What is Philosophy?
"Most people...don't realize how beneficial a degree in Philosophy is. It is a degree that structures your thinking in a way that makes you a valuable asset to any company." - K.R., Class of '13
Philosophy is many different things. The questions it studies include the traditional big questions such as,
• Is genuine knowledge possible?
• What kind of thing is a thought?
• Is there such a thing as free will?
• What is the basis for morality?
In addition, philosophy deals with a variety of other issues that arise in the context of contemporary science and morality, such as,
• Will it ever be possible for computers to think?
• Do our genes control our destiny?
• Should doctors ever assist in suicide?
• What should society do for the oppressed?
Further, philosophers continue to study the great books by philosophers such as Aristotle, Hume and Kant, both because these works are intrinsically interesting and because they shed light on contemporary philosophical problems.
But what good is it?
"My time studying Philosophy at UC has been invaluable to my career. I can see where the tools I learned through philosophy have helped me in decision making and analysis." - J.P, Class of '08
The best reason to study philosophy is because it is interesting. However, in addition to satisfying a need to know, philosophy offers a number of important side-benefits. Students who study philosophy learn to think deeply and carefully about complex issues. They learn to construct precise arguments in defense of their ideas. They learn to write well. Because most of our courses are small (especially at the 300-level and above), students receive close personal attention to better help them develop these important skills.
Some students will find philosophy so interesting that they will decide to major in it, and some of those will go on to graduate study. Some students will do a minor in philosophy or take a lot of philosophy courses as electives while majoring in something else. Quite a few students do a double major in philosophy and some other subject. Philosophy students tend to score well above the mean in standardized tests (but let's not confuse cause and effect!). Because philosophy offers excellent training in analytic thinking, admissions officers at law schools and other professional schools reportedly look favorably on a background in philosophy.
Learn what some of our graduates are up to today and why they say their Philosophy degree has been invaluable to their lives and careers.