problems in a reasoned manner, a Philosophy background may prove invaluable.
Introductory courses in Philosophy address themselves to some fundamental questions: Is there such a thing as truth? Does the concept of survival after death make sense? Did time have a beginning? Are ethical dilemmas decidable? What kind of political system best embodies principles of justice and fairness? These questions and a host of others are discussed in introductory courses in Philosophy including Introduction to Philosophy 101 and 102.
Students who enjoy formal and symbolic reasoning and thinking about abstract structures might enjoy some of the following courses: Practical Logic, Symbolic Logic I, Symbolic Logic II, and Metalogic. Risk, Choice and Rationality has broad applications to the sciences and social sciences as well as in practical decision-making.
Students whose curiosity is piqued by questions about the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge and about the ultimate nature and structure of reality should consider Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind, and Philosophy of Religion. Philosophy of Computing explores aspects of human-computer interactions.
Students who are interested in ethical and social problems may consider taking such courses as: Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Humans and Animals, Equality and Social Justice, Feminist Philosophy, Political Philosophy, Science and Society, and Philosophy of Social Science. We also teach Professional Ethics, Philosophy and Health Care, and Cyberethics.
For those who are interested in the important ideas which have shaped our culture and their origins, the History of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Philosophy are recommended, along with Existentialism, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of History, and Continental Philosophy. On the other hand, for those who are interested in some of the key ideas that have shaped non-Western cultures, we recommend our new course World Philosophies.
And finally, we offer courses in Philosophy of Art and Philosophy of Literature which explore ways of experiencing art and literature and discuss the problems of interpretation and evaluation.
Honors Students take part in small seminars in their 3rd and 4th years and write a supervised Honors Essay in their last term on a topic of their own choice.
We hope you will take up some of the opportunities offered to you by the University of Alberta's Philosophy Department. For further information, and information concerning the Honors Program, contact Alexander Rueger at 492-3307.
Further information about the Department of Philosophy may be found on
the Department's website:
Further information about courses and registration may be found on the
University of Alberta's Bear Tracks website: