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Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Philosophy can be described as thinking about thinking. Plato, in the Apology, has Socrates say "an unexamined life is not worthy of a human being." The philosopher must examine both on which beliefs we act and how we come to form our belief. The basic divisions in philosophy all come from examining our basic assumption in different areas of human thought. Crucial to examining our basic assumption is the study of logic: the study of the structure of arguments and learning to recognize which are truth-preserving and which are fallacious.

From the time of the ancient Greeks to the present, many thinkers have reflected on a variety of questions such as these: What is really real? What is the nature and scope of knowledge? Can I know the difference between right and wrong? What is the good life? Does God exist? Does life have a point? If so, what is it?

Questions such these are explored in the context of the discipline commonly known as "philosophy." The word discipline is important because philosophy is not a matter of giving our "opinions" about such things. It is rather an activity that involves critical thinking as well as the analysis and formulation of arguments. In fact, some thinkers such as Socrates have demonstrated that this kind of critical and rational activity can constitute an entire way of life---an art of thinking and living.

A philosophy degree will allow you to explore some of the central issues that have preoccupied philosophers throughout the ages. The goal is to understand philosophy as both a creative and analytical enterprise that has important implications for the way we think about and live our lives. Ultimately, our objective is not simply to learn about what philosophers have to say about these important issues: the point is to learn to think like a philosopher.

For those looking for a program of study in philosophy, we have a track in the Liberal Arts Major designed to further such aspirations, as well as our philosophy minor..