Program Description Philosophy is the critical and systematic study of the fundamental assumptions at play in the entire range of human activity. It concerns itself with explorations into the nature of reality, human knowledge, moral and scientific reasoning, art and society. The study of philosophy fosters the ability to think critically and innovatively, to communicate in a logical manner, to interpret and evaluate core concepts and theories in a number of disciplines and to articulate well-reasoned arguments. These competencies are vital to public discourse in a flourishing democracy and are particularly useful in such professions as law, medicine, business and public administration. Recent studies have demonstrated that students who have completed a program in philosophy score significantly higher than all other humanities and social sciences students on standardized tests for admission to graduate and professional study. The program’s first-year courses are designed to introduce students to philosophy and to assist them in the development of analytical skills. Second-year courses apply these skills to historical and contemporary issues. Upper-division courses allow for some narrowing of focus, either in the direction of applied ethics and political philosophy or in the direction of traditional problems of epistemology and metaphysics. Students may include specified courses from political studies or liberal studies in their program of study.