Why Study Philosophy at Maynooth
A bit of history. The Department of Philosophy is the oldest department in the university, dating back to June 1795. The first two professors, André Darré and François Anglade, had previously taught in Toulouse and at the Sorbonne, respectively. As Catholic priests, they came to Ireland as refugees from the French Revolution. They brought with them to Maynooth the philosophical traditions of pre-revolutionary France, namely, classical and scholastic philosophy together with an engagement with contemporary European thought. These are traditions which we cherish to the present day and which are reflected in our teaching and in the research carried out in the department.
The Department of Philosophy at Maynooth offers its undergraduate students the opportunity to study the Western tradition of philosophy in a lively way that emphasizes the relevance of philosophy to everyday life. Like every other subject, philosophy can get technical, but we never forget the roots of philosophy in the basic questions that people ask about their lives. The coverage of philosophy at Maynooth is broad. We are one of the few European departments today where the rich and influential tradition of medieval philosophy is studied. But we do not forget the origins of Western philosophy in ancient Greece or its post-medieval developments in the Renaissance, modernity, and beyond. In fact, we are particularly strong in phenomenology, which is one of the most important currents of contemporary thought. Thus, the undergraduate student will receive a well-rounded philosophical education at Maynooth, in a department that is sufficiently large to cover many of the main areas of philosophy without being so big that one gets lost.
What does one do with philosophy? Does it get one a job? Philosophy is not a qualification for a particular career; rather, it is a valuable component of general education. Nevertheless, our students often find that the habits which they have picked up as philosophers—habits such as clear expression, independent thinking, and deep questioning—serve them well in the job market. Employers in many different fields value philosophy graduates for their quick intelligence, their ability to reason clearly and independently, and for their ability to take an overview on the problem or situation confronting them.
Also, as a philosophy undergraduate you have the option of studying philosophy in direct dialogue with some subjects of great contemporary relevance. Thus, the new B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and, Economics is designed particularly for those who wish to study social, moral, political, and economic issues in society today, with the benefit of learning the philosophical theories underpinning and explaining those issues. The B.Sc. in Computational Thinking links Computer Science, Mathematics, and Philosophy. This course was in fact created in response to an appeal by IT corporations like Intel, which called for the addition of philosophy modules to computer science courses so that students might improve their communication, critical, and analytical skills.
Postgraduate students will find in the Philosophy Department at Maynooth a range of research strengths. The six members of our staff are well-established in areas such as medieval philosophy, Renaissance philosophy, phenomenology, postmodern thought, and philosophy of religion. (For further information, click on the Research tab.) The Maynooth Philosophy Department is large enough to offer a broad choice of dissertation topics and qualified supervisors, yet small enough to make sure one does not feel lost.