Undergraduate Program

Why Take Philosophy?

Philosophy provides an essential component in any sound general education--that form of education designed, not to prepare one for a specific career, but to give one a broad and general understanding of the world, our place in the world, and our values, as general intellectual skills that
can be brought to bear on diverse subject matters.

Philosophy provides an essential component in any sound general education in two ways--by means of the understanding it provides of various philosophical matters and by means of the general intellectual skills in logic, the use of language, and the assessment of evidence it inculcates.

Not only does philosophy provide an understanding of a wide range of matters but the matters dealt with are important and exciting. Consider: Is human reason fallible? Does morality rest on arbitrary foundations? Is there such a being as God?

Many subject areas besides philosophy inculcate various general intellectual skills. But philosophy, unlike most such areas, deals professionally with logic, the use of language, and the assessment of evidence. As a result, philosophy is an especially valuable training ground for the intellect. Such training is provided in almost all courses in philosophy, but especially in courses in logic or critical thinking, the philosophy of language, and epistemology (or the theory of knowledge). Such courses are invaluable to the person who must live by thinking--the scientist or scholar, the lawyer, the journalist, the business manger, etc.

Philosophy is also a valuable background for many other disciplines. Courses in logic, language, and epistemology have a universal relevance. So do courses in moral philosophy. Courses in moral and social philosophy are of special relevance to those going on in, e.g., the health sciences area, the law, the civil service, engineering and business. Courses in the history of philosophy are of special relevance to those doing work in literature, history, religion or education. And then there are philosophy courses especially designed to deal with philosophical matters as they affect other areas, e.g., the philosophy of law, of science, or religion, of history, of education, and of the fine arts, etc.

Undergraduate Philosophy courses are listed in the University General Calendar by groups as follows:

Group 1: 1000 level courses (introductory courses)
Group 2: Courses in the History of Philosophy
Group 3: Systematic Courses in the B.A. General Programme at the 2000 or 3000 level
Group 4: Honours courses

The Arts Timetable specifies which of these courses are offered in a given academic year, in which terms the half courses are offered, when and where the courses are offered, and who is teaching them. (The Arts Timetable lists all courses in philosophy by number in sequence, not by Groups.)

If the Arts Timetable specified the time when a philosophy course is to meet as 'TBA', look for a notice of an organizational meeting on the Department of Philosophy Bulletin Board, opposite room 453 University College, during the first week of classes of the term in which the course begins. The students and instructor will then arrange a mutually agreeable class time.

2013-2014 Calendar and Registration Guide