at University of Utah

What is philosophy? The word itself derives from Greek roots that mean love of wisdom. A substantive and precise characterization of the field of philosophy, and its practice, is difficult. In part, this is because philosophy is so all-encompassing. Nearly every academic discipline is a historical outgrowth of philosophy; indeed, ‘PhD’ stands for Philosophy Doctorate an advanced degree offered in most disciplines in the university. Because of its broad nature, contemporary philosophy is divided into numerous subfields, each of which would be easier to characterize than the whole of philosophy. (Recent effort to characterize philosophy.)

“The study of the most general and abstract features of the world and categories with which we think: mind, matter, reason, proof, truth, etc. In philosophy, the concepts with which we approach the world themselves become the topic of enquiry. A philosophy of a discipline such as history, physics, or law seeks not so much to solve historical, physical, or legal questions, as to study the concepts that structure such thinking, and to lay bare their foundations and presuppositions. In this sense philosophy is what happens when a practice becomes self-conscious. The borderline between such ‘second-order’ reflection, and ways of practising the first-order discipline itself, is not always clear: philosophical problems may be tamed by the advance of a discipline, and the conduct of a discipline may be swayed by philosophical reflection. At different times there has been more or less optimism about the possibility of a pure or ‘first’ philosophy, taking an a priori standpoint from which other intellectual practices can be impartially assessed and subjected to logical evaluation and correction. The contemporary spirit of the subject is hostile to any such possibility, and prefers to see philosophical reflection as continuous with the best practice of any field of intellectual enquiry. ”
(Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, ed. Simon Blackburn. Oxford University Press, online 2nd edition, 2014)

Why study Philosophy?

Practical value of a philosophical education

Intrinsic value of a philosophical education

Why Philosophy at U of Utah?

Our faculty and degrees

Flexibility of coursework

Benefits for double Majors