Philosophy’s center is everywhere and its circumference nowhere. -Maurice Merleau-Ponty
There are no formal prerequisites and courses do not have to taken in sequence (for example, beginning with Philosophy 1). But because philosophy deals with concepts and ideas that are sometimes complex, English proficiency is recommended.
Socrates once proclaimed that 'the unexamined life is not worth living.' As philosophy is more suitably defined as an ongoing activity, rather than a fixed object of study, the idea of actively examining one's life is just as accurate a description of philosophy today, as it was 2500 years ago when the Greek philosopher uttered those words.
Philosophy is a discipline for the curious-minded--an attempt (as the philosopher Harry Frankfurt puts it) “to get to the bottom of things.” Philosophy involves the attempt to understand our world, and our place in it, which in turn has involved the questioning of the very limits of human understanding and knowledge. This concern with the character of truth and limitations of knowledge unfolds within the branch of philosophy known as EPISTEMOLOGY. In this ongoing quest for answers to our most fundamental questions, philosophers have challenged traditional responses by uncovering logical inconsistencies in commonly held beliefs; some have paid the price for this intellectual brazenness! Accordingly, the study of LOGIC has also developed within the domain of philosophy.
This pursuit for a better understanding of life and our role in it, has made it inevitable that philosophers also consider the principles that make life valuable, and as such, seemingly abstract ideas like justice, and happiness are considered in ETHICS classes. In a related vein, the very possibility of free will and moral choice, along with other topics concerning the nature of reality, God, and the self, are discussed in one of the oldest branches of philosophy, known as METAPHYSICS.
Regardless of the specialty area, because of its insistence on rational dialogue, and its backbone in logic, philosophy makes a suitable preparation for most majors, but especially for those students that plan to go into law or policy making.
For major requirements and individual course descriptions, go to the College Catalog