Philosophy Department Undergraduate Studies
The Philosophic Quest
Philosophy asks the most urgent and fundamental questions about our lives and the world around us. What does it mean to be human? How do we find meaning in our lives? How should we act in the world? How should we treat other humans, other living beings, and the earth? Why is there something rather than nothing? How do we gain knowledge, and what does it really mean to understand?
In philosophy, we try to grapple with these and other important questions. Philosophy is a continuous conversation, where we think deeply together and in dialogue with the insights on these questions by people from many different times and places across human history, enriching the answers we might come up with on our own and raising questions we might not have considered.
Philosophy at Fordham
Faculty members at Fordham represent a wide variety of philosophical schools, areas, and historical interests. You will benefit from faculty diversity and receive a well-rounded philosophical education. In keeping with Fordham’s commitment to cura personalis – educating the whole person – all students at Fordham University are encouraged to think deeply about what it means to be human (in the required core course PHIL 1000: Philosophy of Human Nature) and about what it means to lead a good life and act ethically (in the second core course PHIL 3000: Philosophical Ethics). Building on these introductory courses, the department offers a wide variety of exciting courses in diverse areas of philosophy, from metaphysics to politics, from ancient Greece to modern Japan.
What can I do with a degree in philosophy?
Philosophy prepares you for the business of life. As a philosophy major or minor, you will develop habits of thinking deeply about the kinds of questions that make life meaningful. It will help you not to take life for granted or be satisfied with easy answers, but to question assumptions and provide thoughtful insight on many important issues. Philosophy will help you think more slowly, more deeply, and more critically. All of these are crucial for living life deliberately and fully.
Philosophy also prepares you for many different careers. Precisely because it teaches you to think critically and rigorously, to question assumptions, to refrain from jumping to conclusions, and to make convincing arguments, it is valuable in many – perhaps most – professions. Because so much philosophical work includes deep thinking and sustained argument, philosophy majors usually excel at making a convincing case for whatever they need to advocate in their future profession. They are able to express themselves clearly and coherently in speaking and writing, which is useful in every area of life.
But philosophy is not just about gaining marketable skills for a job. Philosophy will help you to choose not just a profession but a vocation. What sort of person do you want to become? How do you want to live in the world? What do you want to change about our society? What kind of difference do you want to make? What unjust structures do you want to challenge? How can you contribute to the good life for all people? Philosophy invites you to live your own life deliberately and to contribute meaningfully to building a better life for all.