About The Discipline:

Philosophy is an activity people undertake when they seek to understand fundamental truths about themselves, the world in which they live, and their relationships to the world and to each other. 

  • Some of philosophy's questions concern reality: Is there an external world? What is the relationship between the physical and the mental? Does God exist?
  • Others concern human nature as rational, purposive, and social beings: Do we act freely? Where do our moral obligations come from? How do we construct justice in political forms?
  • Philosophy questions the nature and extent of knowledge and truth: How is knowledge different from belief or opinion? What does it mean to "prove" something? What is proof of knowledge based upon? Sensory experience? Abstract rules or principles? Are there limits to what can be known?
  • Many questions concern the foundations and implications of other disciplines: What is a scientific explanation? What sort of knowledge of the world does science provide? Do scientific theories, such as evolutionary theory, or quantum mechanics, compel us to modify our basic philosophical understanding of, and approach to, reality? What makes an object a work of art? Are aesthetic value judgments objective? 

There are as many philosophical questions as there are areas of human inquiry. But the key to philosophy, and what makes it so significant for a good education, is that philosophy does not merely aim to master a body of facts but to teach how to think, speak, and write clearly and sharply through any set of facts. Studying philosophy is learning in its most valuable and elemental form: how to read critically, analyze and assess arguments, discern hidden assumptions, think imaginatively and creatively, and how express one's position precisely in both speech and writing.

An undergraduate degree in philosophy is academically rigorous. It is excellent preparation for law and medicine, as well as a spectrum of entry-level positions in business, public service and more. Read more about the advantages of studying philosophy.