Why Study Philosophy at CSB/SJU?

Dewey says philosophy is necessary, and maybe it is; people operate on philosophical assumptions all the time when they claim that stealing is wrong, or that they know they’re sitting in a chair. But why should you study it in college?

  • Interesting classes. Philosophy’s search for truth can connect to any subject matter. We teach courses on minds, knowledge, literature, the environment, justice, identity, and ethics. Our students are often saying “I never thought of that before!”
  • Great questions. How do you know you’re not dreaming right now? How can matter be conscious? What sort of life is the best one for a human being? What makes you you? What is meaning in life? What is justice, and how can we achieve it?
  • Thinking and dialogue. Most philosophy courses are discussion-based, so that students work together to explore philosophical questions and construct their understanding of texts and ideas.
  • Transferrable skills. Philosophy majors get good at articulating ideas, asking focused questions, making clear arguments, reading difficult texts—all skills that have broad application in many professions, and which are in demand in all sectors of the workforce—including in leadership and entrepreneurship.
  • Public good. Our major is built around the idea that philosophy is good for people outside academic life. It offers personal enrichment as you reflect on personal beliefs and values. It offers analysis of concepts like power, truth, consciousness and even humor that have applications in politics, culture, science, and policy.
  • Coping with life. Human life can be messy and difficult. Philosophy helps you come to grips with ambiguity and complexity, and helps you resist the urge for the quick and easy answers that are all too easy to settle for.

College of Saint Benedict
Saint John’s University

Erica Stonestreet
Chair, Philosophy Department
SJU Quad 362F

Laura Schmitz
Department Coordinator
SJU Quad 362D