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Philosophy

A philosopher is defined as a "lover of wisdom." We define wisdom, in turn, as not simply knowledge but an appreciation of how to use that knowledge. The ancient Greek command to "Know thyself!"  is where all true philosophers begin their quest for that wisdom, a quest which lasts a lifetime.  The journey is an exciting one because a skill in philosophical reasoning can open many interesting doors for you along the way.   Our courses in philosophy will help you develop this skill, which is always relevant and often richly rewarding.

Understand the practical advantages of studying philosophy.

Many people fail to see any practical reason for studying philosophy.  The ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus acknowledged their point but defended the discipline when he said: “Empty is the argument of the philosopher by which no human disease is healed — for just as there is no benefit in medicine if it does not drive out bodily diseases, so there is no benefit in philosophy if it does not drive out the disease of the soul.”  We agree. Philosophy should make a difference.  That’s why we emphasize the areas of philosophy that affect the world around us in demonstrable ways — ethics, philosophy of religion, and political theory.

In fact, the study of philosophy is one of the best ways to enhance the ability to think clearly and creatively.  Our philosophy classes will help you acquire and develop:

  • Critical thinking skills
  • Skills in argumentation
  • Communication skills
  • Skills in thinking “outside the box”

With these skills at your disposal, you can grapple with classical and contemporary problems, such as:

  • Why be moral?
  • What does it mean to be moral?
  • Is there a human nature, and what is it?
  • What type of society is best?
  • What is the nature of God?
  • Is it morally permissible to clone human beings?
  • What makes something a work of art?

Use your philosophical skills to succeed in life.

Ever wonder why, whether you study mathematics, English, history, or biology, the highest degree you can earn is a Ph.D. — a Doctor of Philosophy?  It’s because philosophy forms the backbone of nearly every discipline.  Because of its breadth, philosophy has a bearing on just about every subject and profession, and recent studies have shown that students who have strong backgrounds in philosophy do much better than you might expect on scholastic aptitude tests and in the job market.

The numbers tell the story.  Due to their well-honed analytical skills and interdisciplinary approach, philosophy majors:

  • Performed on average, 8.7% better than other majors on the LSAT.  Among students taking the LSAT in 2007–2008 to enter law school in 2008-2009, philosophy majors tied with economics majors for the second highest average score (157.4). 
  • Among 29 discipline groupings, philosophers did 11% better on the GMAT, 17% better on the verbal section of the GRE, and 4.6% better on the quantitative portion of the GRE (Chronicle of Higher Education).

As for the job field, while students with seemingly more useful degrees may enter the market with higher salaries, by mid-career, philosophers tend to do quite well.   Current data from PayScale.com on “Best Undergrad College Degrees By Salary” shows the starting median salary and mid-career median salary for 50 different university majors.  The philosophy major ranks 16th in mid-career median salary. For example, the median starting salary for a business management major is $3,100 higher than the median starting salary for a philosophy major — $43,000 vs. $39,900.  But the mid-career median salary for a philosophy major is $9,100 higher — $81,200 vs. $72,100. 

Need more convincing?

If you still doubt the practicality of studying philosophy, we can give you some highly visible reasons to reconsider!  Jeff Bezos (the founder and CEO of Amazon.com), Phil Jackson (the NBA’s “winningest” coach), Jay Leno, and Harrison Ford all studied the discipline and used their philosophy skills to help them get where they are.

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