About the Department
If you think philosophy is “useless” or “impractical,” think again!
Philosophers are very successful in the world:
- Philosophy majors outperform most other majors on all graduate exams, such as LSATs, GREs, GMATs, and MCATs.
- Students of philosophy go on to become business and political leaders, lawyers, doctors, writers, film-makers, judges, and many other things.
- FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO HAVE STUDIED PHILOSOPHY include financier George Soros, Supreme Court Justice David Souter, former Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, actors Harrison Ford and Susan Sarandon, comedians Jay Leno and Stephen Colbert, and many others.
Why are philosophers so successful? Because philosophy gives you training in life-long skills that don’t become outdated and gives you the ethical and conceptual foundations for many areas of life.
- Philosophers are exceptionally good at analyzing and synthesizing complex information.
- The content of philosophy is relevant to everyday life. For example, just as we need our mobile device operating systems, we also need a moral operating system. We have opinions about morals and values, but philosophy gives us a much firmer grasp of the foundations of ethical values such as freedom, individuality and community, and the meaning of life.
- Philosophers are really good at “critical thinking” and “thinking outside the box.” Philosophy is both scientifically informed and is relevant to important developing areas of modern life, such as neuroscience and the study of mind and cognitive processes, or computer software design. Philosophy is different from science, too. Philosophy specializes in thought or logical experimentation — philosophers think outside the box and can thus be very creative and ahead of their time. For example, the philosopher Locke, back in the 17the century suggested that the coordination of our senses is learned. So for example, if a blind person were suddenly able to see, she would not be able to recognize by sight the shape of an object she previously knew only by touch. Presented with a cube and a globe, she could not tell which was which just by looking. It is only recent vision studies by neuroscientists that have shown Locke to be right.
Take a look at our programs, take a course and discover how philosophy can give you skills and information that will last a life-time!
And, of course, philosophy is also an interesting and stimulating subject in its own right. It aims at reflecting about fundamental issues — goodness, truth, beauty, justice, knowledge, reality — in varied and stimulating ways, as well as educating students in habits of mind that are useful in all of these fields. It is an especially satisfying subject to study for people who are not satisfied with easy answers.
The philosophy department, located in Heger Hall, is a lively, friendly and intellectually stimulating place. We have a student philosophy society that meets frequently throughout the year for philosophical discussion. We have talks, informal gatherings, and an annual student philosophy conference at which students can present their work, as well as a philosophy honor society.