Philosophy is concerned above all with developing a critical attitude towards the ways in which we think and argue.
This requires the ability to think clearly and to express oneself precisely, sometimes about very abstract issues. It also involves an investigation of the most fundamental concepts on which we depend when we talk about ourselves and the world. The results can be unsettling. Philosophers are never afraid to question what we ordinarily take for granted.
Philosophy at Oxford is always studied in combination with at least one other subject. The five Honour Schools or Joint Honour Schools in which Philosophy can be studied at St Hugh’s are:
- Classics (Literae Humaniores);
- Mathematics and Philosophy;
- Philosophy and Modern Languages;
- Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE);
- Psychology, Philosophy, and Linguistics (PPL).
We welcome applications in all of these. St Hugh’s is in the fortunate position of having tutors who cover most options between them. Professor Moore has specialist interests in the history of Philosophy (especially Kant and Wittgenstein), metaphysics, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of language, philosophy of religion, and ethics. You can see him giving a lecture on one of his particular interests, infinity, here. Dr Fait has specialist interests in all aspects of ancient Philosophy (especially Aristotle’s logic and dialectic). Arrangements can also be made for students to have tuition from specialists in other colleges. St Hugh’s has the added attraction of being one of only a handful of colleges that are within five or ten minutes’ walk of the Philosophy Faculty and its library. We also have a vibrant and flourishing student-led philosophy discussion group.
It is not necessary to have studied Philosophy before applying. No combination of A-level subjects or other academic background is especially suitable. We do however expect candidates to have a genuine interest in the subject and to have made an effort to have found out what doing Philosophy will be like, for example by reading some introductory books.