Why Study Philosophy at New College?
One distinctive feature of our Philosophy program is that it immerses you in both analytical and European continental philosophy. That allows our students to make connections that many professional philosophers are incapable of reaching, because they lack such broad training.
Philosophy is very much about developing a perspective on issues. We want you to get to know the work that has already been generated in the field, but we also want you to begin to develop your own thinking about issues, your own evaluations of arguments, so you can make your own contributions.
The pursuit of philosophy contributes to understanding ourselves and the world around us in at least three different ways.
• First, it affords an opportunity to acquire an appreciation of the Western intellectual tradition (through the exploration of classical, medieval and modern thought). Pursuing this opportunity will give students specific content knowledge about the various historical periods of Western philosophy and Western culture in general, and about contemporary philosophical thought.
• Second, it provides the symbolic methods necessary for investigating principles of reasoning and patterns of argument (through an analysis of the relationship between language, logic and the world). Pursuing this opportunity will develop competencies in critical thinking.
• Third, it stimulates an appreciation of human values and interpersonal relations (through the consideration of alternative conceptions of ethical, social and political values). Such study is critical for communication with others, particularly those who may not share one’s own worldview.
The study of philosophy, therefore, should contribute toward the development of your analytical problem-solving capability and ability to deal effectively with issues involving human values. With its concentration on analysis, clarity and argument, the study of philosophy is particularly well suited for the development of critical thinking. Almost all Philosophy courses address spoken and written communication through class discussion and written assignments. As a Philosophy student, you will get extensive feedback on your writing, and you’ll be encouraged to pursue topics of special interest to you, in depth.