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What Is Philosophy?

"Philosophy," the "love of wisdom," has been interpreted to mean many things.  In general, though, studying philosophy at Alverno College includes these activities:  asking questions about the world, humans’ relationship with it, and the meaning of life; thinking critically and creatively about philosophical ideas; and questioning assumptions and investigating multiple points of view.

Practicing philosophy doesn’t mean disconnecting from the world or other people in favor of abstract thinking.  Rather, it is done in community through reading and listening to others’ ideas and perceptively and imaginatively responding to them.  It is a public practice that is connected to business, nursing, and every other discipline.

Why Study Philosophy?

By studying philosophy at Alverno, you will learn how to ask and examine philosophical questions (Analysis), explore the cultural contexts and assumptions of your own and others’ philosophical positions (Valuing), and respond thoughtfully and creatively to artists’, philosophers’, and other students’ works and ideas (Aesthetic Engagement).

In beginning and intermediate level courses, you will read and view both artistic and philosophical works, and analyze and respond to the works themselves and the questions they raise.

In advanced level courses, you will continue developing your own questions and positions and participating in philosophical conversations with your instructors, students, and others outside the classroom.  You’ll also examine complex personal and social issues from a philosophical perspective, and prepare to practice philosophy in your profession and your life beyond college.