Compared to the others of the University curriculum, in particular to modern history, the area of philosophy changed little in the period 1911-1949. However, the scoping of the school changed dramatically, and the change in the curriculum design of the same lessons is what changed significantly over the years. When the University began the ‘school’ was called, “Logic and Psychology.” In the second year of teaching, it became “Mental and Moral Philosophy”, a very specific focus in traditional philosophy, and, when philosophy honours’ program was design for the third year of teaching, it had that name. It soon became honours in philosophy simpler, but the focus on “Mental and Moral Philosophy” did not cease until 1945.
In that time the philosophy area took on ‘economics’ (1913-1917) until it was given over to the ‘History’ area (school); as well as ‘education’ (1913-1945), until ‘education’ became its own area (school). ‘Psychology’ remained part of the philosophy school for the first half of the century, and reflected the ‘practice’ obsession in the University. From 1948 the honours’ course had a required core course in ‘Applied Philosophy’, a rather narrowing course, philosophically, with attention on careers in commerce, vocational education, and psychotherapies. It was most likely not heart-breaking in the late 1940s as it appears today.
These careers would have appeared glamorous to the immediate post-war generation. On the upside, careers in child welfare (‘child psychology’) was also included, and anticipated the generation known as ‘baby-boomers’. The name speaks to the pop culture of “positive thinking”. Nevertheless, there were more meaningful pathways philosophically. The ‘philosophy’ curriculum from 1942-1944 repackaged the subject areas as (alternate year for each lecture course):
- Ethics and Metaphysics
- Ethics and Social Philosophy
- The History of Philosophy
- The History of Ethical Thought
- Historical and Critical Metaphysics
These courses, along with advanced special studies, prevented philosophy succumbing completely to the business world’s materialism and commercialism. The teaching in the areas of ‘economics’ (1913-1917) and ‘education’ (1913-1945) also reflected an educative agenda in broader and deeper philosophical concerns. The introduction of ‘Historical and Critical Metaphysics’ was particularly hopeful for the curriculum, and represented a breaking of the hold from the long nineteenth century thinking, towards modern ‘critical’ paradigms.
Image: Elton Mayo, first Professor of Philosophy
Latest posts by Neville Buch (see all)
- The Semantics of Work: Reference and Meaning - November 20, 2023
- How to provide the Educative Message? - November 7, 2023
- Artificial General Intelligence replicates human intelligence in a machine? A CLEAR NO! - November 7, 2023