Over 2,000 years ago, the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, said, "All persons by nature desire understanding." Philosophy pursues answers to some of the deepest and widest ranging questions people ask about human life and the role of humans in the larger scheme of things.

What is the meaning of life? What are our obligations to other humans and to natural objects? Does anything exist beyond what we can see, hear or touch? Is there such a thing as knowledge, and what can we know for certain?

Systematic reflection on such questions lies at the heart of philosophical study.

The field of applied philosophy has emerged in the last few decades as people have discovered the need to develop philosophical skills: critical thinking, understanding ethical concepts and formulating principles to help solve pressing contemporary problems. Some examples of new areas of study and research are medical ethics, environmental ethics and business ethics.

Philosophy courses are worthwhile both in their own right and as a complement to study in other disciplines. Owing to its careful analytical and critical approach to answering enduring questions, philosophy also serves as good preparation for work in fields such as law, medicine, civil service, and business.

Updated October 13 2016 by Student & Academic Services