If you enjoy thinking about life’s big questions, you might be a natural philosopher. Philosophy engages in disciplined and imaginative thinking about the philosophical questions common to all humans by studying the works of great philosophers. Through analysis and discussion, you’ll learn how to think critically, and understand the origins of the ideas that influence us today.
Philosophy is literally the love of wisdom. Rather than studying a particular aspect of human history or culture, philosophy takes a step back and tries to understand the nature of all inquiry. Students of philosophy examine fundamental beliefs about who we are and the world we live in – beliefs most people take to be true but never examine systematically and critically. Philosophers consider such questions as: What is the meaning of life? How should I live my life? Why be moral? What is the best form of government? Are human beings immortal? Does God exist? What is knowledge? Does the world appear to us as it really is? What makes something right, or good, or beautiful?
If coming to an understanding of the human condition is the goal of a liberal arts education, then philosophy is essential to it. But philosophy also has a practical side, which we see whenever we debate social and political questions concerning the environment and our obligations to future generations, the distribution of wealth and opportunity in society, gender equity, the relationship between science and religion, and so on. Philosophy helps us to identify and defend what is most valuable to us.
The UW Philosophy Program prides itself on being small and student-focused; this is a place where you can work closely with professors and other students in small classes, reading great philosophers from the past, and thinking and writing about the big questions.
We have an excellent record of placing our students in graduate programs in Canada and the United States as well as overseas.