Philosophy teaches not what to think, but how to think. Whereas studying other subjects typically involves learning answers to questions, studying philosophy involves questioning received answers. Philosophy wrestles with the enduring questions of life, including:
- Can we know anything about the external world?
- How do minds relate to the physical world?
- Do we have free will?
- What is it to live a good life?
- What makes actions right or wrong, good or bad?
- Does God exist?
While these sorts of questions are very difficult to resolve, studying philosophy fosters the skills needed to tackle them: to think critically, to construct and evaluate chains of reasoning, and to entertain many perspectives on any given subject—all of which are skills highly transferable to other fields.
The Philosophy minor at Fairmont State University is NOT about:
- Advice for daily living
- A body of truisms or sayings
Instead, students will explore the foundations of our worldview, including:
- Evidence, knowledge, and skepticism
- Truth and rationality
- Reality, possibility, and the basic constituents of the universe
- Meaning and language
- Minds and the physical world
- Human nature and free will
- Ethics and the good life
- Objectivity and subjectivity
- Religion, and God, transcendental reality
- Art and beauty
- The self and its persistence through time
- Logic and good reasoning
Philosophy minors will evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of various systems of thought, and the reasons for adopting or rejecting them.
Studying philosophy complements many other majors and serves as excellent preparation for graduate school. Law school administrators are well aware studying philosophy is one of the best ways to prepare for law school. The reasoning and communication skills developed by studying philosophy are the same ones required when studying the law. On average, philosophy majors score extremely well on the LSAT. In addition to law school, many students who studied philosophy have gone on to graduate school (for a variety of fields, including philosophy), business school, medical school, or seminary.
Many students starting careers right after finishing their undergraduate degree have used their studies in philosophy to complement another major, taking jobs in a variety of fields, including working as
- Business consultants
- Public servants
- Technical writer
- Web designers
The principal aims of the minor are to prepare students to i) reason effectively and systematically, ii) to read and write clearly and critically, and iii) to reflect on major philosophical questions such as those concerning the basic categories of reality, the nature of knowledge and justification, and moral values and the good life.