Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the benefit of studying philosophy?

    Philosophy is not merely a body of knowledge with ancient roots. It is an activity or process in which we must engage if we want to establish our identity as individuals in a complex world. Simply believing what one is told, or failing to ponder life's most fundamental questions, leaves a person more like an automaton than a free agent. In all philosophy courses, students are not merely expected to learn what others have said. Of at least equal importance - even in first-year courses - is engaging in rational evaluation of the claims made by others, be they the claims made in a TV commercial, by a current politician, or the world-changing thoughts of history's greatest thinkers. (MF)

    What is the importance of philosophy?

    Philosophy's importance is not to be measured by the simple standard of direct, short-term economic gain. Throughout history, many of the most important advances in social structure and science and technology have their ultimate grounding in major shifts in philosophical thinking. As an area of inquiry, philosophy touches most other disciplines. Even today, researchers in philosophy study the human mind, language, art/aesthetics, biology, physics, mathematics, economics, politics, law, history, psychology, the physical and social sciences in general, logic, artificial intelligence, ethics, politics, and religion. (MF)

    Why study philosophy?

    There are many different kinds of answer to this question. You may wish to study philosophy to get a better understanding of the conceptual grounding to your major discipline, be it in the arts or sciences. You may wish to study philosophy to learn about some of the most important aspects of the origins of the society in which you live and how you think about yourself; much of what we know - or at least claim to know - about ourselves and the world around us has its origins in philosophical inquiry. Perhaps you just want to be better equipped to participate in philosophical discussions. (MF)
  • "Few persons care to study logic, because everybody conceives himself to be proficient enough in the art of reasoning already."
    ~ C.S. Peirce.

    "That for which we blame others, let us not do ourselves."
    ~ Thales