Unlike most areas of study at UFV, philosophy is often an unknown subject for the entering student. It is often confused with psychology, religion, and mysticism. Many people also have the impression that philosophy is difficult, obscure, and irrelevant. In fact, philosophy is taught in many North American high schools; in some places, it is even taught in elementary schools. Philosophy can be studied and enjoyed at various levels by students with diverse interests.
Studying philosophy at UFV helps you to pose questions that go to the heart of the matter at hand, and to produce and evaluate various answers to questions that may range from the prosaic, such as, "What kind of car should I buy?" and "Who should I vote for?" to the most profound, such as "Why should I obey the law?" and "Is there a God?" In the process of acquiring these skills of investigation, philosophy students learn to express ideas clearly and logically, while becoming aware of the power and limits of logic and reason. In addition, students study some of the most historically influential ideas and great literature. Students are not asked to memorize a bunch of dates or quotations, but rather to investigate, dialogue, and develop critical thinking skills.
Why study philosophy?
Contemplate important questions
The study of philosophy enables us to think well about the most important questions in our lives: What do I want to accomplish with my life? Does my life have any purpose? Do I live in a just society? Does God really exist? How should I treat others? The only way we can be satisfied with our answers is by finding them for ourselves, not by memorizing the ideas of others or being intimidated by the “wisdom of the ages.” We must learn to think clearly and creatively for ourselves.
Develop critical thinking skills
In order to think clearly, philosophy students learn methods for thinking that avoid basic mistakes in reasoning. In order to think creatively, philosophy students examine some of the outstanding original ideas of past and present to discover where our ideas originated and to use them as a starting point for our thinking. Studying philosophy at UFV will help you apply philosophy to current issues using critical analysis, while applying knowledge of philosphy in your research. You will learn to adopt a reflective stance toward your own worldviews and beliefs.
Learn to think for yourself
Since Socrates, the founder of Western philosophy, was asked to drink hemlock by the citizens of Athens in 399 B.C., philosophy has had a subversive reputation because it makes us think for ourselves. The reputation is well deserved. By studying philosophy, you will learn to and ask fundamental questions about what exists, who we are, and how to live, as well as identify major trends and issues in philosophy.
Reach out to the wider community
Studying philosophy will teach you to communicate effectively and respectfully through classroom presenations, seminar discussions, essays, and online. You will be able to facilitate constructive interaction between people of different backgrounds and interests.
Develop logical arguments
Studying philosophy will help you assess primary and secondary sources in philosophy, develop responses to philosophical positions and imaginative resolutions to issues. You will learn to develop sound arguments, evaluating diverse approaches to problem solving.