West Chester University
West Chester, PA 19383
Email: Rose Sykes, Department Secretary
Dr. George Claghorn
Founding Chair of the Department of Philosophy
The Philosophy Department has moved. Come visit our new offices on the fifth floor of BPMC. Adjuncts are located in Ruby Jones Hall, Rm. 108.
Philosophy may sound dauntingly remote from our daily concerns, but its basic questions "What can I know? What may I hope? What must I do?" actually pose themselves throughout any thinking person's journey. And the skills it teaches — close reading, careful thinking, and the critique of ideas — apply to most areas of human endeavor. A background in philosophy is thus excellent training for many careers, and matchless preparation for life itself.
Almost 2500 years ago, Plato grounded Western philosophy in the study of “the good, the true, and the beautiful.” While ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics have remained fundamental to the field for millennia, philosophy today encompasses subjects the ancient Greeks scarcely dreamed of.
Thus, while the department’s programs are firmly grounded in philosophy’s past, offering courses in the traditional disciplines, there is an equally strong commitment to studies vital to the present day, including environmental, biomedical, and business ethics, feminist theory, conflict resolution, the interface of religion and science, and numerous other topics of contemporary concern.
And though philosophy and religious studies differ somewhat in their methods and aims, they share a common quest for uncommon knowledge. Consequently, the department, with a faculty well-qualified in each field, offers concentrations in both areas.
"When thinking about switching my major from Psychology to Philosophy I went through a back and fourth struggle of which one would be more useful when I step out into " the real world". What I came to discover and now appreciate every day is that Philosophy is an amazing foundation for literally any passion one desires to pursue."
"I didn't choose to study Philosophy; Philosophy chose me. I wanted to go to law school, and chose a different major to do so--but Philosophy has prepared me in ways I couldn't even imagine. Philosophy began the study of sciences, humanities, education...all of that comes from Philosophy. I love studying Philosophy because now I can do whatever I want, and I'm prepared for what the world (and law school) has to give me."
"At the age of ten, Jostein Gaarder's novel Sophie's World introduced me to the history of philosophy. From that time on, I learned that there existed people who actually devoted their lives to search for answers to what many would call unanswerable questions. Earlier, I was usually discouraged to ask deeper so-called unanswerable questions: 'thinking such thoughts can make you mad,' I was told. After having read Gaarder's novel, however, I was unstoppable."
"I’ve always been an insatiably inquisitive being concerned with the circumstances of existence and fascinated by human consciousness. I began my education at West Chester as an undeclared major, and throughout my struggle to choose a field of study, Philosophy was a discipline that I continuously held in the back of my mind. After much exploration and consideration, I decided to go ahead and commit to it. I must admit that I had my apprehensions."
"Choosing to major in philosophy is a life-changing decision. You will not walk away from college with the attitude that you merely fell into a major, got your degree and got out. You will be full of ideas and well-crafted opinions, all backed by a drive to enact positive change in whatever life or career path you choose to pursue."
"My first encounter with philosophy was at West Chester. I sure never saw myself studying philosophy. I graduated today and studying philosophy was one of the best decisions I ever made. The professors in the philosophy department are all people to look up to. I have never had a bad experience with anyone in the philosophy department. Learning about philosophy helped me concentrate on the big picture and I'm proud that I'm not graduating with a cliché pencil-thin career goal."