Our Mission

The mission of the Philosophy Department is to offer training in all major areas of philosophy in the analytic tradition for both undergraduate and graduate students. The Department also offers a number of service courses for other University departments and for the University's General Education requirements.

The Philosophy Department at Wayne State University boasts a distinguished and ongoing tradition of pursuing philosophy in a lively and constructive fashion. The Philosophy Department offers courses of study leading to the B.A. degree, with a major or a minor in Philosophy, at the undergraduate level, and to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the graduate level.

You are invited to browse these pages to meet our faculty or find out more about our undergraduate and graduate programs. Our website also includes information about our department's Learning Outcomes and Program Enhancement, our 2008 Program Self-Study, and our By-Laws and Promotion & Tenure Guidelines.
 

What Is Philosophy?

Philosophy is concerned with fundamental issues that arise when human beings think about the nature of the universe, their own nature, their relationship to the world and to one another: Is the universe really physical or is it the product of some mind? What is mind, and what is its relation to matter? Are we capable of free choice or is our every act determined by past events? What makes for a morally right act or a just society? How good is our evidence for the beliefs we hold? These are the kinds of questions that are addressed by philosophers.

The primary methods of philosophy are not the empirical methods of disciplines like physics or history, however. The answers to philosophical problems are not to be found "under rocks"; the answers are to be found, not by looking hard, but by thinking hard. Philosophy's methods involve the critical evaluation of fundamental assumptions and the construction and evaluation of arguments that criticize or support philosophical positions. 

Students of philosophy who become adept at analysis of issues, concepts, and evidence, who are able to construct and critique arguments, and who can forge and express coherent views on complex matters are well-prepared to enter the fields of law, medicine, the ministry, and, of course, education. In addition to critical and writing skills, students of philosophy acquire knowledge of value theory, political philosophy, ethics, logic, metaphysics, and epistemology, which provide excellent preparation for careers in the above fields, as well as many others.

 

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