Department of Philosophy

Philosophy Faculty Profiles

One of the marks of philosophy, and one of its strengths, is that it identifies and examines assumptions that we make in our ordinary lives or that are made in other areas of study. Many would also accept a definition of philosophy as the attempt to answer, or at least to better understand, very basic questions about the universe and our place in it. A striking thing about these assumptions and questions is that many of us live as if we were clear about them even though we have never even asked about them. We accept one belief and dismiss another without asking what it takes for a belief to be worthy of acceptance. We decide whether an act is right or wrong without even asking what the difference is between right and wrong. A famous passage by the philosopher David Hume, written when he was about 25, expresses the impulse to philosophize: “I am uneasy to think I approve of one object, and disapprove of another; call one thing beautiful, and another deformed; decide concerning truth and falsehood, reason and folly, without knowing upon what principles I proceed.” The clarity, depth and rigor encouraged in philosophy courses are useful not only in philosophy, but also in any other area of study, and it is a major that is welcomed by graduate programs in many fields, as well as by employers and professional schools.


 

 

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