Philosophy and Classical Studies Department
Why Major in Philosophy at Fisher?
According to the American Philosophical Association: “The study of philosophy serves to develop intellectual abilities important for life as a whole, beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession. Properly pursued, it enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject-matter, and in any human context. It cultivates the capacities and appetite for self-expression and reflection, for exchange and debate of ideas, for life-long learning, and for dealing with problems for which there are no easy answers. It also helps to prepare one for the tasks of citizenship. Participation in political and community affairs today is all too often insufficiently informed, manipulable and vulnerable to demagoguery. A good philosophical education enhances the capacity to participate responsibly and intelligently in public life.”
Often our majors have double majors with other areas, including History, Political Science, Business, and Nursing. For though a degree in philosophy has value in and of itself, it can also be useful for those planning to further their education in the social sciences, as well as for those seeking a career in medicine, the law, and other related fields.
Through the requirements for its Philosophy major (and Classical Studies minor), the Department strives to provide its students with an understanding of the theory and life-practice of Philosophy so as to give a framework for a fruitful critical confrontation with the most prominent issues in such areas as ethics, logic, political theory, theories of knowledge, and metaphysics. This will require a familiarity with problems and means of evaluating their proposed solutions that would enable the student to pursue graduate study in Philosophy and facilitate graduate study in related areas. On a personal level, students will be enabled to make informed judgments that will allow them to experience continued intellectual and personal growth, to practice responsible citizenship, and to be engaged in their chosen careers in a humane and enlightened way.
About the Major in Philosophy
Although philosophers seldom agree perfectly on the definition of Philosophy, most of them recognize as central to philosophical activity a disposition to wonder—to wonder about things so basic that most people take them for granted. Thus they ask about human nature and the place of humans in the world; where they have come from and where they are going; about space, time, and causality; about truth, goodness, and beauty; about God. The Department of Philosophy and Classical Studies aims at stimulating all students to think critically and constructively about the most fundamental speculative and practical issues confronting us. With this end in mind, it invites students to acquaint themselves with the best philosophical literature, old and new. The range of course offerings is designed to respect the diversity of student interests and talents as well as the needs of those who anticipate graduate work or professional studies such as Law.
David White, Charles Natoli, Tim Madigan, and Joseph Lanzalaco.