Philosophy (PHI)

Philosophy examines the presuppositions and the conceptual foundations of all human activities, whether practical or theoretical. It is concerned with forms of knowledge (science, belief, self-examination); forms of human interaction (society, political life, morality, religion, justice); our practical relation to the environment (nature, technology, economics); and our creative productivity (art, literature). It has been interdisciplinary from its inception. The study of philosophy provides the knowledge and skills to reflect upon, analyze, and examine ourselves and the world we inhabit, and is the record of humanity’s quest to understand itself. It also provides the skills that enable life-long learning and versatile professional development.

A major in philosophy gives students access to the fruits of 2,500 years of thought on matters of ultimate concern. It encourages and provides the means of thinking effectively about timeless questions through a study of important writings on these topics. A successful student of philosophy is equipped to engage in intellectual conversation on a range of topics of both classical and contemporary concern. The study of philosophy encourages breadth and depth of understanding and promotes the ability to think and write cogently and rigorously.

Philosophy majors prepare themselves for a wide range of professional and business occupations that value highly developed skills of analysis, comprehensive thinking, and communication. Students majoring in Philosophy commonly pursue careers in law, medicine, business, technology, public service, teaching, editing and publishing, and academia. In addition to its focus on the liberal art curriculum, the Department of Philosophy offers courses in feminism and gender studies, computation and consciousness, philosophy of science, technology and the environment, and non-Western Philosophies.