Program Overview:

About Philosophy

What is the purpose of our existence? How do we discover the principles which guide, or which ought to guide, our actions? Can we prove whether there is a God? Philosophy is the reasoned study of questions like these— fundamental, important questions. The study of philosophy introduces students to the main currents of intellectual history and provides a basis for a critical understanding of their own ideas. Philosophy is central to a sound liberal arts education. 

StFX offers both advanced major and honours programs for those who wish to study philosophy in depth, and major and honours students aspiring to further study have been accepted at some of the best postgraduate institutions in the world. At the same time, students are encouraged to take one or more courses in philosophy to complement their concentrations in other disciplines. Systematic courses are offered in all the main areas of the discipline and the history of philosophy is studied intensively. 

Why Study Philosophy at StFX?

In a recent external review of the teaching and research in Philosophy at StFX, the reviewers stated that:

"The [StFX] Philosophy Department is almost certainly the best small department in the country." 

Professors in this department view teaching and research as their primary academic mission. The department has special strengths in the history of philosophy, especially ancient and mediaeval philosophy. As well, the department has strong offerings in ethics, theory of rights, and political philosophy; it offers advanced instruction in areas such as biomedical ethics. 

The Department of Philosophy maintains close contact with its students and the University's Philosophy Club is very active. Organized and run by students, its objectives are to foster an interest in philosophy as a way of life, following Socrates' admonition that "the unexamined life is not worth living"; to provide tutoring to anyone enrolled in philosophy courses who desires it; and to provide a nurturing atmosphere for discussion. Numerous informal gatherings also enable students to meet and talk with guest lecturers and department staff. 

First Year at a Glance

In your first year, you will take Philosophy 100, which presents a history of Philosophy from the ancient Greeks to contemporary thought, and includes an introduction to logic. The study of Philosophy is conceptually challenging, but it helps you engage in independent thought. 

Future Opportunities

Graduates in Philosophy have been very successful in law, journalism, medicine, theology, business and government. In fact, Philosophy remains the very best training for law school among all undergraduate majors. Honours students tend to get hooked, and often go on to graduate programs in Philosophy. 

  • Biomedical Ethics
  • Education / Teacher
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Politics

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