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The Major Program

Philosophy addresses problems and questions that arise in all areas of human thought and experience and in all disciplines. Recurring questions about the nature of value, the good life, right conduct, knowledge, truth, language, mind, and reality are central to philosophical study. Philosophy also investigates the methodologies and assumptions of the major disciplines in the university in order to deepen our understanding of the sciences, of mathematics, art, literature, and history, and of religion and morality. It leads us to address issues about the nature of these subjects, about the methods of reasoning characteristic of them, and about the contributions they make to our understanding of ourselves and our world.

Philosophy contributes to the liberal education of its students. The department emphasizes an analytic approach to philosophical questions, which trains students to understand and evaluate arguments and to think and write precisely and clearly. These skills are of immense value in a variety of careers.

The Program. The Department of Philosophy offers courses in such areas as the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, logic, ethics, and political philosophy. In addition, upper division courses are offered in moral and political philosophy, and aesthetics, and in the philosophy of religion, of mind, of language, of mathematics, of law, and of the physical, biological, and social sciences.

The problems of philosophy have important roots in past. The history of philosophy is important not only as part of the heritage of educated persons, but also because it is relevant to contemporary issues. For these reasons, the department places great emphasis on the history of philosophy, providing courses on the major figures and traditions of western philosophy.

Career Alternatives. Students of philosophy learn to understand and evaluate arguments and to think and write precisely and clearly. These analytical skills are assets in any career. Many of our majors have pursued graduate study in philosophy and have become philosophers in their own right. Others have pursued academic careers in related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Philosophy majors are well prepared for law, business, or other professional schools and have found careers in computer programming, government service, teaching, the ministry, and social work.

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Updated: March 22, 2017 10:38 AM