Why Study Philosophy?

Do animals have rights? What is the relation between a mind and its body? Can computers think? Can a machine have life? Are human actions free or determined? There are just a few of the questions we pursue, within the context of true liberal arts education.

Being a philosophy major at Pacific will open your mind and perspectives in ways you never even knew were possible. We don't just study philosophy, we practice philosophy — every day. You will develop a thorough understanding of ideas like morality, freedom, God, law, truth, science, life, and learning. And the Undergraduate Philosophy Conference we host every year brings students and speakers from across the country to our campus.

The Philosophy Program

The philosophy program at Pacific offers two distinct tracks: general philosophy and applied ethics. Besides courses in ethics and the history of philosophy, the program offers a variety of other courses, including bioethics, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, philosophy of law, philosophy of art and Asian philosophy. Other highlights of the program include:

  • The ability to develop intellectual independence, tolerance for different points of view, and freedom from dogmatism
  • Development of critical thinking skills, analytical skills, and communication skills
  • The Pacific University Undergraduate Philosophy Conference, an annual, two-day conference each spring attracting students from the Northwest and from across the country representing more than 20 states and Canada
  • A keynote address at the spring conference by a renowned philosopher — past speakers have included Susan Haack, L.A. Paul, Alva Noë, Daniel Dennett, Paul Churchland, Hilary Putnam, John Searle, Keith Lehrer, Catherine Elgin, John Perry, Hubert Dreyfus, and Jerry Fodor
  • A dedicated faculty of scholars who thrive on one-to-one interaction with students
  • Rigorous analysis of philosophical texts, discussion-based classes, exposure to alternate world views, and links between philosophy and other disciplines

Jobs in Philosophy

While philosophy is not (just) job training, it does cultivate abilities that lots of employers crave. People who study philosophy learn how to reason well and express their ideas clearly. Employers offering good jobs tend to prize these abilities. Some surveys have shown that philosophy majors score higher and earn more than peers majoring in other subjects. Philosophy delivers highly marketable, highly transferable skills. If your ideal career requires thinking, talking, or writing, we'll help you prepare. 

Philosophy Students

Students drawn to Pacific's philosophy program are naturally inquisitive, have strong analytical skills, are self-motivated, and are interested in cross-disciplinary studies. Students who major in philosophy often combine the program with study in other areas, such as biology, psychology or history. They bring a very serious dedication to reflect their own worldview and value system, and open themselves up to others. Philosophy majors enjoy exploring the philosophical foundations and issues raised in other disciplines such as science, law, religion, and art, and embrace researching, writing, and presenting a senior thesis in their final year.

Majors and Minors With Philosophy Classes (You Can Double Dip!)

Art History Major
Elective: PHIL 205, PHIL 206, PHIL 304, or PHIL 305

Comparative Religion Minor
Requirement: PHIL 309. Elective: PHIL 206

Criminal Justice, Law, and Society Major
Options for meeting requirements: PHIL 202, PHIL 212, PHIL 315

Disability Studies Minor
Requirement: PHIL/DS 307. Elective: PHIL 240 or PHIL 202

Education and Learning Major
Requirement: PHIL 100 or PHIL 202

English Literature Major
Elective (minor as well): PHIL/ENGL 343

Environmental Science Major with Biology Emphasis
Elective: PHIL/ENV 321

Environmental Studies Policy, Culture, and Society Major
Ethics Concentration - Requirement: PHIL/PSJ 202, PHIL/ENV 321, PHIL/ENV 322, PHIL 494/495, & 4 credits of lower division philosophy & 4 credits of upper division philosophy

Any Other Concentration – Elective: PHIL/ENV 321 or PHIL/ENV 322

French Major
Elective: PHIL/ENGL 343

International Studies – Asian Concentration Major
Elective: PHIL 305

Japanese Major
Elective: PHIL 305

Math Minor
Elective: PHIL 212

Music Therapy Major
Elective: PHIL/PSJ 202 or PHIL/DS 307

Outdoor Leadership Minor
Elective: PHIL/PSJ 240 and/or PHIL/ENV 321

Physics Major – Teaching Physical Science in High School
Recommended: PHIL 310

Psychology Major
Electives: PHIL 310 and/or PHIL 314

Public Health B.S., B.A., and Minor - Ethics
Elective (4 credits): PHIL 202, PHIL 240, or PHIL 307

Social Equity and Social Change Minor
Options for meeting requirements: PHIL 202, PHIL 315

Social Innovation and Nonprofit Leadership Minor
Options for meeting requirements: PHIL 202, PHIL 315

Sustainability Minor
Sustainability Triangle Options: PHIL 202, or PHIL 321

Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Minor
Elective: PHIL 305

If you have any questions about philosophy, or you plan to major or minor, please contact Katharine Loevy at katharine.d.loevy@pacificu.edu.