School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations

Philosophy Overview

"Philosophy is able to suggest many possibilities which enlarge our thoughts and free them from the tyranny of custom." (Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy)

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Quick References

Philosophers explore the nature of argument and justification and examine the rational basis of belief in all areas of enquiry. Philosophers seek to answer questions like "What things exist?", "Is there a single truth about what's right and wrong?", "What can we know for sure?", and "Is there a god?".

Philosophy staff at Victoria are engaged in research across a large range of topics within philosophy. We have particular strengths in logic, ethics, metaphysics, aesthetics, and philosophy of biology. Logic is reflected in Philosophy postgraduate offerings - BA(Hons), MA and Phd degrees in Logic, or Logic and Computation.

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Why Study Philosophy?

The literal meaning of the word 'philosopher' is 'lover of wisdom'. However, Philosophy is also about the love of critical and creative thinking, intelligent discussion, and cogent argument.  These are skills that can be applied to almost any issue in almost any context.

Philosophy courses are an important component of any degree from Victoria. Since creative, critical, and cogent thinking is fundamental to every subject, the concepts and methods of contemporary philosophy can useful for students majoring in most other fields. Philosophy gives you a competitive academic edge and enhances the overall quality of your degree.

The Philosophy Programme at Victoria has strong links to other disciplines outside the School, including connections with computing and mathematics through logic; with science through the philosophy of biology, and ethics and genetics; and with art and art history through the philosophy of art.

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What can I do with a qualification in Philosophy?

Philosophy graduates find employment in a wide variety of fields. The Philosophy Programme at Victoria University of Wellington has had an excellent employment and placement record over the years and people interested in learning about the potential for their philosophy qualification should refer to the Australasian Association of Philosophy Employment Guideand the Philosophy Career View. Those considering completing a degree majoring or specializing in philosophy should also be aware that your degree is likely to increase your salary! According to Vic Careers, the average salary ranges for graduates in their first job after leaving Victoria are as follows: Bachelor's Degree $40,000-$46,000; Honours Degree $42,000-$47,000; Master's Degree $47,000-$60,000; PhD $65,000-$75,000 per annum. Philosophy graduates are currently all the rage with employers as a recent article in the Guardian shows.

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Seminars

Programme Research Seminars are held regularly during teaching periods. Postgraduate Philosophy students are expected to attend this staff seminar series.

Postgraduate students are also expected to attend the student seminar series, which is run by the students themselves. All PhD and MA students must make a work-in-progress presentation. To find out more about our current postgraduate students check out our student profiles page.

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Tutors

Tutoring or marking work is often available for Philosophy MA and PhD students. To find our more please see Philosophy resources

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Women in Philosophy

The Victoria Women in Philosophy group is an organisation whose goal is to raise awareness and address the under-representation of women in philosophy. We hope to contribute to creating an academic culture in which all those interested in philosophy, irrespective of gender, can flourish. We strongly support the following goals:

  • attracting and retaining of women in philosophy
  • raising awareness of implicit gender bias and stereotype threat
  • ensuring fair representation of women philosophers on syllabi
  • increasing visibility of women in philosophy
  • ensuring greater equality in number of female speakers at workshops, seminars and conferences
  • providing support to Victoria female philosophy students with regards to any gender issues they may encounter.

To ask a question or raise an issue, email us on womeninphilosophy@vuw.ac.nz
To receive regular updates join our Facebook group "Victoria Women in Philosophy Group".

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Further Information

For more information on Philosophy at Victoria please go to the Philosophy subjects page.

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Philosophy Graduate Profile

Students who complete the Philosophy Major at Victoria University of Wellington will have:
  • an understanding of the ethics of scholarship
  • a specialised understanding of philosophy (including its distinctive methods, questions, contribution, context and debates
  • an ability to think logically and critically in a wide variety of contexts using established methods of formal or informal logic
  • an ability to analyse or elucidate complex ideas and concepts and to define them clearly and precisely
  • an understanding of the various kinds of value, and an ability to make rational and ethical decisions in personal and professional contexts, and as an engaged citizen
  • an ability to articulate original and useful philosophical theses or to provide original arguments in support of contentious philosophical theses
  • an ability to engage in original and ethical research in philosophy under close supervision