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Department of Philosophy
Professors: B. Andrew(chair), M. Friquegnon, D. Kolak, P. Mandik, J. Peterman, E. Steinhart
Associate Professors: B. Vilhauer, S. Thompson
Philosophy concerns the most present, persistent, and difficult questions that confront us: Is there a God? Is the world around me really as I experience it and how could I ever know? Is being good good for anything? We rarely find a certain answer to any such questions and, yet, they are not just intellectual exercises. We need answers to these questions and repeatedly in our lives experience the discomfort of not having them. The popular view of philosophy is that it concerns one's attitude or outlook toward life. In actual practice it develops the means to investigate and evaluate all aspects of our experience and thinking. It is the fundamental practice for the proper uses (and exposing the abuses) of reason in our lives.
Philosophy investigates many aspects of our thinking and experience. In classes such as ethics, logic, and aesthetics, philosophy examines procedures and standards, if there can be any, for proper behavior, thinking, and feeling. Metaphysics examines the nature of space and time and the conditions of experience. Epistemology looks at how we know what we think that we know and the limits of knowledge. Many areas of our experience have separate philosophical inquiries dedicated to furthering our ability to discuss and understand them: language, art, education, religion, science, love, gender, mind, history, politics, law, and mathematics. Many famous thinkers have offered advice on how to pursue inquiry or catalogued the results of their own efforts, and the department offers regular seminars in the work of a single thinker, such as Plato, Aristotle, Spinoza, Kant, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, among others.
Undergraduate degrees in philosophy prepare one for positions requiring clear reasoning, problem analysis, articulating a viewpoint or defending it in writing. The philosophy major is excellent preparation for managing or supervising in business or government, law, computers and software development, sales, and professional writing. In fact, philosophers' love of language has led many to careers in law, journalism, comedy, and theater. Philosophy majors score well on graduate entrance exams including the GREs, LSATs, and the GMATs. Graduate degrees prepare one for college teaching, consulting on ethical questions to hospitals and businesses, and administrative positions in education and elsewhere.
William Paterson University
300 Pompton Road
Wayne, New Jersey 07470
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