Department: Philosophy


Philosophy studies the most fundamental questions that human beings ask — about individual and social action, the possibility and limits of knowledge, the truth and justification of beliefs, human nature and freedom, the existence of God and the operations of nature. Philosophy approaches these questions in a systematic way and philosophers have worked out more or less comprehensive theories to answer them (or show why they cannot be answered). The courses offered by the Philosophy Department are designed to introduce students to the main problems that philosophers study and to the main ideas of such profound and influential thinkers as Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume and Kant.

Philosophy is one of the most important subjects a student can study because it develops the ability to reason clearly and critically, to write thoughtfully, to use intelligence and logic to deal with problems all too often ruled by emotion and prejudice. Philosophy also helps one develop intellectual flexibility and learn to appreciate ideas and beliefs other than those of one’s own time, place, class or group. Since it develops these intellectual abilities and habits, the study of philosophy, either in individual courses or as a major or minor, is excellent preparation for any profession or occupation.

Students of philosophy pursue careers in law, business, medicine, government and the arts. Some go on to study philosophy at the graduate level with the aim either of teaching philosophy or of obtaining an advanced degree to further their career objectives.

What can I do with a degree in Philosophy?

Philosophy majors pursue many different careers.  Philosophy courses are designed to provide skills that can be used across many fields, rather than to prepare you for a single career.  Philosophy prepares students to pursue graduate studies in a variety of fields.  Philosophy majors perform extremely well on graduate schools entrance exams and score higher on the GRE than graduates of other majors.  Philosophy majors also are among the top performers on the LSAT and GMAT.  But pursuing philosophy can also be intrinsically valuable—not just as a means to some end, but as an end in itself. To do philosophy—and, in particular, to do it well—is to exercise your mind in ways that reveal how powerful, creative, and open it can be.

Course Listings

The department especially encourages students majoring in or interested in philosophy, both with fewer than 6 credits toward the major in philosophy, to consult with a departmental advisor about courses and their prerequisites at this stage of their academic career.



Justin Garson
1417 West
(212) 772-4970

Department Office:

Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday 9:00 AM-5:00 PM
1444 West
(212) 772-4970
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