Richland will be closed on Fridays during the summer semester.
Philosophy is the attempt to answer certain sorts of fundamental questions. For example, assume Mary is studying business. Her education in various classes entitles her to claim, for example, that she knows the law of supply and demand, or she knows the difference between a debit and a credit, or she knows the definition of the legal phrase "breach of contract." But how can she claim to know these things if she does not know what knowledge itself is? ‘What is knowledge’ is a fundamental question in philosophy. Assume Bob is studying to be a physicist. As a result of his education, he claims that electrons exist, are real. But how can he know if electrons are real unless he knows what reality itself is? "What is reality" is another fundamental question in philosophy. Finally, assume Ed is studying to be a nurse. His professional actions will be governed in part by the ethical codes of several professional organizations, the ethics guideline’s provided by his employer, and state and federal law. But if he does not know what right and wrong are in general, how can he know that any particular professional action he takes is right or wrong? In fact, how can he know that the professional codes and laws themselves are right or wrong? "What makes an action right or wrong" is a fundamental question in philosophy. Each of the example fields above, business, science, and nursing, have all made assumptions about knowledge, reality, and morality. Philosophy attempts to determine which of these assumptions are right and which are wrong.
Philosophy itself is not a viable career for most people – unless you want to teach philosophy – and then there are far fewer jobs than there are candidates. But it is actually a very good major for those who are not quite sure what they want to do with their lives. Undergraduate philosophy programs typically allow a wide range of freedom to take courses in other fields, so students can test their aptitude in different subjects. The reasoning and writing skills developed while studying philosophy transfer well to almost any other academic discipline. As a result, philosophy is also excellent preparation for graduate school in many different fields, including law, literature, social sciences, and other fields.