The Department provides superior education in philosophy. Programs and courses span the entire history of western philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of mind and psychology, logic, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, metaphysics and epistemology. In addition to four-year Honours and three-year General degrees, a Specialization in Philosophy, Ethics and Public Affairs is offered.
The Department also offers a highly successful two-year M.A. program that prepares its graduates either for Ph.D. programs or for professional careers (often in government).
The Carleton Advantage
At Carleton University, you’ll have the opportunity to study with professors whose expertise spans five areas of philosophy: Ethics and Political Philosophy; Language, Knowledge, and the Mind; History of Philosophy; Feminism; and Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art.
Ethics and Political Philosophy
Ethics, social, and political issues are an area of strong interest at Carleton. You can get started in this area by taking the limited enrolment, first-year seminar on Moral Issues. Other related introductory courses include Ethics and Philosophy of Religion, and Contemporary Moral, Social, and Religious Issues. As you progress in the program, you’ll be able to select from a range of topical courses such as human rights, bioethics, environmental ethics, Marxist philosophy, censorship, truth and propaganda, and computer ethics, to name a few. In addition, we offer a specialization in Philosophy, Ethics, and Public Affairs.
Language, Knowledge, and the Mind
Philosophical study of the mind, language, and knowledge is another area of strength for Carleton philosophers. You can begin your studies in this stream with a first-year seminar, Looking at Philosophy, that introduces issues such as logical thought, the existence of God, free will, and the nature of reality. Related introductory courses include Knowledge and Reality, and Mind and Truth. More advanced topics in this area include courses such as Personal Identity and the Self, and Language and Communication. We also offer courses in the Philosophy of Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence, as well as Logic and Philosophy of Science.
History of Philosophy
All professors in Philosophy at Carleton contribute to teaching or research in the history of philosophy. Several are specialists in the works of particular philosophers. You can begin your studies in this area with the first-year seminar or the introductory course in History of Philosophy, which examine the major figures and developments in philosophy from the early Greeks to the present. You’ll then advance to study Plato and Aristotle, medieval philosophy, and modern philosophers such as Descartes, Hume, and Kant. You can also study philosophers of the 19th century, more European philosophers including Sartre, Beauvoir, and Heidegger, or some of the initiators of contemporary analytical philosophy, such as Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Several of Carleton’s professors are specialists in feminist philosophy. We offer courses that examine issues such as feminist ethics, science and gender, and feminist aesthetics, to name a few. You may also have the opportunity to critically evaluate contemporary views on topics such as abortion, pornography, and beauty. Women’s issues and feminist perspectives arise in courses such as Moral Issues, Philosophy of Human Rights, and Social and Political Philosophy. Advanced Special Topics courses and Honours Seminars in this area are also available.
Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art
At Carleton, we offer courses in Aesthetics as well as Philosophy of Art. Here you can explore some theories that have shaped the Western approach to art and art criticism, from Ancient Greece to the present. Our Aesthetics courses examine philosophical problems surrounding beauty and taste: Are they objective? Are they culturally determined? These philosophy courses also contribute to degrees in Art History and Architecture.