|Description:||Broadly speaking, the principal aim of philosophy is to increase our understanding of ourselves, the world, and our place in it. Philosophy differs from the empirical and social sciences in important respects. One way to characterize philosophy is by the sorts of questions it seeks to answer, and the ways in which it seeks to answer them. Different areas of philosophy are characterized by the questions they address. For example, epistemology inquires into the nature of knowledge; metaphysics is concerned with the fundamental nature of the world and of the types of things that it contains; ethics investigates the nature of moral judgment and moral reasoning; while political philosophy examines such matters as justice, freedom, rights, democracy, and power; and logic is broadly the analysis of the structure of correct reasoning.
The Department requires of all honours and joint honours students that they take a special three-credit course (PHIL 301), the principal aim of which is to equip students with the distinctively philosophical skills required for advanced work in the field. The Bachelor of Arts in philosophy is not a professional qualification. It prepares students for graduate work in philosophy and for study in other disciplines, e.g. law. As the interdisciplinary discipline par excellence, philosophy also maintains and encourages ties with other fields, so many students will find that certain classes in philosophy are directly relevant to their major area of study.
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