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


The proposed B.A. and B.A. hon. degree programs in Philosophy – Western Philosophy will be distinguished by virtue of several key methodological and structural principles as well as by their distinctive content and focus.

In accordance with the aims and methods of the humanities, the focus of these programs will be on moral philosophy rather than on metaphysics or logic. The goal of the programs will be for students to understand the development of Western philosophy through direct readings of the works that constitute the principal achievements of the West’s philosophical tradition.

Structurally, the programs will be distinguished by their presentation of all materials in chronological order, which will highlight the dialogic nature and coherence of the tradition.



The Honours Degree Program in Philosophy


First year

Socrates, bust by Pio Clementino

PHE 1.1: Pre-Socratic Philosophy: Thales, Pythagoras, Heraclitus, Parmenides, Anaxagoras, Empedocles, Zeno, Democritus

PHE 1.2: Plato: Protagoras, Euthyphro, Meno, Phaedo, Symposium, Phaedrus, Parmenides, Sophist

PHE 1.3: Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Categories, On Interpretation, Metaphysics

PHE 1.4: Hellenistic Philosophy: Aristippus, Diogenes, Pyrrho, Epicurus, Zeno of Citium, Chrysippyus, Carneades

PHE 1.5: Roman and Late Hellenistic Philosophy: Cicero, The Academics, On the Nature of the Gods; Plutarch, On Superstition, The Stoics Speak more Paradoxically than the Poets, It is Impossible to Live Pleasantly in the Manner of Epicurus; Sextus Empiricus, Pyrrhonic Sketches; Lucretius, On the Nature of Things; Seneca, Letters to Lucilius



Second year

Erasmus of Rotterdam, portrait by Quentin Massys

PHE 2.1: Medieval Philosophy: Augustine, Confessions, City of God; Aquinas, Summa of Theology; Duns Scotus, Ordinatio (lecture on individuation); Ockham, Summa of Logic

PHE 2.2: Renaissance Philosophy: Ficino, The Platonic Theology; Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man; Erasmus, The Praise of Folly; Machiavelli, The Prince; Montaigne, Apology for Raimond Sebond

PHE 2.3: Seventeenth Century Philosophy: Bacon, The New Organon, The New Atlantis; Descartes, Discourse on Method, Philosophical Meditations; Hobbes, Leviathan; Locke, Essay on Human Understanding

PHE 2.4: The Rationalists: Malebranche, The Search after Truth; Spinoza, Theologico-Political Treaty, Ethics; Leibnitz, Discourse on Metaphysics, Theodicy, Monadology

PHE 2.5: Enlightenment Philosophy I: Vico, The New Science; Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding; Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary; Diderot, Philosophical Thoughts



Third year

Nietzsche, portrait

PHE 3.1: Enlightenment Philosophy II: d’Holbach, Helvétius, La Mettrie, Condillac, Condorcet; Diderot and D’Alembert, the Encyclopaedia (selected articles); Rousseau, On the Origin of Inequality

PHE 3.2: Kant: What is Enlightenment?, Critiques

PHE 3.3: Hegel and Feuerbach: Hegel, Phenomenology of Mind; Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, Principles of the Philosophy of the Future

PHE 3.4: Schopenhauer and Marx: Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation; Marx; Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, The German Ideology, Capital

PHE 3.5: Nietzsche: The Birth of Tragedy, Human, All too Human, The Gay Science, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, On the Genealogy of Morals, Twilight of the Idols



Fourth year


Michel Foucault, portrait

PHE 4.1: Phenomenology: Husserl, General Introduction to a Pure Phenomenology; Heidegger, Being and Time, Introduction to Metaphysics, Letter on Humanism, The Question Concerning Theology, and Other Essays, Identity and Difference

PHE 4.2: Existentialist Philosophy: Kierkegaard, Either/Or; Sartre, Being and NothingnessExistentialism is a Humanism; Camus, The Myth of Sisyphus

PHE 4.3: Empiricism and Analytic Philosophy: Mill, A System of Logic; Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations; Russell, The Problems of Philosophy; Quine, The Philosophy of Logic

PHE 4.4: Critical Thory and Poststructuralist Philosophy: Adorno and Horkheimer, Dialectic of Enlightenment; Arendt, The Human Condition; Deleuze, Difference and Repetition; Foucault, Archaeology of Knowledge; Derrida, Margins of Philosophy

PHE 4.5: Hermeneutics and Pragmatism: Ricoeur, The Conflict of Interpretations; Blumenberg, Work on Myth; Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature; Vattimo, The End of Modernity; Taylor, Sources of the Self