Fordham University            The Jesuit University of New York
 


Joy & Challenge of Philosophy


The Challenge and Joy of Philosophy


Philosophy is the rational search for answers to life's most fundamental questions, such as the structure of reality and our position in it; the significance of ethical and religious beliefs; the nature of human consciousness; persons as beings responsible for themselves and for others; the values or purposes that make life meaningful or worth living; how or whether the empirical sciences can give us knowledge; and the nature of just political and social institutions. Students pursue philosophy when they are not satisfied by the superficial answers that popular culture offers to these most basic human questions, and when they want to learn how the best writers in western and eastern cultures have approached these issues. Philosophical inquiry is a personal quest whose rewards last a lifetime, giving a deeper dimension of meaning to other academic pursuits and providing skills in writing and logical analysis that are invaluable in many different careers. As an academic discipline, philosophy is a multifaceted subject covering a broad range of fields, such as ethics, social justice, the philosophy of mind and theories of knowledge, the rational evaluation of religious belief, the foundation of the sciences, the philosophy of law, etc. Since the study of philosophy is central to a liberal education, every student at Fordham takes two courses in philosophy as part of the core curriculum. Although initially philosophy is more unfamiliar than other college subjects (because it is rarely taught in high schools), undergraduates learn in the core courses that philosophy can be one of the most challenging and personally fulfilling areas of study in the liberal arts. Majoring in philosophy will engage and develop the whole mind of the student, training him or her to think critically on several levels and to be aware of implicit problems in human relationships and culture that are too often ignored. Philosophy majors also apply the techniques of philosophical inquiry to explore questions raised but left unresolved by other domains of human activity and study, from economics and psychology to law and the fine arts; from business practices and scientific research to artificial intelligence and theology.

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