The unexamined life is not worth living.
― Socrates, quoted by Plato, Apology, 38a


It is better to be a beggar than an ignorant person; for a beggar only wants money, but an ignorant person wants humanity.
― Aristippus, quoted by Diogenes Laertius, Life of Aristippus, IV


Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.
(Such has been the power of religion to persuade men to evil.)
― Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, I, 101

Bad times, hard times, this is what people keep saying; but let us live well,
and times shall be good. We are the times: Such as we are, such are the times.
― Augustine, Sermons, 30, 8

I have no patience with those who say that sexual excitement is shameful and that erotic
pleasure has its origin not in nature, but in sin. Nothing could be further from the truth.
― Erasmus, In Praise of Marriage

Religion, which should most distinguish us from the beasts, and ought most particularly
to elevate us, as rational creatures,above brutes, is that wherein men
often appear most irrational, and more senseless than beasts.
― Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding, IV, 18

If God made us in his image, we’ve more than returned the favour.
― Voltaire, Notebook

Enlightenment is man’s leaving his self-caused immaturity. Immaturity is the incapacity to use one's intelligence
without the guidance of another. Such immaturity is self-caused if it is not caused by lack of intelligence,
but by lack of determination and courage to use one's intelligence without being guided by another.
Sapere Aude! Have the courage to use your own intelligence! is therefore the motto of the enlightenment.
― Kant, What is Enlightenment?, tr. M. Smith

To have slaves is nothing. What is intolerable is to have slaves and call them citizens.
― Diderot, Entretiens

Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions.
It is the opium of the people. […] The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand
for their real happiness. […] Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue
to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower.
― Marx, Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right, Introduction, tr. J. O’Malley

Although the most acute judges of the witches and even the witches themselves,
were convinced of the guilt of witchery, the guilt nevertheless was non-existent. It is thus with all guilt.
― Nietzsche, The Gay Science, 250

The actions of men of good faith have, as their ultimate significance,
the quest of freedom itself as such.
― Sartre, Existentialism and Humanism, tr. Ph. Mairet

The soul is the prison of the body.
― Foucault, Discipline and Punish, tr. A. Sheridan

Philosophy - Western Philosophy


 Unique Programs 


The proposed B.A. and B.A. hon. degree programs in Western Philosophy will be distinguished by their focus on the traditions of moral philosophy and by their unparalleled breadth and depth.

The goal of the HDDP’s philosophy programs is for students to understand the development of Western philosophy through direct readings, from the Pre-Socratics to Richard Rorty and Charles Taylor, of the works that constitute the principal achievements of the West’s philosophical tradition. The programs’ distinctive presentation of all materials in chronological order will help students develop a deep understanding of the dialogic nature and coherence of this tradition.

 Bright Prospects 


The proposed programs have been developed in consultation with faculty responsible for graduate admissions at some of the world’s top universities. They are specially designed to help students gain admission to M.A. programs focusing on historical periods of philosophy and / or requiring extensive reading at the undergraduate level.

Students will also be well prepared for further studies in related and interdisciplinary academic fields, or in law.

For students seeking to enter the job market directly, the HDDP’s Philosophy programs will provide a superior credential for highly skilled positions in the public and private sectors in fields including writing, communication, policy analysis and development, politics, and ethics.

 More Details 


More detailed information, including course descriptions, weekly programs, assignments, and learning outcomes, is provided in the Course Catalogue.

Following the overview of program courses, a full list of the primary readings comprising the honours specialization has been included.

The Honours Degree Program in Philosophy


First year

Socrates, bust by Pio Clementino

PHE 1.1: Pre-Socratic Philosophy 

PHE 1.2: Plato 

PHE 1.3: Aristotle 

PHE 1.4: Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy 

PHE 1.5: Medieval Philosophy 




Second year

Erasmus of Rotterdam, portrait by Quentin Massys

PHE 2.1: Renaissance Philosophy 

PHE 2.2:  Early Modern Philosophy I 

PHE 2.3: Early Modern Philosophy II 

PHE 2.4: Enlightenment Philosophy I 

PHE 2.5: Enlightenment Philosophy II 



Third year

Nietzsche, portrait

PHE 3.1: Kant 

PHE 3.2: Hegel and Schopenhauer

PHE 3.3: Feuerbach and Marx 

PHE 3.4: Nietzsche 

PHE 3.5: Phenomenology 



Fourth year


Michel Foucault, portrait

PHE 4.1: Existentialist Philosophy 

PHE 4.2: Empiricism and Analytic Philosophy 

PHE 4.3: Philosophy  of Language; the Frankfurt School 

PHE 4.4: Poststructuralist Philosophy 

PHE 4.5: Hermeneutics and Pragmatism 




Primary Readings for the Honours Degree in Philosophy


Assembled from the bibliographical information for each course, the following list provides a panoptic view of what is to be covered in the program on a year-by-year basis. This list is purely for informational purposes and does not correspond to the type of comprehensive undergraduate exit exam that traditionally characterized humanities programs at universities such as Oxford or Geneva. It may, however, serve as an indication of the depth and breadth of the program proposed by the HDDP, and may also serve as a basis for comparison with programs in similar specializations at other universities.

The dates given in brackets are those of the first publication in the original language. The edition to be used for the course readings will be determined in consultation with the Project’s Head Librarian and the course’s professor. Translations are listed according to the title of the translation to be used. Again, the precise edition to be used will be determined in conjunction with the Head Librarian and the teaching professor.


First Year

“Codes”, abstract water colour painting by Bruce Black, 2020, detail


Fragments from: Thales [c. 624-546 BC], Anaximander [c. 610 – 546 BC], Anaximenes [c. 585 – 525 BC], Xenophanes of Elea [c. 570-478 BC], Heraclitus [c. 535 – 475 BC], Parmenides of Elea [c. 515 – 450 BC], Zeno of Elea [c. 490 – 430 BC], Melissus of Samos [c. 470-430 BC], Pythagoras [c. 570-490 BC], Empedocles [c. 490 – 430 BC], Anaxagoras [c. 500 – 428 BC], Leucippus [c. 600 – 520 BC], Democritus [c. 460 – 370 BC], Philolaus [c. 470 – 385 BC], Protagoras [c. 490 – 420 BC], and Gorgias [c. 483 – 375 BC]
Plato, Euthyphro [c. 399 BC]
---. Apology [c. 399 BC]
---. Crito [c. 399 BC]
---. Symposium [c. 385 BC]
---. Gorgias [c. 380 BC]
---. Meno [c. 380 BC]
---. Phaedrus [c. 370 BC]
---. Theaetetus [c. 369 BC]
Aristotle, Categories [c. 353 BC]
---. On Interpretation [c. 350 BC]
---. Poetics [c. 335 BC]
---. Metaphysics [c. 350 BC]
---. Nicomachean Ethics [c. 340 BC]
Fragments from / doxographies of: Aristippus [c. 435-356 BC], Antisthenes [c. 446-336 BC], Diogenes [c. 412-323 BC], Pyrrho [c. 360-270 BC], Xenocrates [c. 339-313 BC], Arcesilaus [c. 316-241 BC], Epicurus [c. 341-270 BC], Metrodorus [c. 331-277 BC], Zeno of Citium [c. 334-262 BC], Chrysippus [c. 279-206 BC], and Carneades [c. 214-128 BC]
Lucretius, On the Nature of Things [c. 60 BC]
Cicero, The Academics [45 BC]
Seneca, On the Shortness of Life [c. 49 AD]
---. On the Firmness of the Wise Man [c. 55 AD]
Plutarch, On Superstition [c. 100 AD]
---. The Stoics Speak more Paradoxically than the Poets [c. 100 AD]
---. It is Impossible to Live Pleasantly in the Manner of Epicurus [c. 100 AD]
Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhonic Sketches [c. 200 AD]
Diogenes Laertius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [c. 220 AD]
Augustine, City of God [426]
Anselm, Proslogion [1078]
Aquinas, Summa of Theology [1273]
Duns Scot, Ordinatio [c. 1295-1308]
Ockham, Summa of Logic [c. 1323]


Second Year

“Codes”, abstract water colour painting by Bruce Black, 2020, detail


Ficino, The Platonic Theology [1482]
Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man [1496]
Erasmus, The Praise of Folly [1511]
Machiavelli, The Prince [1532]
Montaigne, Apology for Raymond Sebond [1580-1595]
Bacon, The New Organon [1620]
Descartes, Discourse on Method [1637]
---. Meditations on First Philosophy [1641]
Hobbes, Leviathan [1651]
Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding [1689]
Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treatise [1669]
---. Ethics [1677]
Malebranche, The Search after Truth [1675]
Bayle, A General Dictionary, Historical and Critical [1697]
Leibnitz, Theodicy [1710]
---. Monadology [1714]
Vico, The New Science [1725]
Voltaire, Letters on England [1734]
Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding [1740]
Diderot, Philosophical Thoughts [1746]
La Mettrie, Man a Machine [1747]
Diderot, Letter on the Blind for the Use of Those Who See [1749]
Condillac, Treatise on Sensations [1754]
Rousseau, On the Origin and Basis of Inequality among Men [1755]
Diderot and D’Alembert, Encyclopedia [1751-1772]
Helvetius, Essays on the Mind [1758]
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary [1764]
D’Holbach, The System of Nature [1770]
Diderot, Conversation between D’Alembert and Diderot [1769]
---. Addition to the Philosophical Thoughts [1770]
---. Condorcet, Sketch for a Historical Picture of the Progress of the Human Spirit [1795]


Third Year

“Codes”, abstract water colour painting by Bruce Black, 2020, detail


Kant, Critique of Pure Reason [1781-1787]
---. Critique of Practical Reason [1788]
---. Critique of Judgement [1790]
Hegel, The Phenomenology of Mind [1807]
Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation [1819]
Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity [1841]
---. Principles of the Philosophy of the Future [1843]
Marx, The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature [1841, published 1902]
---. Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right [1844, published 1927]
---. Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844 [1844, published 1932]
---. “Theses on Feuerbach” [1845, published 1888]
---. The German Ideology [1846, published 1932]
---. Capital [1867-1894]
Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy [1872]
---. The Gay Science [1882]
---. Beyond Good and Evil [1886]
---. On the Genealogy of Morals [1887]
Husserl, General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology [1913]
Heidegger, Being and Time [1927]
---. The Question Concerning Technology [1954] ]


Fourth Year


“Codes”, abstract water colour painting by Bruce Black, 2020, detail

Kierkegaard, Either/Or [1843]
---. Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus [1942]
---. Sartre, Being and Nothingness: an Essay on Phenomenological Ontology [1943]
---. Existentialism is a Humanism [1945]
Heidegger, Letter on Humanism [1946]
Mill, A System of Logic, Ratiocinative and Inductive [1843]
Peirce, “What is a Sign?” [1894]
---. “What is Pragmatism?” [1907]
---. Russell, The Problems of Philosophy [1912]
---. Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus [1921]
---. Philosophical Investigations [1953]
---. Quine, The Philosophy of Logic [1970]
Adorno and Horkheimer, The Dialectic of Enlightenment [1947]
Austin, How to Do Things with Words [1962]
Marcuse, One-Dimensional Man [1964]
Searle, Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language [1969]
Habermas, The Theory of Communicative Action [1981]
Foucault, The Order of Things: an Archaeology of the Human Sciences [1966]
Deleuze, Difference and Repetition [1968]
Derrida, Margins of Philosophy [1972]
Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge [1979]
Blumenberg, Paradigms for a Metaphorology [1960]
---. Legitimacy of the Modern Age [1966]
Ricœur, The Conflict of Interpretations [1969]
Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature [1979]
Vattimo, The End of Modernity: Nihilism and Hermeneutics in Post-modern Culture [1985]
Taylor, Sources of the Self [1989]