Philosophy has been taught at the University of Toronto, and its predecessor King's College, since 1843. While much has changed in that time, the university's Department of Philosophy remains one of Canada's preeminent institutions for philosophical instruction. InMinerva's Aviary, John G. Slater documents the history of Toronto's Philosophy Department from its founding to contemporary times.
In the early years, the teaching of philosophy at the university was an appendage to courses in religion. As time passed however, the discipline grew into the independent, largely secular subject it is today. The story of how this happened is told in terms of the people who taught in the department. Slater also recounts the histories and sometimes difficult integration of the philosophy departments that came with the smaller institutions that federated with the university around the turn of the twentieth century: Victoria University, St. Michael's College, and Trinity College.
Comprehensive and lovingly written,Minerva's Aviaryis the result of decades of research by one of the department's most esteemed recent scholars. Slater's intense investigations have uncovered a complex and evolving past that shatters some established myths but also roughly mirrors what was happening in universities throughout the English-speaking world. It thus adds greatly to our understanding of the intellectual history of the last two centuries.
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