Department of Philosophy
Philosophy questions authority, and holds that the unexamined life is not worth living. It attracts highly-intelligent, thoughtful students interested in asking serious questions about life, the world, and themselves. We teach students how to think carefully and critically about the choices offered to them in life, so that they can realize their full potential. Philosophy encourages individualism, independent thought, intellectual curiosity, and personal responsibility.
Students often ask “What can I do with a philosophy degree? What career choices are open to me?” The answers will surprise you. (For instance, did you know that philosophy majors have higher mid-career salaries than business majors?) Find out what you can do with a degree in philosophy.
Topics covered in philosophy courses:
- Ethics and the Good Life: What is happiness and how do we achieve it? What is the "good life?" Is it the pursuit of money and consumer goods, as many people in our society seem to think - or is it something greater?
- Philosophies of Love and Sex: Why is modern culture sex-obsessed - and why are so many sexually dissatisfied? Can there be true love without sex? Why is sexual orientation central to our personal identity?
- Environmental Philosophy: Do we have moral obligations to nature, and to future generations? What are the beneficial, as opposed to exploitative, uses of technology? Do animals have rights?
- Metaphysics: Can we prove that God exists? Are our actions free, or are they determined by factors beyond our control? Is the mind the same thing as the brain, or is it something far more mysterious? Is there life after death?
- Social and Political Philosophy: What does it mean to speak of a "just society?" Does justice entail equality, or are some social inequalities both necessary and beneficial? What are rights, and how do we know that we have them?
- Theory of Knowledge: Is reality a construction of our minds? Can we know how things really are, or only how they appear to us? What is truth? Is there such a thing as absolute truth, or is everything relative?
- Philosophy of Art and Beauty: What is art and why do human beings feel the need to create it? Is the nature of beauty timeless, or relative to cultures or historical periods?
Our department boasts an active Philosophy Club and nationally-recognized honor society, Phi Sigma Tau. Annual events include a holiday party in December, an end-of-the year party and Honor Society induction in May, and other meetings organized by students and their faculty advisor.
We are also home to two educational institutes:
- The Institute for Peace and Social Justice has sponsored concerts, film discussions, reading groups, and public lectures by distinguished scholars speaking on topics related to social, political, and environmental issues. For more information on the Institute and its activities contact its director, Professor Arthur Lothstein.
- The mission of the Institute for the Study of Democracy and Liberalism (ISDL) is to promote a non-ideological inquiry into both ancient and modern forms of democracy and liberalism. The Institute exists to assist the larger LIU-Post community in the all-important, and always urgent, civic engagement with democracy and liberalism. ISDL hosts numerous events on campus such as the Student Philosophy Luncheons, a Lecture series, and yearly invitation-only Student Colloquia. If you would like to learn more about the Institute, or receive e-mail updates about future events, please contact the director, Professor Shawn Welnak.