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Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

Welcome to the Messiah University Department of Philosophy. We are a department of caring and accomplished philosophers who are serious about our Christian faith, reason and the deep connections between the two. Our students explore life's most fundamental questions as they learn to think clearly, analytically and creatively about controversial ideas, develop and articulate their own distinctly Christian worldview, and learn to write and speak clearly and persuasively.

"What do you teach?"

The department offers a wide variety of courses in contemporary analytic philosophy, contemporary continental philosophy, logic, ethics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and the history of philosophy. Students also have the opportunity to work directly with faculty on our ongoing research projects, study abroad for a semester at Oxford University, and present their best papers at national and regional philosophy conferences.

"What skills will I develop?"

Philosophy helps students work out the foundations of their faith and rationally defend it. It also excels at teaching logical reasoning and reading comprehension skills, both of which are essential to success in nearly any desirable career. It equally excels at teaching students how to compose and clearly articulate the best arguments for their own positions, be those in matters of philosophy or matters of business. Furthermore, the ability to think logically and carefully about difficult questions is a great benefit to students' personal and spiritual development. It expands their view of the world, teaches them to make sound, well-reasoned decisions and helps them develop a degree of maturity, moral awareness, and rational self-governance that is sorely needed in America today.

"What can I do with it?"

Contrary to a popular myth, philosophy graduates enjoy the best career advancement results in the liberal arts. According to The Wall Street Journal, the median mid-career salary for a philosophy major is $81,200, which is far above the norm[1]. On average, philosophy majors score higher than any others except mathematics and physics on the Law School Admissions Test and the Graduate Management Admissions Test, and they consistently outscore all other majors on the verbal and analytical sections of the Graduate Record Examination. This is no accident. Our majors acquire skills in reading comprehension and in clear, rigorous, analytical reasoning that serve them extraordinarily well both in their careers and in life. Students interested in careers in law, business, economics, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medical school, or Christian ministry are all well-suited for studies in philosophy.

"Do I want this?"

That, we submit, is the better question to ask. To our knowledge, no one ever begins a serious study in philosophy on account of greed or vanity. In nearly all cases, students instead pursue it on account of their love of truth and their desire for real knowledge thereof. That is what philosophy is all about; we seek answers to fundamental questions about reality, humanity, God, the nature of right and wrong, and indeed truth itself. Students passionate about these questions are ideal candidates for studying philosophy. By having this passion they are already philosophers of sorts; the remaining question is, 'Will they major in it?'

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