Studying Philosophy at Merton
Philosophy can only be studied at undergraduate level at Oxford University in conjunction with other subjects, initially (with the exception of PPE) on an equal basis, although in many cases in the second and third year (and the fourth year, where available) with greater weight in philosophy, if desired. The four-year courses are particularly flexible, and all of them are taught at Merton. Some of the three-year courses are not, notably Philosophy & Theology and Philosophy, Psychology & Linguistics.
The college has particular expertise in philosophy of physics, philosophy of science; metaphysics and epistemology; ethics; political philosophy; history of early modern philosophy; and Kant.
Philosophy, Politics and Economics is a three-year degree course, leading to a BA degree. In the first year, the philosophy component consists of introductory logic, moral philosophy as well as general philosophy. In years two and three, candidates can study up to five subjects in philosophy (out of eight in total) or can drop philosophy altogether. The only compulsory subject in years two and three for those continuing philosophy is ethics.
Mathematics and Philosophy is a four-year degree course, leading to a Masters degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. A separate BA qualification is obtained at the end of the third year (and candidates can choose to leave the course at this point). The fourth year can be given over entirely to philosophy or entirely to mathematics, or continue with a mixture of both. The only required subjects in philosophy are Elements of Logic, General Philosophy, and Frege’s Foundations of Arithmetic, all studied in the first year. In years two and three, candidates study either three or four subjects in philosophy (out of the equivalent of eight in total). The only compulsory subject in years two and three is Foundations, which includes logic and set theory.
Philosophy and Modern Languages is a four-year degree course, that includes a year abroad (in the third year), leading to a BA degree. In the first year, the philosophy component consists of introductory logic, moral philosophy as well as general philosophy. In years two and four, candidates study between three and five philosophy options (out of nine in total).
Physics and Philosophy is a four-year degree course, leading to a Masters degree in Physics and Philosophy. Candidates may if they wish leave at the end of the third year, receiving a BA qualification instead. The fourth year can be given over entirely to philosophy or entirely to physics, or continue with a mixture of both. Required philosophy subjects in the first year are Elements of Deductive Logic, General Philosophy, and the Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, which is an introduction to the philosophy of space and time. In years two and three, Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Physics are required philosophy subjects, the latter concentrating on the philosophy of special relativity and quantum mechanics; candidates may study either one or two additional subjects in philosophy (out of the equivalent of eight in total). In the fourth year an optional subject is Advanced Philosophy of Physics, focusing on contemporary debates.
- Dr Nick Tasker, Stipendiary Lecturer in Philosophy
Designed and populated by Merton's Professor Simon Saunders, the Philosophy of Cosmology website supports a partnership between researchers at Oxford, Cambridge and a cluster of US universities who are seeking to establish philosophy of cosmology as a new branch of the philosophy of physics.