The Philosophy and Religious Studies Department seeks to nurture the development of reason--a thoughtful, informed, and critically reflective intellectual conscience ready to identify and reassess basic assumptions--within the College community generally but especially within our students. The essence of philosophy is to question, inquire into, and think critically about fundamental principles, whatever the field, but above all the principles of philosophy itself. Consequently, for philosophy to be true to itself, no such assumption as may be found in a mission statement can ever be wholly settled and taken for granted.
WHy take PHILOSOPHY?
Philosophy is not good for only one thing. But that is not the same as saying (and it doesn’t imply) that philosophy isn’t good for anything, or even that it isn’t good for any one thing. Can you catch those two differences, amongst those three claims? Detangling those sorts of logical differences, in ethics, in metaphysics, in sciences and arts, is one of philosophy’s paradigmatic skills. People who study philosophy are careful thinkers, but also deeply curious about the world, about notions of justice and fairness, and about all forms of knowledge, but especially about their own basic assumptions; we want to interrogate everyone’s assumptions ruthlessly, especially our own. We try to figure out what’s true. People who study philosophy go on to have many different sorts of jobs (all but the very wealthiest of us have to have jobs!) but tend to be paid slightly better and score somewhat higher on standardized tests. Don’t believe me? Look here:
We should be careful not to conclude this is simply because those people studied philosophy. But the correlations are suggestive. (Did I mention that people who study philosophy tend to be concerned about evidence?)
Why study philosophy? Why learn to read? Why write? Why play music? Why strive to learn more and be more? Here are some additional facts about philosophy, and why it’s a great major. They’ve been put together by our friends at the University of North Dakota: https://philosophyisagreatmajor.com/