Philosophy is the oldest academic discipline, having given birth over two millennia to logic, ethics, physics, psychology, computer science, the last two in the last century alone. While philosophers themselves quarrel about the nature of the subject, this is because it is the discipline that must ask foundational questions concerning all forms of knowledge, including itself.
Philosophy has disparate branches; to name a few: ethics, political philosophy, logic, philosophy of language and of mind, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of the natural and social sciences, aesthetics. What seems to unite them is their concern with questions not normally answerable by science or empirical investigation alone; hence their reliance on abstract thought, and emphasis on conceptual and logical clarity.
The training in argumentative clarity that is basic to philosophy explains why disciplines such as law value philosophy degrees so highly. Many philosophy graduates who do not pursue philosophy as a career find their philosophical training invaluable as a pathway to careers in law, politics, psychology, linguistics, mathematics, computer science, and the natural sciences. Others pursue careers in philosophy and retain a life-long interest in its subject matter. Indeed, philosophy has had a profound influence on the past century, from the invention of computers to the movements for gender equality, animal rights, and multicultural accommodation, and on debates over democracy, liberty and equality, world poverty and global responsibility, abortion, linguistic meaning and truth, and the nature of consciousness.
Our faculty has diverse interests, and a wide range of expertise in contemporary philosophy as well as the history of philosophy. Both the analytic and continental traditions are well-represented. The entire faculty is bilingual, and the department offers programs and courses in both English and French.