top of page

Philosophy

Philosophy

Philosophy as we know it can be traced back to the time of the Ancient Greeks – the word itself is derived from the Greek for ‘love of knowledge’. Its nature as a study of humanity means that it is less prone to going out of date than some subjects, so to study philosophy is to immerse yourself in an absolutely huge continuum of ideas and debates both past and present.

But that is not to say, however, that new developments are not being made; the past hundred years or so have produced some of the most important and significant philosophical thought there is.

It is, of course, a subject which tends to creep into other disciplines, particularly social sciences and humanities subjects like literature, politics, and the history of art, but also the ‘hard’ sciences – for instance when it comes to analyzing the ethical implications of a research project.

Digging deeper into subject interests can help you in a number of ways:

  • Confirm whether this is (or isn't) something you would be interested in enough to want to study it at university either as the focus of your degree or a minor/elective

  • Give you some inspiration to use when creating your questions and topics for IA's (coursework) and your Extended Essay

  • Provide you with content for your university application writing in the future, enabling you to reflect on the things you've been doing to explore your interests in a way that is academically relevant to the course or institution you are applying for.

Useful Resources

A Discourse on Method; Meditations of the first philosophy; Principles of philosophy, by Rene Descartes
Book
St. Clares Library L25 194 DES
An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding and An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals, by David Hume
Book
GENERAL: "Enquiry concerning human understanding" (1751), and "Enquiry � concerning the principles of morals" (1777), both reprinted, with an � introduction and analytical index by L.A.Selby-Bigge. With text revised and notes by P.H.Nidditch. This is also an Open University set book.
St. Clares Library L25 192 HUM
Discourse On the Method, by Rene Descartes
Book
St. Clares Library L25 194 DES
Morality: an introduction to ethics, by Bernard Williams
Book
Bernard Williams's remarkable essay on morality confronts the problems of writing moral philosophy, and offers a stimulating alternative to more systematic accounts which seem nevertheless to have left all the important issues somewhere off the page. Williams explains, analyses and distinguishes a number of key positions, from the purely amoral to notions of subjective or relative morality, testing their coherence before going on to explore the nature of 'goodness' in relation to responsibilities and choice, roles, standards, and human nature. The final chapters make a fascinating enquiry into what morality is about, looking beyond happiness to other human aims and ideals. This re-issue of a classic in moral philosophy includes a new foreword by the author.
St. Clares Library L25 170 WIL
On Liberty, by J S Mill
Book
St. Clares Library L25 192 MIL
Philosophy of Science: A very short introduction, by Samir Okasha (2002)
Book
What is science? Is science objective? Can science explain everything? This Very Short Introduction provides a concise overview of the main themes in contemporary philosophy of science. Beginning with a short history of science to set the scene, Samir Okasha goes on to investigate the nature of scientific reasoning, scientific explanation, revolutions in science, and theories such as realism and anti-realism. he also looks at philosophical issues in particular sciences, such as the problem of classification in biology, and the nature of space and time in physics. The final chapter touches on the conflicts between science and religion, and explores whether science is ultimately a good thing.
St. Clares Library L25 501 OKA
Philosophy: A very short introduction, by Edward Craig
Book
How ought we to live? What really exists? How do we know? This lively and engaging book is the ideal introduction for anyone who has ever been puzzled by what philosophy is or what it is for. Edward Craig argues that philosophy is not an activity from another planet: learning about it is just a matter of broadening and deepening what most of us do already. He shows that philosophy is no mere intellectual pastime: thinkers such as Plato, Buddhist writers, Descartes, Hobbes, Hume, Hegel, Darwin, Mill, and de Beauvoir were responding to real needs and events - much of their work shapes our lives today, and many of their concerns are still ours.
St. Clares Library L41 100 UNI
Philosophy: the basics, by Nigel Warburton
Book
'Philosophy: The Basics deservedly remains the most recommended introduction to philosophy on the market. Warburton is patient, accurate and, above all, clear. There is no better short introduction to philosophy.' - Stephen Law, author of The Philosophy Gym Philosophy: The Basics gently eases the reader into the world of philosophy. Each chapter considers a key area of philosophy, explaining and exploring the basic ideas and themes including: * Can you prove God exists? * How do we know right from wrong? * What are the limits of free speech? * Do you know how science works? * Is your mind different from your body? * Can you define art? * How should we treat non-human animals? For the fifth edition of this best-selling book, Nigel Warburton has added an entirely new chapter on animals, revised others and brought the further reading sections up to date. If you've ever asked 'what is philosophy?', or wondered whether the world is really the way you think it is, this is the book for you.
St Clares Library L25 100 WAR
Philosophy: the classics, by Nigel Warburton
Book
Now in its fourth edition, Philosophy: The Classics is a brisk and invigorating tour through the great books of western philosophy. In his exemplary clear style, Nigel Warburton introduces and assesses thirty-two philosophical classics from Plato's Republic to Rawls' A Theory of Justice. The fourth edition includes new material on: Montaigne Essays Thomas Paine Rights of Man R.G. Collingwood The Principles of Art Karl Popper The Open Society and Its Enemies Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions With a glossary and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter, this is an ideal starting point for anyone interested in philosophy.
St. Clares Library L25 100 WAR
The Central Questions of Philosophy, by Alfred Jules Ayer
Book
In this introduction to some of the most frequently discussed areas of philosophy, Sir Alfred Ayer made his subject accessible to both the general reader and the student. Among the topics covered are the nature of philosophy, varieties of philosophical analysis, theory of knowledge, status of physical objects, relations between body and mind, character of scientific explanation, theory of probability, elements of logic and the claims of theology. Although it ranges more widely, the book invites comparison with Bertrand Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy".
St. Clares Library L25 100 AYE
The Evolution of Everything : how new ideas emerge, by Matt Ridley
Book
We are taught that the world is a top-down place. Acclaimed author Matt Ridley shows just how wrong this is in his compelling new book. This is more often wrong than right. 'The Evolution of Everything' is about bottom-up order and its enemy, the top-down twitch, the endless fascination human beings have for design rather than evolution, for direction rather than emergence.
St. Clare's Library at shelf location L 23 500 RID
The Republic, by Plato
Book
St. Clares Library L25 184 PLA
Think: a compelling introduction to philosophy, by Simon Blackburn
Book
This is a book about the big questions in life: knowledge, consciousness, fate, God, truth, goodness, justice. It is for anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them. Think sets out to explain what they are and why they are important. Simon Blackburn begins by putting forward a convincing case for the study of philosophy and goes on to give the reader a sense of how the great historical figures such as Descartes, Hume, Kant, and Wittgenstein have approached its central themes. Each chapter explains a major issue, and gives the reader a self-contained guide through the problems that philosophers have studied. The large scope of topics covered range from scepticism, the self, mind and body, and freedom to ethics and the arguments surrounding the existence of God. Lively and approachable, this book is ideal for all those who want to learn how the basic techniques of thinking shape our existence.
St. Clares Library L25 100 BLA
What Does it All Mean?: A very short introduction to philosophy, by Thomas Nagel
Book
In this cogent and accessible introduction to philosophy, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere sets forth the central problems of philosophical inquiry for the beginning student. Arguing that the best way to learn about philosophy is to think about its questions directly, Thomas Nagel considers possible solutions to nine problems-knowledge of the world beyond our minds, knowledge of other minds, the mind-body problem, free will, the basis of morality, right and wrong, the nature of death, the meaning of life, and the meaning of words. Although he states his own opinions clearly, Nagel leaves these fundamental questions open, allowing students to entertain other solutions and encouraging them to think for themselves.
St. Clares Library L25 100 NAG
What Is This Thing Called Science? An assessment of the nature and status of science and its methods, by Alan Chalmers (1999)
Book
St. Clares Library L23 501 CHA
What Philosophy is: an introduction to contemporary philosophy, Anthony O'Hear
Book
What sorts of things really exist in the world or out of it? What can we know about them and what do freedom and consciousness amount to? These are a few of the perennial problems of philosophy that have been examined and debated for thousands of years and are still confronted by philosophers today. This book provides an introduction to contemporary philosophy with discussions of the questions leading up to different concepts of ourselves and the world.
St. Clares Library L25 100 OHE
Philosophy Now
E-Magazine | Podcast | Website
Search for past articles by Tag and read them, download pdf copies of recent issues for a small fee and listen to their podcast - all on topics of philosophy
Click Here >
Summer Schools in Europe
Events
The most complete directory of summer courses in Europe. It includes courses for high school, undergraduate and graduate students, so ensure you read the descriptions to find options right for you.
Click Here >
Research from the University of Bristol
Journal Articles | Website
Explore cutting edge research from the different faculties and departments from the University of Bristol, including free access to their published journal articles.
Click Here >
Coursera
Online Course
Coursera is an online platform for distance learning. They have a range of free courses delivered by universities. Search in this section to find courses of interest to you, often these are courses you can follow at your own pace.
Click Here >
EdX
Online Course
The X Series courses on the EdX platform are free online courses delivered by universities and aimed at helping you explore areas of interest.
Click Here >
FutureLearn
Online Course
FutureLearn is a free online platform where universities from around the globe host FREE online courses you can undertake in your areas of interest. Browse courses by categories or use the search bar to find courses relevant to your interests
Click Here >
An interview on 'Scientific Method' on BBC’s 'In Our Time' with speakers John Worrall, Michela Massimi and Simon Schaffer
Podcast
Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the evolution of the Scientific Method, the systematic and analytical approach to scientific thought. In 1620 the great philosopher and scientist Francis Bacon published the Novum Organum, a work outlining a new system of thought which he believed should inform all enquiry into the laws of nature. Philosophers before him had given their attention to the reasoning that underlies scientific enquiry; but Bacon's emphasis on observation and experience is often seen today as giving rise to a new phenomenon: the scientific method.The scientific method, and the logical processes on which it is based, became a topic of intense debate in the seventeenth century, and thinkers including Isaac Newton, Thomas Huxley and Karl Popper all made important contributions. Some of the greatest discoveries of the modern age were informed by their work, although even today the term 'scientific method' remains difficult to define.With: Simon SchafferProfessor of the History of Science at the University of CambridgeJohn WorrallProfessor of the Philosophy of Science at the London School of Economics and Political ScienceMichela MassimiSenior Lecturer in the Philosophy of Science at University College London.Producer: Thomas Morris.
Click Here >
Thinking Out Loud
Podcast
Thinking Out Loud provides audio-podcasts based on a series of videos produced by Katrien Devolder in which she talks to leading philosophers from around the world on topics related to practical ethics. The podcast and videos are meant for a non-specialist audience. You can watch the videos on the Practical Ethics Channel. Katrien is a Senior Research Fellow at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.
Click Here >
Oxford Martin School: Public Lectures and Seminars
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
Public Lectures and Seminars from the Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford. The Oxford Martin School brings together the best minds from different fields to tackle the most pressing issues of the 21st century.
Click Here >
Oxford Transitional Justice Research Seminars
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
Oxford Transitional Justice Research (OTJR) is an inter-disciplinary network of more than 100 Oxford staff and students working broadly on issues of transition in societies recovering from mass conflict and/or repressive rule. OTJR is dedicated to producing high-quality scholarship that connects intimately to practical and policy questions in transitional justice, focusing on the following themes: Prosecutions, Truth Commissions, Local and traditional practices, Compensation and reparations, Theoretical and philosophical debates in transitional justice, Institutional reform and Archives of tribunal and other transitional justice materials. The OTJR seminar programme is held weekly and reflects these aims.
Click Here >
TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
The University of Oxford is home to an impressive range and depth of research activities in the Humanities. TORCH | The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities is a major new initiative that seeks to build on this heritage and to stimulate and support research that transcends disciplinary and institutional boundaries. Here we feature some of the networks and programmes, as well as recordings of events, and offer insights into the research that they make possible.
Click Here >
University of Southampton Podcast Library
Podcast | Recorded Lecture
A library of the Lifelong Learning Talks and Study Days from the University of Southampton. They cover a wide range of topics but are organised by topic and easy to browse.
Click Here >
'Free Will in a Deterministic Universe?' by Christian List
Recorded Lecture
Science, especially the idea that everything in the universe is physically determined, is often thought to challenge the notion that we, humans, have free will and are capable of choosing our own actions. The aim of this lecture is to argue that there is room for free will in a world governed by the laws of physics.
Click Here >
The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Recorded Lecture | Podcast | Video | Book | Website
The annual public Uehiro Lecture Series captures the ethos of the Uehiro Centre, which is to bring the best scholarship in analytic philosophy to bear on the most significant problems of our time, and to make progress in the analysis and resolution of these issues to the highest academic standard, in a manner that is also accessible to the general public. Philosophy should not only create knowledge, it should make people’s lives better. In keeping with this, the Annual Uehiro Lectures are published as a book series by Oxford University Press
Click Here >
Practical Ethics Channel
Video
The Practical Ethics Video Series makes the most important and complex debates in practical ethics accessible to a wide audience through interviews with leading philosophers on topics that concern us all
Click Here >
ExeTalks
Video | Recorded Lecture
ExeTalks are a chance to discover some of the fascinating research undertaken at the University of Exeter.
Click Here
Philosophy for Schools from the University of Southampton
Video | Recorded Lecture
This growing collection is made up of short videos, each presented by a lecturer from the Philosophy Department at the University of Southampton, and accompanied by study questions to help students work their way through the key ideas discussed.
Click Here >
HE+
Website | Podcast | Blog | Video
The HE+ website has supercurricular resources created and written by Cambridge students and academics including challenging activities, engaging videos, reflective questions and much more.
Click Here >
LIS Learning Hub
Website | Webinar | Recorded Lecture | Blog | Podcast
This is an open source area full of webinars, articles, videos, short reads, mini-lectures, podcasts and more from the London Interdiscipinary school.
Click Here >
Page 1 of 1

Relevant Posts from the Careers Blog

Pre-University Summer School

16th - 26th July 2024 University of Warwick £4250 Are you an enthusiastic 16 or 17 year old who is looking for a pre-university summer...

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

Religion & Science Session

Date: Friday 24th November 2023 Time: 11:10-11:55 GMT Location: Online About the Session Dr David Bather Woods, Associate Professor at...

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

New Philosophy and Politics BA Joint Honours Degree

The University of Warwick are delighted to launch their new Philosophy and Politics BA Joint Honours degree available for the 2024 entry....

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

Philosophy Skills & Insight Lecture

Tuesday 14th November 2023 14:15-15:00 GMT Online Webinar Title: Skills & Insight - The Philosopher's Toolkit - A Thinking Skills...

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

Philosophy Taster Lecture

Wednesday 29th November 2023 15:50-17:15 GMT Online Webinar Title: Are We Morally Obliged to be Poor? Description: This taster...

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

Politics, Philosophy and Economics Taster Lecture

Tuesday 7th November 2023 16:30-17:50 GMT Online Webinar Title: Misinformation, trust and online media - is online conspiracism...

October 10, 2022 at 9:02:14 AM

bottom of page