Philosophy delves into the hard questions that shape human existence. It explores who and what we are as human beings; it critically examines the things we value and the ways we treat one another, and it takes seriously questions about the meaning of life. Studying philosophy enables us to better engage with these questions. It equips us with the tools of logic, and it exposes us to a broad tradition of thoughts and wisdom on the human condition.
Why Study Philosophy?
Philosophy can make a difference in people’s lives. Critical thinking pushes us to reflect on our background assumptions, and it helps us to sharpen the analytic tools we use in many areas of life. Moreover, a hike through the history of philosophy can illuminate ideas and values that underlie our cultural traditions and social practices. In this way studying philosophy can prepare us to make and defend careful judgments about our lives, our society, and our world. In short, as Plato might put it, philosophy can help us to live "the examined life."
Career and Academic Benefits of Philosophy
Philosophy prepares you for a broad range of professional careers where success relies on the ability to read carefully, think critically, and write persuasively. Recent studies show that many of the top figures in business, law, politics, journalism, and education have a background in philosophy [e.g., HuffPost, Business Insider, Huffpost]
Philosophy students also excel at standardized tests and gaining entrance into graduate level programs. For example, see how students perform on the Graduate Requisite Exam and the Law School Admission Test.
Check out the following resources for more on the career, economic, and non-economic benefits of studying philosophy:
All of the courses we offer are suitable for students pursuing any career path. If you want to learn more about the kinds of questions and approaches that characterize philosophy, PHIL 100 and PHIL 101 offer great starting points. These courses are introductory surveys of major ideas and problems in western Philosophy. PHIL 120 focuses on logic, argumentation, and critical thinking. This course is designed to help students improve their ability to reason well. PHIL 210 explores some of the difficult ethical challenges that face doctors, clients, and communities in the context of healthcare. Insofar as each of us will at some point find ourselves dealing with illness—either our own or in someone we care about—the questions about healthcare have a pressing relevance in all of our lives.
*Photo of Hannah Arendt by Fred Stein, 1944 (Courtesy of the Fred Stein Archive)