Philosophy is the endeavour to understand the basic questions that arise for us in our world, and to formulate this understanding in a critical manner.
Traditionally, these questions have touched upon what can be known, what can be valued, what our own position is socially and individually — above all, how we can know what we think we know.
At a Glance
At Mount Allison, Philosophy believes that careful study of the great works of the past and present provides the best access to philosophical questions, and is committed to diversity.
You'll explore the history of philosophy from the sixth century B.C. to the 21st century, with areas of teaching and research in:
- ethics, logic, metaphysics, value theory
- Indian, German philosophy
- social and political philosophy
- continental philosophy
- biomedical ethics
- feminist philosophy
- disability theory
- philosophy of science, law, biology, music, art
- ancient and medieval philosophy
Philosophy is available as:
- BA major (60 credits)
- BA honours (72 credits)
- Minor in any degree (24 credits)
PHIL 1611 — Self, Society, and Freedom
This course investigates ideas about the self in the western philosophical tradition, including work in contemporary philosophy. Issues may include freedom and responsibility, otherness, the relationship between mind and body, the relationship between humans and animals, the impact of trauma, suffering or oppression on self- identity, and the existence or non-existence of the soul.
PHIL 2301 — Introduction to Feminist Philosophy
This course provides an overview and introduction to the critique of traditional philosophy undertaken by feminist philosophers who argue that philosophy, along with other human endeavours, is shaped by the prejudices and assumptions of its practitioners. They do not reject philosophy as a discipline but explore new ways of doing philosophy. The aim of this course is to explore these new approaches in order to examine how feminist philosophers have combined the tools and methods of philosophy with their insights and values.
PHIL 2511 — Introductory Philosophy of Science
This course explores competing philosophical explanations of scientific theory and practice. Based on historical and contemporary cases, it compares philosophical theories including logical positivism, scientific realism, scientific pluralism, sociology of scientific knowledge, and the most recent critiques from social constructivism and feminism.
PHIL 3011 — Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy
This course examines the philosophical developments in the late Ancient and Roman eras within the various schools of the Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics, Cynics, Romans, and Neoplatonists. Themes may include the nature and possibility of knowledge, the ethics of happiness, the problem of free will, and the nature of the Divine.
PHIL 3721 — Environmental Ethics
After reviewing traditional attitudes toward the environment, this course will explore recent attempts to "apply" ethical analysis to such problems as pollution and conservation. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which problems of preservation challenge us to extend our traditional norms and values. To what extent, for example, does growing sensitivity to our natural environment require of us a new "environmental ethic" and oblige us to recognize "animal rights"?
PHIL 3731 — Philosophy of Law
This course introduces central issues in the philosophy of law. Topics may include the relation of law and morality, the rule of law in relation to coercion and liberty, the nature of judicial decision-making, the origin and justification of legal systems, and theories of the nature and function of law from the competing claims of legal positivism, formalism, and realism.
Find a list of specific philosophy courses in our Academic Calendar — Philosophy.
Dr. Jane Dryden
Associate professor, Philosophy
» MtA student, professor co-present paper at national conference on philosophy of disability
Whether you're entering the job market or continuing your education, your Mount Allison degree will stand out.
Mount Allison has been recognized by Maclean's as the top primarily undergraduate university in Canada more times than any other university.
With experiential learning and career development opportunities available in every degree, you'll also graduate with hands-on learning and on-the-job experience.
Our graduates also boast extraordinarily high acceptance rates to top graduate programs and professional schools such as law and medicine.
Popular career paths for Philosophy graduates include:
- community development officer
- human rights advocate
- business professional/manager
- public policy analyst
- human resources specialist
- international development worker
- advertising executive/copywriter
Mary Jane Dykeman ('89)
Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy and French
Partner, DDO Health Law; Partner & Co-Founder, INQ Data Law
» Mary Jane Dykeman ('89) helps health care organizations navigate the intricacies of the law and its impact on patients and their families
Despite its small size, the Philosophy department offers courses from many different perspectives throughout the history of philosophy. During my studies, I’ve learned about a wide range of philosophical topics, and I’ve been encouraged to be creative and explore ideas that matter to me. The support that I’ve received in my research pursuits along with getting involved with the department have helped me to grow as an individual and a young scholar. If you want to learn to be open to new viewpoints, consider topics more deeply, and articulate your thoughts more clearly, I cannot recommend Philosophy enough!
Philosophy won’t just make you a better writer, researcher, and thinker; it will help make your reasoning more incisive, your reflections more inquisitive, and your perspectives more nuanced. Better yet, if you take Philosophy at Mount Allison, you’ll be working with some of the most enthusiastic and conscientious professors around. It was a privilege and a pleasure to study philosophy at Mount Allison, and I wholeheartedly recommend this program to anyone who is still looking for the je ne sais quoi that has been missing from their education thus far.
A.H. Johnson Library
Named in honour of Dr. Allison Heartz Johnson — philosopher, teacher, and humanist — the A.H. Johnson Library houses all the books he collected during his distinguished career as a philosophy scholar, writer, and editor.
Dr. Johnson graduated from Mount Allison with an honours degree in Philosophy in 1931.
As a professor of philosophy at the University of Western Ontario, head of the department during its formative years, a charter member of the Canadian Philosophical Association, a member of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Humanities Research Council of Canada, and author of numerous books and articles for philosophical journals — Dr. Johnson contributed greatly to the development of philosophy in Canada.
Mount A is 3rd in National Academic Awards won by students
A high percentage of Mount Allison’s graduating students move on to graduate programs or professional schools such as law and medicine. Maclean’s ranks Mount Allison third in the number of students who have won national academic awards. To date, 55 Mount Allison students have become Rhodes Scholars.