|Convener: Lisa Cassidy
Faculty: Mark Howenstein (SSHS)
James Morley (SSHS)
Anthony T. Padovano
About the Minor
The minor in Philosophy is recommended for all students, and students in any major or school are eligible for the minor.
According to the ancient Greeks, philosophers are 'lovers of wisdom.' Loving wisdom means asking life's "big questions" and daringly trying to answer those questions with one's own reasons. In philosophy classes at Ramapo we all become philosophers. And as philosophers, some questions we ask ourselves are: What is an argument, and why make one? Does God exist? What is the connection between my mind and body? How do we know we exist? What do we know for sure? How should we treat ourselves or other people? Are we free or determined? Several classes at Ramapo have a particularly practical emphasis. In these classes we might ask: Is globalization good for humankind? What are the arguments in favor of or against capitalism? Is euthanasia morally permissible? Should art ever be censored?
Students of philosophy study the classic answers to these questions, as well as formulate their own answers. In doing so, philosophy students develop excellent reading, writing, and critical thinking skills.
The best reason to be a philosophy minor is because one is curious about these "big questions." Yet there are more practical reasons, as well. Philosophical study is excellent preparation for graduate school. It has been well documented that those who study philosophy do better on graduate admissions tests (for law, medical, and graduate school) than those who did not.
More generally employers are looking for employees who have good critical thinking skills. Philosophy minors have been specially trained in how to think through long-standing problems in original ways. It is unlikely that anyone ever got a job because he could recite Plato's Allegory of the Cave. However, a skills-based background in philosophy can develop proficiency in communication, analysis, argumentation, and reflection, necessary for any position of responsibility. Philosophy has proved to be a good preparation for jobs in business, the helping professions, as well as public service.
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