The Department of Philosophy at Carleton offers an Honours B.A., an Honours B.A. with a Concentration in Philosophy, Ethics, and Public Affairs, a General B.A., a Combined Honours, a Minor in Philosophy, and a Master’s in Philosophy.

The wide variety of exciting undergraduate courses offered by the department include first-year courses on contemporary social and religious issues, the history of philosophy, value theory, and the relationship between mind, world, and knowledge; second-year courses on logic and critical thinking, ancient philosophy, Asian philosophy, bioethics, feminist theory, the philosophy of human rights, the philosophy of religion, and moral psychology; and third-year courses in the history of modern philosophy, metaphysics, the philosophy of mind and language, epistemology, and contemporary ethical theory.

Honours students have the opportunity to take fourth-year seminars in our award-winning faculty members’ current areas of research, such as justice and exploitation in the marketplace, skilled action, the architecture of the mind, development ethics, causation and freedom in early modern philosophy, Aristotle and the philosophical roots of ableism, science and values in a democratic society, and contemporary theories of meaning in life.

Some students go on to advanced academic study at Carleton (e.g. in the department’s M.A. program, in the Cognitive Science Ph.D. program, or in the Ethics and Public Affairs Ph.D. program) or at such prestigious institutions as the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, McGill University, the University of Oxford, Brown University, the University of Edinburgh, and Rutgers University.

Other students go on to rewarding careers outside of the academy, including ones in law and government, policy analysis, ethics in health care and other fields, and social advocacy with non-governmental organizations. Those interested in teaching high school would also be well advised to study philosophy, which is a subject now included in Ontario’s secondary school curriculum.

Notable figures who have studied philosophy at Carleton include John Manley (former Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Canada), Elizabeth Hanna (speech language pathologist and voice actress whose work has been featured in Beetlejuice: The Animated Series, Babar, The Care Bears, and Sailor Moon), Susan Bordo (Professor of Women and Gender Studies, Singletary Chair in Humanities, University of Kentucky), Russel Zinn (Justice of the Federal Court of Canada), Christine Koggel (Professor of Philosophy at Carleton University, former Harvey Wexler Chair in Philosophy and Co-director of the Center for International Studies at Bryn Mawr College), Lynn Coady, author of Strange Heaven, The Antagonist, and Hellgoing, and winner of the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize), Barbara Gamble McInner (former CEO of the Ottawa Community Foundation), Kevin Churchill (Assistant Coach and former Captain of the Canadian Interuniversity Sport championship men’s Ravens basketball team), and Aaron Mills (graduate of Yale University law school and winner of a $50,000 Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada Talent Award for research into Indigenous legal traditions and dialogues of reconciliation).

History of the Department