Philosophy - College of Arts - University of Canterbury - New Zealand

‘I knew I had found something worth studying...’

Kyle Gibson BA(Hons) in Philosophy
History Teacher, Khartoum, Sudan
(read profile)


Why study Philosophy?

Philosophy will be enjoyed by anyone who is fascinated by ideas, who likes to think and to explore, who is curious, and who wants to know where in the great marketplace of the world's ideas truth might be reasonably found. It is not just an academic subject, but addresses the puzzles that arise in everyone's life. Its aim is to enable you to think rationally, lucidly, independently and critically, to discuss intelligently, and to argue cogently.

No experience required!

Philosophy offers an array of courses in its 'absolute beginners' series - courses with NO special background required. Each course provides an enjoyable entrée into the fascinating world of philosophical thinking.

Studying Philosophy

Here are a few typical philosophical questions:

  • Was the universe created by God or is it a wholly natural system? Is there life after death? Can science tell us everything there is to know about the world?
  • What is consciousness? Could a plant be conscious? Can a spider think? Can computers think? Could a machine ever be conscious and have free will? Are human beings just soft, cuddly computers?
  • What is knowledge? What is truth? Do we know that there are any minds other than our own?
  • What is goodness? What is justice? Are moral beliefs merely matters of personal opinion, or are some actions really good or really bad?
  • What is art? Can we learn anything from art, and if we do, do we learn from it in the way that we learn from science? Can works of art be objectively good or bad, or are artistic tastes purely personal?

A Philosophy degree in the workplace

The intellectual skills Philosophy teaches provide an excellent preparation for success in many different careers which require people who demonstrate an ability to think and write clearly and who are intellectually adaptable. Philosophy graduates find employment in the public service, education and business. Overseas studies have shown that philosophy students are more successful in obtaining employment than graduates in many other subjects, and have a high success rate for entry to graduate professional programmes.

History of Philosophy at Canterbury

News and Announcements

Alan Turing Film Festival - The Man Who Cracked the Nazi Code (directed by van Waerebeke)

A9, South Arts Lecture Theatres, 27/5/2016 3:00 PM Free

Alan Turing Film Festival - The Imitation Game (directed by Tyldum)

A9, South Arts Lecture Theatres, 15/7/2016 3:00 PM Free

Alan Turing Film Festival - Code-Breakers: Bletchley Park’s Lost Heroes (directed by Carey)

A9, South Arts Lecture Theatres, 22/7/2016 3:00 PM Free

Copeland to Talk Digital Humanities in Copenhagen

Diane Proudfoot Lectures at IAS in Israel

11th December 2015: Diane Proudfoot gave a lecture, ‘What Turing Would Have Said To Lovelace’, at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies on December 10th. Read more...

Copeland Invited by Science Oxford to Speak

4th December 2015: Jack Copeland has been invited to give a public lecture in Oxford next January by Science Oxford. Read more...

Jack Copeland Delivers Keynote at Mathematics Conference in Copenhagen

20 November 2015: Jack Copeland spent last week as guest of the Mathematics Department at Copenhagen University. On Tuesday he delivered a Mathematics Research Colloquium to an audience of 200, on Wednesday one of the two keynote addresses at the Mod Math conference, to an audience of 180, and on Thursday an invited research lecture at Det Informations-videnskabelige Akademi (The Institute of Information Science). Read more...

Proudfoot and Copeland Deliver Ada Lovelace Lectures in Israel

20 November 2015: Diane Proudfoot and Jack Copeland are organizing The Ada Lovelace Bicentennial Lectures On Computability at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies. Read more...

UC Philosopher to Organise Centenary of Bletchley Park Codebreaker

30 October 2015: Bletchley Park Trust and the London Reform Club have invited Jack Copeland and intelligence analyst Claire Butterfield to organise the William Tutte Centenary in 2017. Read more...

Jack Copeland to Give Lectures in Beijing

16 October 2015: Jack Copeland has received an invitation to visit the Renmin University of China, Beijing, in April 2016 to deliver a short course of lectures on his research in the philosophy of computing. Read more...

Jack Copeland Invited to Copenhagen

9 October 2015: Jack has been invited to Copenhagen University for the period 8 - 15 November 2015 to speak at the Mod MATH pa KU event, which brings maths high-school teachers from across Denmark into contact with recent developments in mathematics. Read more...

Killer robots: the future of war?

UC Philosophy PhD student Sean Welsh has had his article on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems featured on CNN News's website.

Covey Award

The University of Canterbury’s Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, Jack Copeland, has just been named 2016 winner of the Covey Award by the International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP). The prize will be awarded next year in a ceremony at the IACAP conference to be held at the University of Ferrara in Italy. By tradition Professor Copeland will deliver a keynote conference speech after the award ceremony. Read the full article here.

Turing presentation at Prior Centenary Conference, based at the University of Copenhagen, have uploaded a video of Jack Copeland’s Keynote address at the Arthur Prior Centenary Conference on Youtube, and Matematicko-fyzikální fakulta, based in Prague, have uploaded a video of Jack Copeland’s presentation on ‘Alan Turing and the Birth of Computer’.

Robotics article published

Jakub Złotowski, Diane Proudfoot, Kumar Yogeeswaran, and Christoph Bartneck recently had their article, “Anthropomorphism: Opportunities and Challenges in Human–Robot Interaction”, published in the International Journal of Social Robotics.

How do you become an intern?

UC Philosophy Internships The first thing do is to talk to, or email, either Dr Stephen Hardman, the Arts Internship coordinator, or Doug Campbell in Philosophy. We don’t bite and are keen to hear from you! If you think you might be interested, don't hesitate to drop us a line or come and chat. We will talk to you about your interests and about the type of organization you might like to work for.

Philosophy Seminar Series

Philosophy Seminars are held on Tuesdays, Room 409, Law Building, 11:00am - 1:00pm

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