About Philosophy at Glasgow

‌Since the University's foundation in 1451, such figures as Francis Hutcheson, Adam Smith and Thomas Reid have put Glasgow's name indelibly on the philosophical map. Research and teaching in the present Subject area extends across the entire range of philosophy, including Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Mind, Moral and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Logic, Philosophy of Mathematics,  Aesthetics, and the History of Philosophy.

Our subject area is thriving. We currently have almost 1,000 undergraduate students, of whom over 180 are honours students. We have a lively graduate community of 25-30 postgraduates.

Prospective undergraduates should consult the Philosophy Undergraduate Degree Programme and read the Philosophy Undergraduate Study Overview, which also includes information about how to apply.  

Prospective postgraduates should consult the Postgraduate Studysection of this website for information about our postgraduate degrees and their structure, our community, employability, and how to apply.

What is philosophy, anyway?

Many of the questions studied in Philosophy are ones that occur naturally to us, such as: Are morals simply matters of personal opinion? Do we have free will? What kinds of things can we know for certain? Why should I obey the law? Is there any rational basis for a belief in God? Is the mind just a machine (or: can machines think)? Is truth relative? Under what conditions, if any, is it right to take a human life? What is meaning? What is knowledge? Is there some way other than science of knowing reality?

As you can see, philosophical questions are very general, and cut across the other domains of human knowledge. The philosophical way of answering these questions is for the most part the use of reason, as opposed to observation or experiment as in natural science, and as opposed to revelation or direct insight as in religion. Furthermore, Philosophy is uniquely general: it seeks to understand how all the other domains of human knowledge and culture fit together, and how, in the most general terms, they connect to reality.