The study of philosophy provides students with the unique opportunity to carefully analyze and thoughtfully respond to the fundamental ideas and basic concerns present in human experience. It requires the constructive reexperiencing of those problems and doubts in one’s own life which are also found in the writings of the principal representatives of the eastern and western philosophical traditions. Accordingly, the program places foundational importance on the history of philosophy both East and West. This emphasis on the history of philosophy East and West is unique in the California State University system. The goal is to become acquainted with, evaluate and respond critically and imaginatively to what has been and continues to be of fundamental importance in human experience and to do so in a scholarly manner with an eye toward appropriating the best for oneself and one’s culture.
The program also provides for the development of the analytical, imaginative, and critical skills commonly required for graduate work in philosophy as well as other fields of study.
The philosophy major offers a broad education in the liberal arts, an excellent background for advanced professional training, and an opportunity for its graduates to develop the skills in communication and problem solving which are frequently valued by employers in a wide variety of fields. Opportunities are available in any field in which communication, problem solving, creative imagination, and logic-based critical thinking are essential, such as education, business and industry, medicine, politics, theology, government and public administration. The philosophy major is excellent preparation for law school because it cultivates the analytic and reasoning skills necessary for a successful career in law. Philosophers are trained to be critical and imaginative thinkers; and in the process they develop skills in speaking and writing clearly.
An undergraduate major in philosophy serves as an excellent preparation for training in many professions and philosophy is an outstanding second major for almost any field.