Why Philosophy?

Why Study Philosophy at Macalester?

If you find yourself passionately wondering about life’s most pressing questions about reality, value, and meaning—in other words, if you have been bitten by the “philosophy bug”—we invite you to explore the many benefits of studying philosophy at Macalester. In the department, you’ll have the opportunity to:

  • Live the life of the liberal arts: The central topics of philosophy—the nature of reason and knowledge, the structure of physical and mental reality, the meaning and value of life, how one ought to live and act, and the origin and function of society—are at the heart of a liberal arts education.
  • Work closely with faculty on projects of your own choosing: You’ll be encouraged in our department to take intellectual initiative to pursue the questions that pursue you—in other words, to learn about philosophy by doing it yourself.
  • Perfect your analytic and verbal skills: As a philosophy student, you will get to develop your capacity for critical reading/thinking, good reasoning and argumentative writing.
  • Be a part of a vibrant community: From MacThought (the student philosophy club) through “treat days” in the lounge to the department’s colloquium series, opportunities abound for you to have stimulating, informal conversations with fellow students and faculty alike.
  • Make connections to other disciplines: You’ll have the advantage of being able to look at an issue from the perspective of other fields of study.
  • Prepare for a variety of life/career options: Our students not only go on to graduate or law school but also branch out in many different directions, including medicine and business.