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What is Philosophy?

Philosophy begins in wonder. What am I? How can I know things? What is the nature of the universe I live in? What is the best life for a human being? What is the best society for human beings to live in? Philosophy is the attempt to understand and answer these questions in a rigorous, critical, and open-ended manner. No belief is left unquestioned. No assumptions—no matter how deeply cherished or ingrained—taken for granted. No authority bowed to. Philosophy is unlike other disciplines. To study philosophy is to do philosophy, that is, to philosophize: it is not a passive reception of information but rather an active engagement in finding a way to understand oneself, the world, and the relation between the two. As philosophy not only challenges whether we know what we think we know but also often helps us to understand what be know at a deeper level or from a different perspective, a minor in philosophy (only 21 credit hours) pairs well with many majors from sciences (physics, biology), to social sciences (psychology, anthropology), to the humanities (English, history).


In addition to the philosophy major and minor, the department has an interdisciplinary Religious Studies minor which enables students to learn about and critically examine a variety of the world’s great religious traditions. The department also fosters a vibrant extra-curricular intellectual atmosphere by sponsoring numerous colloquia and conferences, housing the Denver Project of Humanistic Inquiry, and supervising two student clubs, the MSU Denver Philosophy Club and the Women’s Philosophy Group.


Besides enabling students to understand more clearly and cogently what it means to be a human being, a degree in philosophy also equips students with many skills—analytical and critical thinking, open-mindedness, interpretation of difficult texts and arguments, ability to generate arguments, solutions, and consider alternative propositions—that are essential to successful employment in a wide variety of occupations (law, publishing, content generation and management, information technology, etc.). Philosophy may not prepare students for one, specific career, but it is among the best majors to prepare students for the variety of jobs and careers that people in the modern economy are likely to have over a lifetime. 

Our Goals

For our students to gain a detailed understanding, sophisticated appreciation and critical awareness:
1. … of the nature and complexity of human thought, of its critical and creative possibilities, and of the longstanding
        and continuing contributions (and reactions) to central defining moments in world civilization;
2. … of the core problems, issues, and approaches, first delineated and associated with philosophical inquiry,
        and of the ways in which different (sometimes unstated) assumptions shape, determine and constrain fields of
        human inquiry; 
3. … of the possible ramifications and innate complexity of even basic philosophical ideas, and the ability to
        adjudge and evaluate such notions in light of the purposive aspects of human existence.

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