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Department of Philosophy


Why Philosophy?

Athena Teaching Student

Overall, philosophy is an excellent part of any student's general University Education. Courses in philosophy can be taken towards several degrees; and virtually all programs of study at SDSU can be enriched by the inclusion of one or more of our courses. Masters programs are offered for students who wish to go on to do graduate study in Philosophy.

Philosophy at San Diego State University

Welcome to the department of philosophy at San Diego State University, home of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs.

The philosophy faculty is dedicated to excellence in teaching and research. We offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programs in philosophy; we offer an undergraduate minor in philosophy; and we serve more than 80 majors and 30 graduate students.Our faculty includes six core faculty and seven lecturers. We pursue a diverse set of research agenda, both in terms of foci and methodology, and produce work of the highest quality.

The department offers strengths in ancient philosophy, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, logic, ethics, Continental philosophy, and Asian philosophy. We aim at diversity and a broad range of coverage, rather than concentration in one or two areas of philosophy.

Together, through coursework and joint research, faculty and students investigate perennial philosophical problems. Students are encouraged to participate in three annual conferences each fall: the Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, the Stephen L. Weber Conference in Philosophy (graduate), and the annual SoCal Philosophy Conference (undergraduate, graduate, and faculty).

In the spring, students are encouraged to showcase their original research, scholarship projects, or creative activities as part of the San Diego State University Student Research Symposium. Many graduate students in the department are given the opportunity to teach an undergraduate critical thinking course and/or work as Instructional Student Assistants.

The department also houses the Institute of Ethics and Public Affairs, which aims to be a resource to members of the campus community, the larger community of scholars, and the greater San Diego community who wish to pursue thoughtful discussion and research as a means of clarifying moral problems.

If you are interested member of the general public, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your ideas and concerns, and if you are an alumna or alumnus checking in on your home institution, please let us know how things are going. Send us your contact information so that we may keep you informed of departmental events and send you our bi-annual newsletter.

Why Study Philosophy?

One good reason is that it's interesting and fun. Another is that the kinds of questions philosophy asks are unavoidable if one wants to live a thoughtful, responsible, and fruitful life. While the courses are demanding and rigorous, many students find the rewards are priceless. Philosophy also develops skills that are widely transferable to other areas of study and to the professional world outside the university. Because of its unique emphasis on clarity, argumentation, and critical evaluation, even a single course in Philosophy.

  • Develops students' powers of reasoning.
  • Improves their ability to critique the views of others.
  • Teaches them to get to the heart of an issue, and to distinguish it from less important matters.
  • Clarifies and improves their communication, both written and spoken.
  • Helps them to organize their thoughts rationally and present them in a clear, coherent manner.

What Jobs Does Philosophy Prepare One For?

Paradoxically, the answer is "all and none"--all, and none in particular. Because of its general and abstract nature, Philosophy does not by itself prepare one for any particular job or career outside of teaching. But because the skills it teaches are ones that improve people's performance and success in any job or career, employers highly value employees who have studied philosophy. Philosophy contributes to the development of analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills more than does any other discipline. Moreover, because of the rapidly changing nature of the world of work, employers value employees who are flexible and adaptable to change, and who can apply their abilities and experience to a wide variety of unpredictable situations and challenges. The education provided by the study of Philosophy is ideal for meeting these employment needs.

The Wall Street Journal Ranks Philosophy 11th Best Profession! (Out of 200)

It's pretty cool to beat out parole officers, butchers, people who study meteors, and (last and apparently least) roustabouts:

SDSU Philosophy Department