Philosophy major

The study of Philosophy involves thinking about some of the big questions we ask during our lifetime: Does God exist? Do the sciences tell us the truth about the world? How can we say what we mean? Are other people's experiences like our own? What does it mean to be conscious? What are emotions and how are they relevant to our lives? Philosophy teaches you to distinguish between good and bad arguments and make informed recommendations on contentious issues. Studying Philosophy allows you to explore a vast range of influential ideas, from the ancient philosophers, whose works are preserved in manuscripts from India, China and Greece, right down to cutting-edge contemporary work on pressing ethical issues, the nature of mind and artificial intelligence. UWA is the only university in Western Australia that teaches units in formal logic.

Outcomes

Students are able to (1) analyse and evaluate arguments; (2) distinguish between good arguments and bad arguments, irrespective of their subject matter, and thus make informed decisions and recommendations on contentious issues; (3) demonstrate clarity of thought; (4) separate distinct issues, consider them independently and think out the consequences of positions on them; (5) demonstrate the general skills for thinking about problems and tasks, and framing and evaluating solutions; (6) frame, express and convey ideas, their own and other people's, in a clear and convincing way; and (7) appreciate the value of different perspectives on life, society and knowledge.

Broadening guidelines

All students studying towards a Bachelor's Degree at UWA are required to Broaden their studies by completing a minimum of four units (24 points) of study outside their degree specific major. Broadening is your opportunity to explore other areas of interest, investigate new disciplines and knowledge paradigms and to shape your degree to suit your own aspirations and interests. Many of you will be able to undertake more than this minimum amount of broadening study and we encourage you to do so if this suits your aspirations. Over the next few months you will find here some broadening suggestions related to your degree-specific major. While we know that many students value guidance of this sort, these are only suggestions and students should not lose sight of the opportunity to explore that is afforded by your Broadening Choices. Advice can also be sought from your Allocated Student Advising Office.

Philosophy can be taken as a degree-specific major in the following degree courses:

BP001 Bachelor of Arts
BH005 Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

Overview of unit sequence

Philosophy is a degree-specific single major comprising:

  • two Level 1 units
  • three Level 2 units
  • three Level 3 units
Key to availability of units:
S1 = Semester 1; S2 = Semester 2; SS = summer teaching period; N/A = not available in 2021

Note: Units that are indicated as N/A may be available in 2022 or 2023.

Level 1

Degree-specific major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 12 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHIL1001 Ethics for the Digital Age: An Introduction to Moral Philosophy
Incompatibility:
PHIL1107 Ethics, Free Will and Meaning
S1, SS PHIL1002 Introduction to Critical Thinking
Incompatibility:
PHIL1105 Introduction to Critical Thinking
S2 PHIL1003 God, Mind and Knowledge
Incompatibility:
PHIL1125 God, Mind and Knowledge

Level 2

Degree-specific major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 18 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHIL2001 Bioethics
Prerequisites:
any level 1 unit in the Bachelor of Arts,
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
PHIL2201 Social Ethics: Life and Death
SS PHIL2002 Logic: How to Defeat Your Foes with Reasoning
Prerequisites:
24 points of Level 1 units
Incompatibility:
PHIL2205 Introduction to Logic
N/A PHIL2003 Philosophy of Religion
Prerequisites:
any Level 1 Philosophy unit
Incompatibility:
PHIL2211 Philosophy of Religion
S2 PHIL2004 Philosophy of Mind
Prerequisites:
any Level 1 Philosophy unit
or
PSYC1101 Psychology: Mind and Brain
Incompatibility:
PHIL2265 Philosophy of Mind
S1 PHIL2005 Exploring the Nature of Science
Prerequisites:
24 points of Level 1 units
Incompatibility:
PHIL2270 Philosophy of Science
N/A PHIL2006 Philosophy of Psychology and Psychiatry
Prerequisites:
any Level 1 Philosophy unit
Incompatibility:
PHIL2290 Problems in Philosophical Psychology
S2 PHIL2007 Knowledge and the Justification of Belief
Prerequisites:
any Level 1 unit
S2 PHIL2008 Machine Minds and Superintelligence: The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence
Prerequisites:
Any Level 1 unit
N/A PHIL2009 Global and Environmental Justice
N/A PPHE2001 Integrating Philosophy, Politics, and Economics: The Philosophy of Economics and Political Science
Prerequisites:
Any level 1 PHIL unit,
or
any level 1 POLS unit,
or
any level 1 ECON unit.
S1 PPHE2211 History of Political Ideas
Prerequisites:
completion of any POLS
or
PHIL unit
or
24 points in the Bachelor of Arts
Incompatibility:
POLS3311 History of Political Ideas; POLS2211 History of Political Ideas

Level 3

Degree-specific major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 18 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S2 PHIL3001 Metaphysics: a User's Guide to Time Travel
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211
N/A PHIL3002 Aesthetics
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211
Incompatibility:
PHIL2208 Aesthetics; PHIL2207 Philosophy, Literature and Film
S2 PHIL3003 Moral Theory
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211
or
PPHE3327
Incompatibility:
PHIL 2209 Moral Theory
N/A PHIL3004 Meaning, Truth and Language
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211
Incompatibility:
PHIL2212 Meaning, Truth and Language
N/A PHIL3005 Continental Philosophy: The Origin and Influence of Phenomenology
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211
Incompatibility:
PHIL2225 Continental Philosophy
S1 PHIL3006 Philosophy East and West
Prerequisites:
any Philosophy unit
or
PPHE2211.
Incompatibility:
PHIL2231 Philosophy East and West
S1 PHIL3007 Advanced Logic
Prerequisites:
Any level 2 PHIL unit
or
any level 2 MATH unit
or
any level 2 STAT unit
or
any level 2 CITS unit
or
PPHE2211
S1 PHIL3008 What to Do? How to Make Rational Decisions under Uncertainty
Prerequisites:
completion of 12 points
S1 PPHE3327 Contemporary Political Theory
Prerequisites:
any Level 2 POLS
or
PHIL unit
or
PPHE2211 History of Political Ideas
Incompatibility:
POLS2227 Contemporary Political Theory; POLS3327 Contemporary Political Theory

Choosing your degree-specific major

Specialised degrees – Bachelor of Advanced Computer Science (Honours), Bachelor of Automation and Robotics, Bachelor of Environmental Design, Bachelor of Music

You must satisfy the requirements of the degree-specific major in your degree before you complete your course.

Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This comprehensive degree does not require you to choose a degree-specific major.

General degrees

You must satisfy the requirements of a degree-specific major before you complete your course. The flexible structure of an undergraduate course allows you to try out a number of different subjects to see what interests you before nominating your degree-specific major. You have the choice to either nominate your degree-specific major when you first enrol in the course or delay nominating it until your second year.

To plan the first year of your study without nominating a degree-specific major, you are advised to choose units that will pave the way to two or more degree-specific majors that are of interest to you. For examples of the choice of units available in first year, search the first-year study plans .

To fully understand the structure of an undergraduate course, read the course structure information and the Undergraduate Degree Course Rules.

The following example illustrates how the Philosophy degree-specific major can be included in the Bachelor of Arts course.

Example: Course Study Plan: CSP001-PHILY

There are more choices open to you. For more examples, search the study plans .

Choosing a second major

You also have the option to choose a second major from those available in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design Only available to re-enrolling students. and Bachelor of Science courses, giving you the opportunity to pursue your interests no matter how different they are.

The following example illustrates how the Philosophy degree-specific major can be combined with a second major in the Bachelor of Arts course.

Example: Course Study Plan: CSP001-PHILY-Generic

For more examples of combinations of majors, search the study plans .