The Philosophy Program
The study of philosophy contributes to the development of the whole person
Philosophy is an activity, a practice, and a way of life that is intimately associated with the ideal of liberal education. Philosophy is also a discipline and a subject matter, one that arises from the history of its primary activity of asking and answering questions about reality, meaning, and value. Through both the activity and the discipline aspects, the study of philosophy contributes to the development of the whole person. Philosophy cuts across other disciplines by uncovering the basic assumptions of our various ways of understanding reality, making it possible for us to be alert and responsive at this level. This same inherently interdisciplinary quality also makes it possible for us to achieve a conception of the world as a whole, which supports an informed scale of value. Thus the ongoing study of philosophy is not only in-formative, but trans-formative, enabling us to live an examined life and to grow toward the way of being that the liberally educated person and the philosopher exemplify.
There are close connections between aspects of philosophy and most careers. For example, the study of ethics is essential for medicine, law, engineering, teaching, counseling, and business. Legal and political philosophies are essential to law and public service. The philosophy of science has a bearing on the social and natural sciences. The philosophy of art, literature, and film relates to journalism, television, and the performing arts. Just as philosophy was the ancient mother of all the liberal arts and sciences, so today the arts, sciences, and professional practices-specialized as the are-still lead us back to the questions of philosophy. Knowledge of the history of ideas, familiarity with logical thinking and creative problem-solving, and skills of abstraction and judgement are assets in any career.
Graduate and Professional School Opportunities
Any graduate, professional, or career program depending on a liberal arts curriculum will welcome work done in philosophy. Schools of law, theology, and religious studies are particularly enthusiastic about philosophy as an undergraduate major. Students interested in attending law school should contact Professor John Uglietta, the department’s pre-law advisor.
Study Abroad Programs
Study Abroad programs directed by philosophy faculty are especially beneficial for philosophy students. The GVSU Summer School in China represents a rare opportunity to study many aspects of Chinese culture, including Buddhist, Daoist, and Confucian philosophy, in China.
The Undergraduate Teaching Apprenticeship Program
The Undergraduate Teaching Apprenticeship program is directed toward philosophy majors planning to attend graduate school, and is designed to provide an opportunity for selected students to apprentice in teaching philosophy. For such students, experience in this aspect of the practice of philosophy is an important complement to the undergraduate major.