What is Philosophy?
Philosophy is among the oldest of intellectual disciplines. Courses often consider questions like:
“What is knowledge?”
“What is truth?”
“Does God exist?”
Undergraduate studies in Philosophy fit well into many pre-professional programs, including law school. Emphasizing careful, deep, and critical analysis of concepts and problems, Philosophy is an excellent major for students seeking business and government careers that require a liberal arts background.
In this major, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics are combined in a multidisciplinary effort to study modern political science, questions of political philosophy, pursue social scientific research, and apply economic analysis in problem-solving. The PPE combined major is not a triple major; rather, it strives to provide a broad exposure to these three fields.
Philosophy at Western
Philosophy courses at Western explore traditional areas of focus, such as ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, and the history of philosophy. Through a collaborative study of these topics, the department faculty helps students develop valuable skills, such as critical thinking, critical reading, analytic writing, and effective speaking. Studies consistently show that Philosophy majors do better than anyone else when it comes to verbal reasoning and analytic skills (as revealed by scores on the Graduate Record Exam).
Western’s Philosophy Department includes winners of the Peter J. Elich Excellence in Teaching Award (our University’s top award for teaching), and the Paul J. Olscamp Research Award (our University’s top award for scholarship). The department was also recognized as one of the top eight undergraduate programs in the country by The Philosophical Gourmet Report.
In this major, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics are combined in a multidisciplinary effort to study modern political science, questions of political philosophy, pursue social scientific research, and apply economic analysis in problem solving. The multidisciplinary trio provides a foundation in philosophy, logic, critical thinking, and political processes within the U.S. and in the international system, and the functioning of the economy with attention to economic analysis tools. Students are given preparation in the foundational materials of each of these fields, and encouraged to explore classes at the intersection of political and economic issues. Because it draws on three different research disciplines, this combined major strives to provide students with an interdisciplinary set of skills related to critical reasoning and analysis, problem solving and decision making, and social scientific research. The PPE combined major is not a triple major; rather, it strives to provide a broad exposure to these three fields.
Western’s Economics Department is part of the College of Business and Economics. The Department of Political Science and Department of Philosophy are part of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
PHIL 310 – Theory of Knowledge
PHIL 355 – Aesthetics and the Philosophy of Art
PHIL 360 – Society, Law and Morality
PHIL 403 – Philosophy of Language
Hands-on-Experience and Internships
Some students work with the department or Career Services Center to find internships. Examples of recent student internships include the WA State House of Representatives and the Whatcom County Office of Public Defenders.
Students are encouraged to join the Philosophy Club which meets weekly for pizza and hosts a popular annual student conference.
Students are encouraged to join clubs in any of the three disciplines:
- Economics: WWU Student Economics Association (SEA)
- Philosophy: Philosophy Club
What can you do with Philosophy?
Undergraduate studies in Philosophy fit well into many pre-professional programs, including law school. Emphasizing careful, deep, and critical analysis of concepts and problems, Philosophy is an excellent major for students seeking business and government careers which require a liberal arts background.
The Politics/Philosophy/Economics (PPE) major prepares its graduates for careers in public policy and public service, consulting, journalism (reporting on political and economic issues), law, and international affairs. An excellent pre-law major, PPE also offers suitable preparation for graduate study in any of the participating disciplines. PPE majors have gone on to some of the nation's most prestigious law and professional schools, to successful careers in business, public service, policy-making and journalism, and to graduate studies in various sub-fields.
Employers of Recent Western Graduates:
- New York City Law Department: Paralegal
- Washington State House of Representatives: Legislative Assistant to Representative Kristine Lytton
- Western Washington University: Veterans Program Coordinator
- Urban/Regional Planner