Why Study Philosophy?
The ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, once said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” Philosophy provides students with the tools they need to critically examine their own lives as well as the world in which they live. Philosophers are, by definition, “lovers of wisdom” (from the Greek “philo” = love and “sophia” = wisdom). Have you ever wondered why many of your professors have a Ph.D. or “doctor of philosophy” even if they do not teach philosophy? Philosophy is the oldest academic discipline and as such has no natural boundaries. Philosophers strive to uncover wisdom in every dimension of human existence. The tools one acquires through a philosophical education can be applied to any discipline and will help you to see connections between those disciplines. Consequently, philosophy is of use to students contemplating majors in any field. The philosophy courses at IUS seek to involve students in clear, reflective thought on philosophical issues of major importance and to introduce them to the ideas of several great philosophers. In the first section of this document, you will find information on the general benefits of studying philosophy. Sections two through four, discuss the advantages philosophy majors have over other majors pursuing a graduate education. Section five contains some links to other perspective on the value of a philosophical education. Section One: General Benefits of a Philosophical Education Section Two: Philosophy Prepares Students for Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) Section Three: Philosophy Prepares Students for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Section Four: Philosophy Prepares Students for the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) Section Five: Other Perspectives on the Value of a Philosophical Education.
Section One: General Benefits of a Philosophical Education
The curriculum at IUS includes interesting courses in general philosophy, ethics and logic; additional courses in the history of philosophy, and upper level courses in such areas as symbolic logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, theories of knowledge, and bioethics are also offered. Readings center on writings by the great philosophers. The goals of our program are as follows: 1. Comprehension and Interpretation Through the study of philosophy at IUS, students should increase their abilities to understand and to restate accurately in different words positions or arguments with which they initially disagree or which are entirely new to them. Students should also develop the skill of temporary detachment or neutrality so that they are better able to discern the strengths and weaknesses in such positions.
2. Analytical Reasoning Students should be able to make distinctions which are helpful for understanding and evaluating complex positions, arguments, or issues. 3. Synthetical Reasoning Students should improve their awareness of the importance of holding coherent and integrated views. They should develop skills in organizing and integrating their ideas in a systematic way. 4. Critical Thinking Students should develop an independence of thought through which they take responsibility for understanding and evaluating ideas in careful, responsible ways. 5. Skills in Evaluation Students should improve their ability to make reasoned judgments on such matters as moral and aesthetic preferences and to present cogent arguments to support their positions. Students should also improve their awareness of the factors that are involved in making sound evaluations. 6. Ethical Reasoning Students should improve their skills in making responsible, rational judgments on issues of moral rightness and wrongness as well as on matters of moral character. Students should be able to make use of classical ethical theories in formulating these judgments. 7. Openness to New Ideas Students should increase their ability to reflect upon their own views and consider whether other positions are...