Contact Information

Theoretical philosophy is part of the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies.

P.O. Box 24
(Unioninkatu 40 A)
00014 University of Helsinki

Welcome to theoretical philosophy!

Theoretical philosophy comes under the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Research. The staff working in the discipline are mainly housed in the Metsätalo building at Unioninkatu 40 A, 6th Floor. 

Philosophy is the mother of all sciences and most of the special sciences have previously come within its sphere. Today, philosophy is an independent discipline that examines, on the one hand, the fundamental nature of reality and the justification and limits of knowledge relating to it, and, on the other hand, the problems of moral good, right action and social philosophy.
However, the links to other sciences have endured: the tasks of philosophy are to examine the general features of scientific thought and to critically assess the bases and methods of the special sciences. Therefore, the study of philosophy can be undertaken in a fruitful way in conjunction with studies of other subjects.

The following subjects are included in the field of theoretical philosophy: logic, epistemology, metaphysics and ontology, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of science, and the history of philosophy. Logic examines the rules of sound reasoning, formal language and philosophical applications of logical concept analysis. Epistemology examines the possibility and limits, the bases and certainty of knowledge. Ontology and metaphysics examine the fundamental nature of reality. The philosophy of language examines in particular the interrelationship between language and reality and the nature of linguistic meaning and the use of language; and the philosophy of mind the nature of thought and other cognitive actions and their relationship to the brain and reality. The philosophy of science is divided into the general philosophy of science, which examines the goals and method of science as well as the nature of scientific research, and philosophies of the special sciences concerning concept and theory formation in the special sciences. The philosophy of history examines the development of the main disciplines of philosophy from antiquity to the modern age.

Studies in theoretical philosophy provide an introduction to human reasoning and the knowledge relating to it, and its different fields support each other. The studies give students systematic knowledge of philosophy as a discipline and training in philosophical analysis and argumentation. Students are also introduced to the basic concepts in systematic philosophy and important concepts and trends of ideas in the fields of philosophy as well as their history. The studies provide skills for tasks requiring an ability to consider broad subject areas, bring out alternative ways of thinking and acting, and solve problems. Philosophical reasoning can be applied to many areas of human culture and activity, for example as a teacher and researcher and in various expert positions.

Other philosophy subjects at the University of Helsinki include philosophy taught in Swedish and practical philosophy, which comes under the Faculty of Social Sciences.