Jamee Elder

'My area of study uniquely prepares me to engage with modern science...'

  • Jamee Elder

Bachelor of Science in Philosophy

Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Philosophy

PhD student, University of Notre Dame, Indiana, USA

Contrary to widely-held perceptions of Philosophy as a subject, Honours graduate Jamee says it has far-reaching, practical significance in modern life.

‘Studying Philosophy teaches skills that are universally valuable – in any and every field. Whatever the topic under discussion, it helps to focus clearly on the key arguments and provides a framework to analyse those arguments. This would be enough on its own – but Philosophy is even more than that! It’s also incredibly interesting.’

Jamee specialises in the philosophy of science, specifically physics. She explains how she came to find and excel in this niche.

‘When I started out, my studies comprised two quite separate strands – Philosophy and Physics. I always enjoyed Physics because it deals with the fundamental nature and structure of reality. However, the questions I was most drawn to, concerning foundational issues, were not the focus of undergraduate Physics classes. On the other side of my interests, I took one Philosophy class early in my degree and was immediately hooked. However, it wasn’t until a Philosophy lecturer suggested a Philosophy of Physics path to me that I even realised such a path existed. For me, it was the perfect fit – and I am very grateful for that excellent guidance.’

This close interest by teaching staff in her studies is what Jamee believes sets UC’s Philosophy department apart.

‘The Department is small but impressive,’ she says. ‘One of the benefits is that it is tight-knit – the faculty staff are prepared to go the extra mile to help students, and you get plenty of individual attention.

‘Another great feature of the UC degree is its flexibility, which allowed me to pursue my two apparently disparate interests.’

‘I am particularly interested in scientific advances which force us to question assumptions. One question which has interested me is whether our universe really is the only universe or whether it is one of many, which together comprise a “multiverse”. I believe this question is best answered by using both Physics and Philosophy. My Honours thesis dealt with one argument in this area, defending the multiverse proposal… I plan to extend my study of the multiverse in my postgraduate programmes.’

Jamee won a scholarship to fund her Master of Philosophy, in Philosophy, at the University of Cambridge, and later a Fulbright Science and Innovation Graduate Award to fund her PhD in History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame, USA. This follows a UC exchange to Oxford University during her undergraduate years, where she was introduced to some of the current issues in the Philosophy of Science, and inspired to study the area further.

Jamee plans a career in academia, and is confident this will lead to other exciting opportunities. ‘My area of study uniquely prepares me to engage with modern science in a broader, practical capacity, such as aiding policymakers in handling the many ethical and practical issues that we will face from the modern scientific enterprise, as it continues to push the frontiers of human understanding.’

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