New Students

The Bishop’s philosophy department is a close community that has a great deal to offer new students. Small class sizes mean that your teachers get to know you personally. You’ll take a variety of courses and study a broad spectrum of the great thinkers while being encouraged to pursue academic interests outside the department. It is common for Bishop’s students to take a minor or second major in a different field, ranging from fine arts to business, filling our philosophy classes with lots of new perspectives. You’ll also have the chance to attend conferences, both at Bishop’s and in class trips to Ontario or the Maritimes, to hear papers or even give one yourself.

At Bishop’s you are encouraged to pursue your own passions, and the philosophy department is no exception. If there’s a book or topic you’re crazy about but no course is offered, you can write an independent study with a supervisor. Students have written and directed plays adapted from philosophical texts. Next March we will be hosting the second annual Bishop’s-Mount Allison undergraduate philosophy conference where upper-year students from both universities will present.

I came to Bishop’s four years ago to study philosophy and biochemistry. These different fields were impossible to combine at a larger school, but the philosophy department accommodated all of the demands of my science degree. I found Bishop’s to be the ideal setting for philosophical inquiry. My teachers took an interest in my studies and gave me opportunities to take on independent study projects and attend philosophy conferences at other universities. There’s no question that our small classes enhanced my studies: our lively discussions would even continue all night at the Lion. I presented my thesis on evolutionary theory and will pursue graduate studies in philosophy of science next year at the University of Toronto. I would recommend Bishop’s for anyone looking for an outstanding undergraduate philosophy experience.Eleanor Louson - Graduate, class of 2008

Social Life

In the past years, the department held potluck dinners every few weeks before the presentations by our guest speakers, made a big appearance at the BUHF Brew with the Humanities Crew at the Lion, and closed things off with a great end-of-year BBQ, attended by our favourite teachers. We also brought back Thursday nights at the Lion, a tradition from a few years ago, as well as the long-running wings night Wednesdays with folks from many other departments. There’s no shortage of ways to have fun with your fellow students and teachers.

Here are just some of the events organized in the philosophy department every year:

  • Students and teachers get together at regular pub nights
  • At least two dinners per semester where students can enjoy a good meal and thoughtful company
  • Support groups that encourage each other’s writing on major projects
  • An ongoing community reading group informally studying of Plato
  • Wine and cheese receptions
  • Special guest speakers on a variety of topics

In addition, philosophy at Bishop’s is one of the faculties belonging to BUHF (Bishop’s University Humanities Federation), a council which organizes trips and events for the community of humanities students. You’re part of a vibrant social network that perfectly complements philosophical reflection.

Guest Speakers

Bishop’s is part of a wider network of scholarship. Throughout the year the philosophy department hosts many guest speakers, students and professors from other schools (some who are graduates of Bishop’s) who present their work.


Bishop’s philosophy students are well-travelled. Here are some of the recent conferences we have hosted and attended, as class trips or smaller groups:

  • Hegel and Emotion, Bishop’s University, Lennoxville; 2004
  • Plato’s Republic, Guelph University, Guelph; September 2005
  • Hegel’s Logic, McGill University, Montreal; April 2006
  • Aristotle’s De Anima, Bishop’s University, Lennoxville; September 2006
  • Hegel and Politics, York University, Toronto; March 2007

While hosting the Aristotle conference, we met visiting students from Mount Allison University. The following spring, six Bishop’s students travelled to Sackville, New Brunswick to present original work in an undergraduate peer conference. Bishop’s hosted this now-annual event in March 2007.

Bishop’s-Mount Allison Undergraduate Conference

Over the weekend from Feb. 29th to March 3rd philosophy students at Bishop’s hosted the second annual Bishop’s – Mount Allison Undergraduate Philosophy Conference.  Six visiting students from the philosophy department of Mount Allison visited Lennoxville and presented papers along with six from Bishop’s.  Dr. Jamie Crooks kicked things off with a fantastic keynote, and we all got to know each other at a Saturday night banquet and closing potluck dinner on Sunday.  We have prepared a binder containing the presented papers to be kept in the “philosophy library” in the Preston room for student use.  The idea hatched last fall at our philosophy department’s Aristotle conference is turning into a long-term collaboration between philosophy students at Bishop’s and Mount Allison; plans are already underway for next year’s conference at Mount Allison, which should be followed by a repeat of this year’s weekend at Bishop’s in 2010.

The papers were as follows:

2 is Not Red or 2 is Non-Red: A comparative analysis of strengths and weaknesses of Algebraic Term Logic and Mathematical Propositional Logic – Vince Light

Altruism, Egoism, and Equality in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics – Sophie Woodrooffe

Causes of Celebration: An Examination of Aquinas’ Five Proofs for the Existence of God – Jake Belford

Who cares? Disinterestedness in Kantian Ethics – Michel-Antoine Xhignesse
Veiled Assumptions: The Rational Project of Rousseau and Kant – Thomas Posie
From Kant to Ross: The Amelioration of Deontological Ethics – Katie Saulnier
How To Avoid Speaking of Ontotheology – Michael Austin
Neighboring Solitudes: An Interpretation of Love in Heidegger’s Being and Time – Joseph Frigault

Revolution and the flickering screen: Aura and cinema in Benjamin’s “The Artwork in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” – Nikita Gourski

I am a machine? – Kelley Consolvo

From Stoicism to Psychology: Combating Reductionist Theories of Animal Emotion in Nussbaum’s Upheavals of Thought –Barbara Kott

A Mess of Pottage: The Rejection of Evolution as Symptom, Not Cause – Eleanor Louson