What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions that underpin our entire world. Philosophy explores human thought, the basis of knowledge, the nature of reason, consciousness and cognition, as well as the foundations of value and political theory. Philosophers reflect on the nature of reason and knowledge, language, consciousness and mind, moral responsibility, value, politics, and art, among many other things.
Specific areas of philosophical study include metaphysics (reflection on the nature of reality and what exists), epistemology (the study of knowledge), ethics (reflection on what is good or right to do), and logic (reflection on the nature and structure of reasoning and argumentation). Since philosophical questions arise in many other fields and in relation to many other phenomena, there are also many sub-disciplines, such as the philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, political philosophy, philosophy of law, and philosophy of art. Philosophy may also be studied by historical period, such as ancient, medieval, early modern, and modern.
What can I do with a Philosophy degree?
A Philosophy degree is not an essential qualification for any particular career, but the analytical and critical skills developed through its study (such as rigour, precision, and creativity) prepare graduates for a variety of professions including business, computing, journalism, administration, and law. Quite a few graduates go on to further study, with others starting careers in publishing, teaching, banking and investment, arts and recreation, IT, and public services.
What might I need to study Philosophy?
No specific A-levels are usually required. Useful preparation would include at least one essay-based subject, an arts/science mix, and Mathematics.
Philosophy at Cambridge
Undergraduate students and staff talk about studying Philosophy at the University of Cambridge.
Philosophy at Cambridge
Find out more about studying Philosophy at Cambridge.
Philosophy on UCAS
Discover philosophy courses at other universities.
Philosophy In Our Time
Listen to the episodes of the BBC Radio 4 show as they discuss the lives and theories of philosophers.
Listen to bite-sized Philosophy podcasts.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
An encyclopaedia of philosophy articles containing up-to-date references.