"The mission of the Midwestern State University Philosophy Program is to cultivate a historically-informed understanding of and appreciation for the philosophical enterprise; to foster critical reading, writing, and thinking skills through the examination of philosophical problems; and to promote a spirit of self-reflection and concern for the world among our students."
Students who take philosophy courses will develop an:
1. Ability to read, comprehend, and critically analyze both primary and second philosophical texts.
2. Ability to recognize and critically analyze philosophical arguments within texts.
3. Ability to construct rational arguments on behalf of their own points of view and defend those arguments against objections.
4. Ability to recognize and appreciate the relevance of philosphical inquiry to other liberal arts and humanistic discourses.
5. Ability to reflect critically and insightfully on non-philosophical issues using philosophical methods.
What is Philosophy?
Broadly speaking, philosophy may be described as the systematic analysis of questions and problems which are fundamental, ultimate, and very general. Traditional philosophical questions include, but are not limited to: Does God exist? What is the meaning of life? What is the nature of the good life? What is Truth? and so on.
Why Study Philosophy?
In emphasizing the long-range benefits of training in philosophy, there are at least two points to note.
First, although pondering and debating philosophical questions is valuable for its own sake, studying philosophy also has practical benefits that are relevant to all walks of life, but especially to students planning postgraduate work in law, business, medicine, etc. According to numerous recent studies, students with extensive philosophy coursework consistently outperform other students on standardized professional and graduate school admissions tests. For example:
- On the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), philosophy majors/minors tend to have the highest mean verbal scores of students in all majors/minors and the highest mean quantitative scores among all humanities and social science majors/minors.
- A 2004 study shows that philosophy majors/minors score higher on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) than any other majors/minors, including political science and pre-law.
- From 1991-1996, philosopher majors/minors achieved significantly higher mean scores on the GMAT than business students (accounting, management, finance, etc.)
- Outside of the hard sciences, philosophy has had either the first or second highest mean score on the GMAT each year; the mean GMAT score for philosophy majors/minors is fourth or fifth highest of all majors/minors.
For more information, please see Tomas Bogardus' helpful page, "Why Study Philosophy?"
What Do Students Say?
“I chose a philosophy minor because the field of philosophy challenged my ideas and opinions more than any other field that I had experienced. I am now much more comfortable speaking my opinion in class because you were so encouraging of that as long as we could support our views. I also feel completely comfortable asking questions that challenge major ideas and narratives and thinking critically in my own field of history as well as in my daily life.”
– Katie McDaniel (’12)
“I chose to minor in philosophy because I realized that I wanted to earn to think about things on a deeper level than the average person has the opportunity to. I wanted to understand myself and the world around me better. Studying philosophy has literally changed my life. It helped me to assert my intellectual independence and sort out what I really thought and believed, it helped me establish principles for living a better life, and it has helped me see the world, and the people in it, more holistically.”
– Elizabeth Hill (’13)
“I'm glad that I minored in philosophy. I definitely feel edified by my studies; I have a more cultivated skill at thinking critically, strengthened awareness with respect to philosophical trends, and just a more interesting world view. Studying for my minor was one of the greatest decisions of my undergraduate career.”
– Christopher Caruvana (’11)