Why Study Philosophy?

Philosophical inquiry begins with foundational questions. Can we know the world as it really is? What does it mean to have knowledge? What kind of thing am I? What are my moral obligations? How should scare resources be distributed? What is an emotion? What is an organism? What is race? What is gender? What is the relationship between space and time? What is the nature of consciousness?

Philosophers investigate and evaluate classical, historical and contemporary approaches to these questions. The study of philosophy provides students with conceptual and methodological tools to aid them in articulating their own answers to these questions and evaluating the reasoning processes that led to these answers. Philosophy students develop critical thinking, reading and writing skills, which enables them to better express their ideas both orally and in writing. These skills are fundamental no matter what career path students ultimately decide to pursue.

The faculty in Western’s Department of Philosophy are interested in illuminating foundational assumptions, concepts and methods across a wide range of disciplines including art, artificial intelligence, biology, classical studies, health sciences, history of philosophy, gender and sexuality, law, linguistics, medicine, political science, psychology, neuroscience and physics. A major or minor in philosophy is interesting and rewarding in its own right, but it is also an ideal complement to many other programs of study. We offer modules and training programs that are designed to enable students to specialize in a given area of philosophy or to combine the study of philosophy with their main program of study. Philosophy at Western is also home to the internationally renowned Rotman Institute of Philosophy and the Centre for Digital Philosophy.

Not only is the study of philosophy interesting in its own right and a great complement to any major, but it also comes with a number of additional benefits. For example, philosophy majors have been shown to outperform nearly all others with respect to scores on graduate admissions tests.

Benefits of Studying Philosophy

Earning Power

Philosophy degrees have exceptional earning power, with hiring managers valuing the critical thinking they teach.


Test Performance

Philosophy students outperform other disciplines on standardized general tests including the GMAT, LSAT, and GRE.


Philosophy and Science

Many scientists argue that philosophy is crucial to good science, and philosophers frequently contribute directly to science.


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