What is Philosophy?
"Philosophy" literally means "love of wisdom" and has been taken to refer to the pursuit of truth by reason and argument. Philosophy is reason in the world. But what specifically does philosophy study? What wisdom does it seek? Unlike other fields which study parts of reality, philosophy studies reality in general. Instead of asking "What are the physical or chemical properties of this, " philosophy asks "What is the nature of existence itself?" To " engage in philosophy" means to reflect on the totality of things we encounter, in view of their ultimate reasons; and philosophy thus understood, is a meaningful, even necessary endeavor, with which man, the spiritual being, cannot dispense" (Josef Pieper).
Some of the main questions Philosophy explores are as follows: What is the nature of reality? (metaphysics); What is the nature of knowledge? (epistemology); What are the rules of good thinking? (logic); How ought I to live? (ethics); How ought we live together? (political/social philosophy); What is the nature of beauty? (aesthetics). Philosophy also studies the foundations, or "first principles," of other disciplines. For example, the Philosophy of Science explores the nature of scientific theories and laws, the logic of scientific proof, the relationship between science and other fields, and many other topics.
Lindenwood University offers a BA in Philosophy. The major requires 36 hours in philosophy and the minor requires 18 hours, at least half of which must be completed at Lindenwood. Both major and minor stress the history of philosophy, ethics, and logic. For specific information on requirements or the contract major or minor, please contact us.
What Are the Advantages of a Philosophy Degree?
One simple answer is that studying philosophy prepares one for further study of philosophy and ultimately to a career in teaching philosophy, but that is probably not true for most students. So what else is there to a philosophy degree? Plenty!
According to Aristotle, "All men by nature desire understanding," and in seeking understanding we seek the "kinds of causes and principles whose science is wisdom." Socrates argues that "the unexamined life is not worth living." What both philosophers tell us is that the study of philosophy is a natural, rewarding, and even necessary part of human existence.
Finally, philosophy students develop critical reading, writing, and thinking skills that are essential to success in other disciplines and in the workplace. Furthermore, philosophy students tend to score higher on standardized exams for graduate school and professional programs. This is especially true in law where philosophy majors score higher on the LSAT than most other majors. Moreover, the American Bar Association recommends philosophy as a preferred major.
Lindenwood offers a number of courses in the traditional areas of philosophy and independent study courses are available.
PHL 102 Moral Life: A Study in Ethics
PHL 150 Introduction to Philosophy
PHL 214 Ethics
PHL 215 Logic
PHL 240/340 Bioethics
PHL 265/365 Philosophy of Science
PHL/PS 305 Political Philosophy
PHL 311 Ancient Philosophy
PHL 312 Medieval/Renaissance Philosophy
PHL 313 Modern Philosophy
PHL/REL 325 Philosophy of Religion
PHL 280/380/480 Selected Topics in Philosophy*
PHL 493 Senior Seminar
* Recent examples of Topics courses include Aesthetics [ADD]; Brains, Minds, and Computers; Business Ethics; Business and Economic Philosophy; Dante and the Virtues [ADD]; Eastern Philosophy; Ethics in Film; Existentialism; Meaning of Life; Philosophy in Fiction; Philosophy in Film; Philosophy of Law; Philosophy of Love.