Why study philosophy?

Why study philosophy?

By studying philosophy at Macquarie you will gain:

  • Knowledge: Understanding of some central concepts, theories and arguments in many philosophical traditions and fields of inquiry
  • Skills: Critical thinking and reasoning skills, problem solving skills, creative skills, and communication skills
  • Philosophical values, and social and ethical values

What is philosophy?

Philosophy is both a subject and a way of thinking.

As a subject, philosophy asks, and seeks to answer, fundamental questions about many areas of human life and inquiry. These include questions about the relationship between the mind and the body; the existence of God; the nature of human fulfilment and alienation; the status of moral beliefs and aesthetic judgements; the nature of knowledge; and the relationship between the world and our concepts and modes of reasoning.

Philosophers are also concerned with contemporary social and political issues, such as:

  • economic inequality
  • the environmental crisis
  • gender relations
  • animal welfare
  • Indigenous rights

As a way of thinking, philosophy puts an emphasis on thinking for yourself rather than relying on someone else’s authority. By studying philosophy, you learn how to think for yourself better: to reflect on your views, to give reasons for them, and to understand and evaluate other positions and arguments. The kind of thinking developed by the study of philosophy is important in many different professional contexts, which is why philosophy graduates enjoy good employability.

Philosophy Major

Through the Major in Philosophy students will become skilled in the art of philosophical questioning, the construction of philosophical arguments, and the evaluation of philosophical beliefs. Students will be able to choose from a wide variety of courses that cover a plurality of internationally relevant philosophical traditions and fields of enquiry, including logic, theory of knowledge, philosophy of science, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, phenomenology and existential philosophy, aesthetics, social philosophy, ethics and applied ethics. The Philosophy major will develop creative thinking, communication and problem-solving skills which are invaluable in all professions today.

Philosophy Minor and Philosophy Electives

A 'Minor' is 12 distinct credit points from an approved Major, including 6 distinct credit points at 300-level. A Minor is an excellent way of completing your Major area of study with an interesting and useful program of study.

Many of our students take Philosophy units in order to help them excel in other areas of specialisation. Studying philosophy enhances your critical thinking skills, your ability to analyse and construct arguments, your ability to comprehend complex ideas, and your capacity to communicate clearly and persuasively.

Here are some suggestions for Minors in Philosophy that are compatible with Majors in other disciplines: Psychology Major with a Minor in Philosophy; Law Major with a Minor in Philosophy; Science/Computing Major with a Minor in Philosophy; Sociology Major with a Minor in Philosophy; Education Major with a Minor in Philosophy.

You can study individual Philosophy units without taking the major or minor in Philosophy. Many students simply take one or two Philosophy units to complement the rest of their degree. For example, our units in social philosophy and ethics go well with units in law, politics and economics; our units in logic and philosophy of language go well with units in computing and mathematics.

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