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Department of Philosophy

Philosophy is the analysis and evaluation of the basic assumptions and inferences that we make in formulating arguments: about reality, truth, knowledge, reasoning, human nature, the ultimate goals of life, right and wrong conduct, and public institutions, laws and policies.

Ultimately, philosophy is concerned with the examination and development of a coherent and rationally defensible view of the world and our place in it. It is a rigorous discipline of "thinking about thinking" (Aristotle's definition) that has been around since the ancient beginnings of recorded human civilization. And it remains a vital part of the intellectual culture of the 21st century world.

A brochure of the philosophy department's Fall 2015 and Winter 2016 course offerings is available here: 2015-2016 Course Brochure.

Why major in philosophy?

  • A contemplative life rich in philosophical reflection is intrinsically valuable.
  • Critical reasoning as a shared practice helps to improve the human condition.
  • The intellectual skills that philosophy majors acquire — analytic reasoning and writing — enable them to achieve among the highest levels of success in graduate education and career advancement. For example, philosophy majors outperform all other social science, humanities and vocational majors on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).
  • Philosophy majors rank second among all majors (with math majors ranking first) in their performance on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT), according to the Journal of Economic Education.
  • Philosophy majors leave college with intellectual skills that result in greater financial success at mid-career than most college graduates outside of the technical sciences (like math and engineering).

But will I be able to get a job with philosophy? The answer is yes, and yes, and yes, and yes, and yes again!

With a versatile degree in philosophy, you will be prepared to work in any field that values critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Oakland’s philosophy program also provides solid training for advanced study in fields such as law, government and public administration, ministry and teaching.

"... philosophy is about producing and communicating complex ideas, clarifying counter-intuitive concepts, and assiduously analyzing arguments; a sound case can be made that these skills are crucial to just about everything we do." 
— James Tierney, Class of ‘88 (read more)