The unexamined life is not worth living.
Philosophy is the act of examining our basic beliefs about the world and ourselves to better make the choices of what constitutes a worthwhile life. Philosophers and sages have been at the cutting edge of their own cultures as critics, visionaries, and thinkers. Their insights have fostered revolutions, shaped the course of technology, redefined the way we think about the world and about ourselves, and inspired new visions of the good life. Philosophers pursue the eternal questions that must be considered and reconsidered by humankind in each culture and time, and by each person who grows in experience and encounters new phases in life. The study of philosophy focuses on these major areas:
- Epistemology: theory of knowledge. How does knowledge differ from opinion? What are the sources of knowledge? Is there a method for justifying our knowledge claims?
- Metaphysics: theory of reality. What exists? Do we have free will? How do we explain change?
- Ethics: theory of personal behavior. Are there universal rules for morality, or is it relative? Should we judge people on their acts or on their intentions? What acts are morally forbidden, morally mandatory, or morally permissible?
- Social and Political Philosophy: theory of cultural behavior. Is justice the same as equality? What makes political authority legitimate? What are our rights, and does the well being of society override individual right?
- Aesthetics: theory of beauty. What determines whether something is beautiful or not? What is the proper subject for art? Must the beautiful be true? Must the beautiful be good?
- Logic: theory of reason. What types of reasoning are there? How does one identify fallacies? What is the relationship between language, meaning, and truth?
Social Science and Humanities Department
Arts & Sciences Building, Room 201
Phone: (517) 483-1018
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