Philosophy tackles questions that we all face as creatures alive to the world. The first question, perhaps, is how we should live our life. That question gives way to related questions about the nature of the world, what we can know, how words do things, our political arrangements, our belief in God, and our interest in the things we value (each other, the natural environment, works of art, music, movies,...). Many people think about these questions late in their life and anxiously, wondering about the life they’ve led. Those who study philosophy believe that the solutions to these questions are urgent and central to their happiness, and so they give their thinking over to them early and often.
Why Philosophy at Le Moyne?
At most colleges – and indeed at most graduate universities – philosophy departments are loyal to one of the two Western philosophical traditions of the past two hundred years: either continental philosophy (from the continent of Europe – chiefly Germany and France) or analytic philosophy (the dominant philosophical tradition in Great Britain and the U.S.). Le Moyne’s department of philosophy is unusual in being strongly represented in both traditions, so our students gain exposure to the full range of philosophical approaches practiced today.
We are a large philosophy department for a small college with a small number of majors: the ratio of majors to full-time faculty is less than two to one. This means, for majors, a dozen full-time faculty from whom you can choose several to work with closely and get to know well. The department’s areas of strength include social and political philosophy, aesthetics (i.e., philosophy of art), ethics, and the history of philosophy (particularly ancient and medieval philosophy).
Our majors have a fairly open course of study compared to other majors. Thus, as a philosophy major, you have time to pursue interdisciplinary interests, enhancing your philosophy degree with a minor or second major. Many of our majors have taken extensive courses in religious studies, political science, literature, foreign languages, theater arts, and music. It is also possible to be certified in Elementary/Special Education with a philosophy major.
If you are bright, motivated, and want to work on a specific project, you can apply for Departmental Honors in Philosophy.
There are several funded enrichment opportunities for philosophy majors at Le Moyne. These include travel to undergraduate conferences across the country, study abroad, internships, and post-graduate fellowships. Participation in Symposium, the student philosophy club, enriches your experience of the philosophy major.
Philosophy Courses and Requirements
If you would like to learn more about courses, requirements, and opportunities for the Philosophy major, please see the Le Moyne College catalog.
Philosophy’s Learning Goals
In the philosophy department, we have five goals for ourselves and for our students:
- Developing a philosophical understanding of the world through the eyes of others.
- Developing a philosophical understanding of the historicity of philosophical thought and of specific histories of philosophy.
- Developing the capacity to reason critically, question philosophically, and reflect intelligently on human situations, germinal philosophical texts, and philosophical arguments.
- Developing a mature discernment of philosophically significant issues in our own life-experiences.
- Preparing students for success in graduate school or professional post-graduate education, or other legitimate venues of learning and experience.