• Philosophy

    Philosophy -- the love of wisdom -- is the critical examination of the most fundamental questions humans ask: What is the nature of reality? How should people treat one another? Why do we value what we value? What is knowledge and how do we know whether we have it? How do we decide between competing theories on such issues? These questions, and others like them, are basic to serious study in any field. While everyone has beliefs about these matters, the goal of philosophy is to help students improve their consideration of issues by examining the reasons they and others have for thinking as they do. By increasing the care with which they reconsider ideas, philosophy students deepen their understanding of themselves, others, and the questions and answers they formulate.

    There are many reasons to study Philosophy. Philosophy provides students with opportunities to gain the skills of doing research, writing clearly and effectively, communicating well orally, formulating and solving problems in many different areas, eliciting hidden assumptions, articulating overlooked alternatives, summarizing complicated materials, integrating diverse information, and adapting to change. All of these skills are useful in a variety of contexts beyond the classroom. Philosophy emphasizes the construction and evaluation of arguments; in a time when reasoned argumentation is scarce, the study of Philosophy helps to keep alive the possibility of genuine public discourse. As an expression of wonder at the mysterious nature of the universe and human life, Philosophy is intrinsically satisfying and worthwhile. The study of Philosophy also allows one to appreciate and grapple with the ethical and conceptual issues that arise in other fields, such as science, business, and the law. And Philosophy stretches the imagination through the encounter with radically different conceptions of the world and human life.

    Philosophy is central to the education of students preparing for professions in which large questions are important. Philosophy students often are interested in law, medicine, theology, teaching, and writing. Approximately one-third of Hamline philosophy majors pursue graduate study in philosophy in preparation to teach at the college or university level and another third go on to law schools. Many philosophy students major in another field and take a philosophy major or minor to complement their study.

  • News

    Joe Swenson, visiting lecturer in philosophy, was invited to speak at Bethel University for the 2016 Annual Faculty Workshop on Great Texts in the Humanities. The featured text was Friedrich Nietzsche's On the Genealogy of Morality.

    Nancy J. Holland, professor and chair of the Philosophy Department, led the task force for the Board of the American Philosophical Association (APA) and helped develop the newly adopted code of conduct for the APA.