- Can anyone prove that God exists? Does it matter if they can't?
- Do animals have rights? If they don't can we treat them however we like?
- Are some art-works objectively better than others? If so, how do we find out which ones are best?
- Do human beings have free will? If we don't, can we ever be blamed or praised for our actions?
- Why should anyone obey the law? Do others have a right to punish those that do not?
- What is the relation between the mind and the body? Could your mind exist without your body?
These are some of the kinds of questions that we look at in philosophy. Here at Lancaster we approach these questions not only through the history of philosophy - figures such as Plato, Descartes and Nietzsche - but also in terms of contemporary philosophical discussion of a wide range of important and relevant topics.
There are ten philosophers in the department with a wide range of expertise. The Department offers a wide range of undergraduate programmes in philosophy, including single honours Philosophy, various joint honours programmes (such as Philosophy and Religious Studies), and combined (or “triple major”) options.
Our Philosophy degree programmes are very flexible. You can study Philosophy with other subjects, either as part of a joint honours degree programme (half philosophy, half another subject), or with a “minor” subject for up to a quarter of your degree. After the first year, for most of our programmes, it is up to you which modules you choose, from a range of options. There is also the flexibility to change your degree programme at the end of the first year: Lancaster gives you the very useful option to try out subjects at University level before you finalise your decision about which degree you want to graduate with.
All of our degree programmes aim to introduce students to key philosophical problems, but studying philosophy at Lancaster is not simply a matter of learning about philosophy. We encourage you to develop your own critical perspective on philosophical problems and questions, and to develop a range of methods for analysing, critically engaging with, and discussing such problems.
In doing so we aim to enable students to develop transferable skills in argumentation and in the critical analysis of problems. This helps prepare students for both employment and further study and training after graduation. According to UNISTATS a higher percentage of philosophy students are in employment (six months after graduating) than those from Cambridge and Durham. Lancaster has the same proportion in employment as, for example, UCL, Warwick, York, Sheffield, and Essex, but a higher proportion in professional or managerial jobs.