Philosophy (PHI)
Philosophy at Sinclair provides students the opportunity to analyze and thoughtfully respond to the fundamental questions that arise from the full range of human experience.
These include questions about the nature of reality, justice, truth, meaning, good, evil and morality. It involves both questioning one's assumptions about the world and self and constructively piecing together consistent worldviews.
Philosophy at Sinclair stems from the following basic question:
Can we be truly educated if we do not know how to think well about the essential questions of human life?
The program can show students how some of the world's greatest thinkers have answered such questions. But more importantly, philosophy gives students the foundation to answer those questions for themselves.
We often think within very narrow limits and boundaries. We often let others think for us and define "truth". We depend on various "authorities" and "experts" like parents, the media, clergy and teachers to tell us what to believe. Sometimes our ideas are based on unquestioned assumptions, uncritically held ideas and unanalyzed opinions. Just as we wouldn't eat just anything that is placed in front of us at a restaurant, so to we shouldn't adopt the scores of ideas and opinions uncritically that are thrown at us daily.
Philosophy is a discipline that encourages students to be free thinkers. The word "philosophy" comes from two Greek words meaning "the love of wisdom". A true lover of wisdom has the ability and willingness to think beyond his or her own worlds into new perspectives.
Taking Sinclair's philosophy classes helps develop analytical, intelligent decision-making, and oral and written communication skills.
These skills are essential to preparation for any career and contribute to being a well-informed and well-thinking citizen. They are also good indicators of much higher success of major exams like the LSAT, GRE and GMAT.
Sinclair's philosophy courses involve both the study of the history of philosophy and important philosophers and engagement in philosophical dialogue. Introduction to Philosophy provides a survey of the Western philosophical traditions (with Eastern and Latin American traditions as well) and raises some of the key human questions and some of the answers. Courses in Logic involve frequent exercises to detect good from bad thinking and to solidify one's argumentative and writing skills. Ethics courses examine both the theories that have had a profound impact on examining ethical problems and what constitutes the good life and specific social and personal ethical issues and dilemmas.
Students who major in philosophy typically go on to teach at the college or university level or continue their education in preparation for careers such as law, politics, medicine, computer science, journalism, publishing, public relations, business and management.
From the American Philosophical Association:
"Philosophy is quite unlike any other field. It is unique both in its methods and in the nature and breadth of its subject matter. Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field of study or endeavor. No brief definition expresses the richness and variety of philosophy. It may be described in many ways. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles of conduct. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other individuals and other cultures; it enhances one's ability to perceive the relationships among the various fields of study; and it deepens one's sense of the meaning and variety of human experience."