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is it philosophical to be ambivalent

Hi, I’m going into Life Sci this fall and I was wondering if Philosophy will be a heavy elective to take in my first year?



oh god, i hope i’m not too late with this one, since first year course selection is TODAY!!!

scared wreck-it ralph GIF by Walt Disney Studios

i’m really bad at answering these kinds of questions, ‘cuz i think that how “heavy” a course is is totally subjective. like, i’m reeeeeeealllllllly bad at math, so even a “bird” math course would feel like a huge feat to me.

in my very humble opinion, the most important part of deciding whether or not a course is a good elective is whether or not you’re interested. personal anecdote: when i was a wee first year, i took a science course as an elective that i wasn’t all that interested in (i just wanted to fill up my timetable and i thought fulfilling my breadth requirements would be a good idea). unfortunately, because i had no interest whatsoever in the subject material, i ended up doing really badly in the course. womp womp.

so, i can’t really say whether or not philosophy would be too “heavy,” that is really a judgement call that only you can make. think hard, potential future philosopher.

interesting batman GIF

good luck!




an insistant inquiry

Hi aska,

I thoroughly messed up my first year with a GPA of 2.0 (if Rosi decides to round off my average to its next integer that is, my percentage average is a 62.7) some serious labouring is in order and I’m willing to work my rear off to get myself out of this Black hole I’ve managed to put myself in, thanks to chronic procrastination. I’m pursuing the philosophy specialist and eventually hope to get into law school (of course that dream took a bullet after seeing my results). I guess I would be able to salvage my final GPA if I get straight 4.0’s in the next three years.

However, I’ve heard that Philosophy is hard to score in, and also one of my friends who is in her 4th year told me about how she had dropped her own Philosophy course after it was dragging her GPA down. I took Phl100 and thought it was not so bad in terms of the level of difficulty, even with my chronic procrastination. In terms of the essays in that course, I would end up doing it the night before, usually with help from the lecture notes since I hadn’t read the text itself, and would usually end up with a B- to a C-.

So, considering I’m pursuing a Philosophy specialist, realistically, how much can I score? Has anyone at UofT actually graduated with a 4.0 in a Philosophy specialist?Should I start considering alternative career paths? I haven’t just killed off chances at a good final GPA and law school with my damned 2.0, have I?!


-Guilt-ridden and Hopeless, now wishing she’d attended all those lectures.


Hi aska!

I’d actually sent out a similar question earlier, but I’m not sure if it got lost in your inbox which I’m sure is full of other questions from similarly desperate students…

anyway, how good of an idea do you think it is to pursue the philosophy specialist if I’m aiming for a really good GPA at the end of university? I’ve heard that Phl usually drags your gpa down. Do you know how other students who have taken the Phil specialist have fared in general? Is a 4.0 cgpa in phl possible at UofT? I tried googling this as much as possible, but to no avail, so I came here in hopes that you would have the answer! 🙂




Impatient Inquirer,

Yes, I got your other email. Your two emails were a grand one day apart. Sometimes most of the time aska gets an influx of emails and takes a day or more to answer. It’s almost like aska takes time to eat and sleep and stuff! 😉


  • How well you do in philosophy comes with a number of factors: how much you actually work, attending lectures, doing readings, actually caring. That’s all on you, but you seem to have some sort of aptitude for it so give it a try if you’d like.
  • A full on 4.0 in any humanities program is difficult since they’re largely essay-based, meaning your prof or TA will require a loooot of wowing for you to score that high.
  • Has anyone ever gotten a full on 4.0? Not sure. Probably.
  • You haven’t killed your law school dream. For the most part, almost all post-grad programs really just look at your last two years of university, although they do consider your CGPA as a whole. Likewise law school apps come with a lot of other components like your LSAT scores, recommendation letters, yada yada yada.




what’s my major again?

Hey aska,
Am I missing something?? If I’m majoring in criminology and philosophy (second year), and then become a specialist in criminology (which apparently can only happen in third year?), what happens to my philosophy major? Am I wasting my time taking all these philosophy courses this year? Please let me know if theres some huge obvious solution that I’m totally missing. Thanks!


Hi there!

Basically what happens in a nutshell is that your specialist will cancel your other degrees out. To graduate you need a specialist, two majors, or a major and two minors. So if you apply for (and complete) your specialist in Criminology, your philosophy major, even if completed won’t count as the degree you finish with. By all means, complete your major (that’s seven full courses in philosophy), but you will graduate with a criminology specialist.

You dig?

xoxo, Askastudent


the GPA is just a number

I just found an open space on the PHL217 class and I registered for it, what do you think about the general workload for this course (the amount of reading is what I need to know, I know that Continental philosophy is not easy to understand) and not having taken the PHL100 or any PHL course before (I’ve read books by Nietzsche, Sartre, Freud, Marx and others before), should I keep the course or not? I also have the option of taking a FAH course, I’m studying ARC so art history is a much easier subject for me. I do enjoy reading about continental philosophy in particular, but I’m also intending to keep my GPA at around 3.7-4. So is low to mid 80’s achievable in PHL217 with a descent effort?

Thanks in advance,


Have you read the anti-calendar? I know it’s an underground publication and all, but reading it won’t make you a bad student, you know. Professor Comay is teaching this year’s class and taught last year’s class as well. Here’s what the last year’s students have to say about her and the course.

Comay was described as a beautiful speaker with a high level vocabulary, which at times, could overwhelm students. The course was hard at times since typically continental Philosophy is difficult to understand. Although, tutorials were well designed to help understand the concepts and arguments in the readings.

The workload of the course was rated a 4.2 (which is pretty average). The difficulty of this course was listed as 5.0 (out of 7.0), which is higher than that most of the other courses I’ve skimmed across – they usually average around 4.5 or so. The retake percentage was 75% though, which means a lot of people did enjoy the course.

I emailed the philosophy students’ union, and they’ve told me that the toughest thing you’ll face is probably learning how to write a good, proper philosophy paper. They also said that 200-level philosophy courses usually have readings ranging from 20-40 pages a week. However, as with most philosophy texts, the readings can be difficult to understand.

I really think you should go on with the course though. Don’t be too bummed out if your first few essays don?t score too high. After all, University is about trying new things! I think that?s more important than maintaining a 3.7-4.0 GPA, but that?s just my opinion. Having read books on it before, you seem to have a genuine interest in philosophy, and I think sometimes spontaneously trying out new electives can make your semester just that much more exciting. If you’re maintaining a 3.7-4.0 GPA, you’re probably a good student anyway and have a good chance at excelling in your philosophy course. Besides, if your mark really turns out to be unbearably low, you can always just drop the course before March 7th and there will be no academic penalty.


does God exist? a. yes c. all of the above d. none of the above

I was looking into taking PHL235, intro to religions. I tried to get the syllabus online but no luck. Do you know anything about this course? I heard that the evaluations are all short answer/multiple choice, but no essays.Is that true?



Gloria and Eteri, this one is for you.

?Hey Mr. or Mrs. Askabout…you cyber person you,

Anyways…so Kingwell hinted that there were past exams to get our hands on and they would be extremely beneficial…if we could find them…that bugger! If you know Kingwell, which I’m sure you do, or have heard about him, it’s not going to be easy to find his past tests. I checked out the libraries stash, and there are past exams for Philosophy 100, however I’m not sure if they are his for sure as there is no instructor name (and I don’t think he would make it that easy). I tried looking through your archive, but my god…its endless. Anyways, yah if you have any insider info’ you would be willing to share, that would be bomb!

Thanx :).

? (more…)



Hey Aska… this is going to sound like a stupid question (and maybe it really
is a stupid question) but I’ve looked through the course calendar and on the
philosophy department website and I can’t find an answer so here goes… I want
to take a class about existentialism. Preferably an intro course or at least one
with little or no pre-reqs… surely such a course exists… right…? (more…)

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