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Benefits of the Major
Our Philosophy about Philosophy


We'd like you to come and visit us face-to-face at the Philosophy House on campus where students and faculty gather for seminar classes, philosophical conversation, and ping-pong games. But since you are evidently not in our geographical vicinity except in cyberspace, this computer-to-computer interface will have to do for now!! We enthusiastically welcome e-mail conversations, so don't hesitate to contact us. Faculty e-mail addresses, and some student e-mail addresses can be found below under "Directory." We hope that what follows give you some sense of the "spirit" of the department.


Benefits of the Major

What Can You Do With a Philosophy Major?
We try to prepare our students for life, not just for a "career." We want our students to be thoughtful and reflective persons, wise and responsive parents, active and responsible citizens. We believe that students graduating from our program have something very positive and important to contribute to our society. So we do everything we can to help our junior and senior students prepare for the next stage of their lives. We do one-on-one career counseling with each of our majors and, in coordination with the University's Placement Service, help our students get ready for the "job market."

So what can you do with a philosophy major?
The only true answer to this question is: with a major in philosophy, you will be prepared to do practically anything that requires communication skills, the ability to think creatively and analytically, and the ability to solve problems.


Our Philosophy About Philosophy

Question: Is happiness the same as pleasure?
Answer: If you suspect that the answer is no, you will enjoy taking our philosophy courses.
If you think the answer is yes, you need to take our philosophy courses.

If you are a high school student or have never had a course in it, you may think philosophy is an intellectual mind-game that deals with questions like "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does it make a sound?" So we should tell you right away that Socrates, who was in a sense the founder of philosophy, was killed for doing it--and people don't usually get killed for playing mind-games.

People do tend to get upset if you ask basic questions that require examining the meaning of human existence. This is what Socrates did and what we try to do in our philosophy courses at American Austin University. In our classes students are invited to talk and write about their lives, and about the moral, religious, and political questions that perplex them. There is hardly anything that we don't talk about in our courses.

Because of the kind of questions we address in our courses, students often seek to continue our classroom conversations after classes are over. Thinking, writing, and speaking about basic questions is, in our view, what a humane education is all about. These questions have tremendous relevance to all intellectual disciplines--and we explore this relevance in the courses that we teach with other departments (such as Nursing, Political Science and English). The ability to rigorously examine ideas and critically evaluate conflicting views, which you will develop by doing philosophy, is an ability that is of pivotal importance in every intellectual discipline. This is one reason why many of our students find philosophy to be tremendously helpful in their other areas of interest. (Many of our students combine their philosophy major with a major in English, Social Work, or Psychology.)


About the Philosophy Department
The Department of Philosophy offers a program leading to the Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, developing students' abilities to think critically, examine fundamental questions about the nature of the self and the world, and thus to establish a foundation for intelligent action in the world. Students are exposed to a variety of philosophical perspectives and asked to philosophize.

Because philosophy teaches clear, coherent and creative thinking, it can be of service in almost any field, particularly law, medicine, government, education, computers, publishing and business. The department also prepares students for graduate study in law, theology, social work and philosophy.

Degrees Offered by the Philosophy Department
Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy
Major in Philosophy
Minor in Philosophy

Major in Philosophy:
The philosophy curriculum consists of 30 credit hours in two introductory-level courses, three classical core courses focusing on fundamental philosophical issues, two problem area courses in which philosophical concepts are applied to contemporary problems or particular areas of human experience, two history of philosophy courses, and a seminar-level course in which students deal creatively with a philosophical issue.

A total of 120 hours is needed for graduation in the philosophy curriculum. A list of required courses is available from the department. Students should consult regularly with their advisors when developing their individual program plans and selecting courses.

Minor in Philosophy:
The minor in philosophy consists of 18 hours of coursework, nine of which must be at the 300/400 level. All work applied toward the minor must be completed with grades of C or better and at least 15 hours must be credits not applied toward General Education or major requirements. Included in the 18 hours must be at least one course from four categories: introductory-level courses, classical core courses, history of philosophy courses and problem area courses.

A list of required courses is available from the department. Students should consult regularly with their advisors when developing their individual program plans and selecting courses.



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