Department of Philosophy

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Dr. W.F.M. Stewart, Professor of Philosophy and Head of Department 1959-63. UA PC; Series UA PC 1. Item no. 77

Previously named: English Language and Literature and Mental and Moral Philosophy; Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political Economy; Philosophy and Politics

Established: 1947

History: The study of Philosophy at UNB can be traced back to its earliest form in the study of the classical writings of Plato and Cicero that were part of the university's first curriculum. A more modern study of Philosophy began in the 1866-67 academic year under the Department of Modern Languages and Literature. In that year, the senior course of study and instruction included, under its English Literature section, the study of Stewart's Outlines of Moral Philosophy. In the following year, the new heading of 'English Language and Literature and Mental and Moral Philosophy' was added to the Academical Faculty page in the university calendar putting Moral Philosophy in the heading of a department for the first time, and classes on both Moral and Ethical Philosophy became mandatory in the senior year of a B.A. In 1886, Mental and Moral Philosophy was disengaged from English and paired with Political Economy forming the heading of 'Mental and Moral Philosophy and Political Economy', and a Philosophy course was mandatory in two of the four years of a B.A. while being available for further study by honours students. This remained the same until 1904 when the department's name was changed to 'Philosophy and Economics' and philosophy still continued to be offered as a mandatory class in only two of the four years of a B.A.

In the 1931-32 academic year, Philosophy was disengaged from economics and moved to join education, forming the 'Department of Philosophy and Education'. By this time, Philosophy was no longer a mandatory course, but continued to be offered as an elective class, in second, third, and fourth years, while still being offered to honours students for further study in third and fourth years. This remained the same until 1946 when Philosophy was shuffled to become the department of 'Philosophy and Politics'. The new department only lasted one academic year, and in the following September, Philosophy became an independent chair for the first time. With the establishment of the department, there were seven philosophy electives at UNB. Over a decade later in 1960, the offering had only grown by one course. This doubled over the course of the seventies due to the addition of more faculty to the department, growing to sixteen courses by 1970. The department grew again in the 70s growing to twenty-four courses by 1980 and grew again by 1990 reaching thirty-nine. By 2013 there were forty-seven Philosophy courses offered at UNB.

Physical location: Carleton Hall

Faculty: Arts

Notes: From 1886 to 1946, the study of Psychology took place at UNB under the heading of Philosophy.

The year that a certain department was established can be a subjective figure. For the purpose of this wiki, the year that a department is considered first established is the first year it was listed in the academic calendar as an independent chair with no other affiliationk, unless there is documentation to demonstrate otherwise.


  • UA Case 113
  • UNB Calendars (UA RG 86), 1863, 1867, 1886, 1904, 1932, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2013.

TonyGoss - 19 February 2013 (ADT)
© UNB Archives & Special Collections, 2014