Why Study Philosophy?
"At the start of the semester I was intimidated about taking a philosophy class. But now I understand that philosophy isn't intimidating; it's just another way of seeing things. It helps you get clearer about what you believe, and about what other people believe. It helps you figure things out."
- Hofstra 'Introduction to Philosophy' student
Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field or study or endeavor. It may be described in many ways. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles and conduct. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts and of evaluating ideas. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other persons and other cultures; it deepens one's sense of the meaning and varieties of human experience.
Philosophy examines concepts and views drawn from science, art, religion, politics, or any other realm. Consider, for instance, democracy. What is it? What justifies it as a system of government? Consider human knowledge. What is its nature and extent? What can we know, if anything, about the thoughts and feelings of others? What explains the apparent progress of science? Consider human conduct. What separates the good from the bad? Similar kinds of fundamental questions arise for each of the major areas of human activity. Philosophy explores them all.