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College of Arts & Sciences

Undergraduate Philosophy Programs

Matthew Jordan, portrait

Matthew Jordan '99 says "tough-minded but civil discussion of contentious issues remains a fixture of my day-to-day life," from his days as a philosophy major at Ohio University to his role as a professor at Auburn University. See “Jordan Says Tough-Minded but Civil Discussion Remains a Fixture of my Life.”

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{Probe Timeless Questions. Put Your Curiosity to Work.}

A major in philosophy introduces students to a wide range of substantive and theoretical topics that have been the subject in the Western intellectual tradition beginning in 585 B.C. and continuing right through to the 21st century. These topics include such broad and enduring questions as:

  • “What is the right way for human beings to live their lives?”
  • “What is the ultimate structure of reality as we encounter it?”
  • “What is human knowledge and how do we come to have it? Can other sorts of beings have anything like knowledge in the same sense that we have it?”
  • “Is there a God, and, if so, what are the properties that God has?”
  • “What is the nature and structure of scientific inquiry?”
  • “What are the fundamental components of rational thought and practical reasoning?”

These questions have intrigued generation after generation, and they continue to fascinate the thoughtful and well-educated person, even though many of these questions appear to be very difficult, if not outright impossible to answer. Indeed, part of the beauty of philosophy is the discovery that rational inquiry is not always intended to find specific answers to specific questions, but is rather a process of intellectual growth and development that is available to anyone with a sufficient degree of intellectual curiosity.

A major in philosophy, therefore, not only teaches the student about his or her own intellectual tradition, but it also prepares him or her to become an active and productive member of that tradition, ready to make his or her own contribution to the process of searching for answers to timeless questions.

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