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Indiana University Northwest

Department of History, Philosophy, Political Science and Religious Studies

What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the use of reason to gain a deeper understanding of fundamental questions that bear on the human condition. Does God exist? Is there an afterlife? Are we able to think, feel, remember, etc. because of physical processes going on in our brain or because we have a non-physical soul? What kind of moral principles should we adopt in our life? What, if anything, can we know with certainty about the world? These are all examples of the kinds of philosophical questions that have been at the center of the discipline since the time of the ancient Greeks.

The philosophy program at IU Northwest is designed to contribute to the intellectual training of its undergraduate students and to acquaint them with the most important developments in the history of ideas. Courses in the program emphasize clear and cogent thinking about fundamental problems, locate the origins of these problems in the writings of the great philosophers, and provide in-depth examinations of proposed solutions.

The study of philosophy is not only valuable in its own right, but has beneficial practical consequences as well. Philosophy teaches one how to read, write, and think critically, three abilities that are extremely valuable to employers. A degree in philosophy is excellent preparation for any career that requires clear thinking and strong analytical skills. This includes the law, medicine, journalism, teaching, and the clergy, as well as work in corporations, government, and non-profit organizations.

Thanks to their excellent reasoning skills, philosophy majors tend to be especially successful when taking standardized tests (such as the GRE, the MCAT, or the LSAT) to compete for admission to graduate school.