Your journey in philosophy starts here.
Whatever your career aspirations, the study of philosophy can help in strengthening your preparation through developing your capacities to think and reason well and to deal critically and analytically with the ideas, concepts, problems, and methodologies central to your chosen profession. Yet the study of philosophy equips you not just with skills for a trade or profession; it equips you with an important skill for living. No matter where you go or what you do, you will always live day by day with yourself. One of the things philosophy does is to prepare you for this most important activity of living for and with yourself. This does not mean that it teaches you a selfish activity; rather that it helps to instill self-understanding. Philosophy helps you to learn by doing, by actively doing analysis, questioning, reflecting, and understanding.
The range of topics is broad, encompassing issues of values, knowledge, reality, religion, science, language, society, and more. The core fields in philosophy are logic, ethics, metaphysics, and the theory of knowledge. There are also many specialized fields, such as the philosophy of science, the philosophy of art, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. A student may wish to develop a special competence in one of the specialized fields, or in the philosophy of a given period (for example, in ancient philosophy or the philosophy of the 17th century), or in a particular school or style of philosophy (for example, in existentialism or in analytic philosophy).
Your support of the Department of Philosophy at UMass Amherst makes a difference in the lives of students both at the university and through the numerous outreach programs conducted throughout the year. Please consider supporting this important work.