Message from the Chair

To all philosophy students and philo-curious friends, greetings!

On behalf of all colleagues and staff, it is my pleasure, as Chair, to welcome you to the department. You will find a wealth of useful information about our team and programs on this website. Here are a few highlights to illustrate what makes our department special!

If I tried to capture the spirit of the department and its people in a few words, I would say: friendly, caring, convivial. Academic philosophy can be intimidating at first, so the human context in which it is done is important. One feature of the department that makes this conviviality possible is its size: “Not too big… not too small… Just right!

Chair of Philosophy, Professor Annie Larivée

Not too big: this is not an impersonal department. You are not just a ‘number’ here. Everybody knows everybody, and you are included in the life of the group. As our present and past students can attest, while being top specialists in their field, your professors are very approachable. We are happy to engage in discussion with you outside the classroom! We also hope to see you at our Colloquium Series and special events such as World Philosophy Day for more opportunities to exchange. Many students choose to keep their connection to the department alive long after their graduation. This can only be a good sign!

Not too small: our faculty and instructors enable you to explore a variety of fascinating questions from the most concrete, such as ethical problems surrounding surrogacy or universal basic income, to the most fundamental, such as the meaning of life. The array of research topics covered in the department is surprisingly wide.

When I think of Philosophy at Carleton four more things come immediately to mind.

First, the importance we assign to teaching. Our faculty are dedicated pedagogues and mentors. This has always been a top priority for us over the years.

Second, the quality of our MA program. Our graduate students receive individual attention, and it shows. Our students graduate ready to meet the rigorous challenges of a PhD, or entry into the workforce at large. Check out our student testimonials and graduate placement record here. Our MA in philosophy is our signature program and we are especially proud of it!

Third, the department’s commitment to gender equality. For the past fifteen years, women have always represented a bit over or under 50% of our permanent faculty body. Our hope is that our commitment to gender equality will inspire young women to enter the discipline. (Come study philosophy with us, you will feel at home!)

And fourth, the significant role we play in the wider context of the university. Did you know that this year, we got close to 5000 enrollments in philosophy courses? Our first- and second-year courses are especially popular as electives. It is no wonder why. Philosophy courses enable students in other programs to cultivate strong reasoning skills. Critical thinking is a much-needed skill in today’s world, and it is philosophy’s specialty!

If you are curious and wish to discuss our courses and programs, just come see us. My door is always open. Next time you are around Paterson Hall, feel free to drop by for a chat!

With my very best wishes of success!

Annie Larivée
Departmental Chair