Philosophy and ethics is the study of fundamental ideas about the world we live in. It questions the nature of our world, asks what would constitute a good life in such a world, and asks what could be done to make it better. Students will be introduced to areas central to philosophy including:
- Metaphysics - the study of what sorts of things exist in the world, and how they are related: for instance, whether there is a mind or soul and if so, how it is related to the body.
- Epistemology - the study of what constitutes knowledge of the world, and of what methods can be used to obtain it.
- Ethics and aesthetics - what is the nature of the good and the beautiful, and how may such value judgements be justified.
- Political philosophy - the principles that underlie the structure of a just society.
- Philosophy of language - the notions of meaning, truth and linguistic understanding.
- Philosophy of mind - the relationship between consciousness and physical reality.
- Logic - the theory of reasoning. Logicians study what makes for a good argument or inference, and try to identify underlying structural features of argumentation.
Philosophy provides skills in reasoning and argument that are applicable in a wide variety of professions, as well as the opportunity to engage in a reflective appraisal of our place in the universe.
Philosophy and ethics is offered in the Bachelor of Social Science at Monash South Africa as a major or minor.
In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major will be able to:
- understand a range of important ideas, in the history of philosophy, in contemporary philosophy, or both
- have highly developed skills in philosophical writing. This encompasses expertise in constructing and evaluating arguments, making creative use of thought experiments, analysing complex ideas, and providing sharp definitions of concepts.