Students of medicine, students of politics, students of physics, and theologians, linguists, psychologists, engineers, critics of literature and the arts – all these and more will encounter philosophical problems. This is because philosophy raises questions about the basic assumptions of every form of human inquiry, having amongst its branches the philosophy of science, of religion, of psychology, of history, of law, of economics, and so on.
Doing philosophy will equip you to discuss difficult, profound and important questions about the world, other people and ourselves. Philosophical skills are useful across all walks of life and is strongly appreciated in many professions.
The philosophy teaching program typically differs from other disciplines. Philosophers often focus on different questions than are addressed by other researchers. In particular, philosophers often attempt to find out the truth about the foundations of our knowledge or our practices. Some of the most important philosophical questions to have been studied are:
- What is the nature of consciousness? Could a machine be conscious?
- Is there an objective basis to ethics and morality?
- Is there a rational argument for or against the existence of God?
- What is knowledge, and when should we change our beliefs about the world?
- How should society’s limited resources be distributed?
- Is beauty objective or merely a matter of taste?
Philosophers use methods and approaches that often differ from other disciplines. Philosophers are interested in providing the strongest possible arguments for their views. Sometimes they use techniques borrowed from formal logic to help formulate their ideas. Some philosophers work closely with scientists in empirical disciplines such as psychology or neuroscience, others focus on historical approaches, and others draw inspiration from art and literature. In all cases, philosophers are careful to make their reasoning and methods obvious, which explains why studying philosophy helps develop critical reasoning skills.
Find out about Philosophy flexible learning units.
Our teaching approach creates pathways for students to progress from an undergraduate interest in Philosophy, to pursuing the discipline through Honours, and then graduate research.
The Department of Philosophy at Monash University is internationally recognised for its strong research program. We can provide supervision for a broad range of research topics including:
- Philosophy of mind, consicousness, and cognition
- Epistemology (theory of knowledge)
- Moral and political philosophy
- Early modern philosophy
- Philosophical Logic
- Contemporary European philosophy
- Philosophy of law
- Philosophy of religion
- Indian philosophy
The Department has particular research strengths in philosophy of neuroscience and consciousness, political philosophy, as well as logic, religion and historical traditions.