The major in Philosophy introduces students to a wide variety of philosophical traditions, approaches, questions, and ways of thinking. Special emphasis is placed on ideas that have had the most impact on the shape and understanding of modern humanity. The program also emphasizes the history of philosophy and how the ideas that shape our understanding of who and what we are have developed within and between intellectual traditions. Our very sense of self, what we consider important, how we pursue knowledge and life, even our tastes and inclinations—all these are issues saturated with a rich heritage of ideas and conceptions that are studied in the field of philosophy. But philosophy does more: in studying our heritage (or rather, heritages), it seeks to address the need, even the responsibility, to challenge and rethink what is traditionally accepted to be true about who and what we are.
The curriculum helps students develop tools for critical thinking, but its guiding purpose is to awaken an interest in and love for exploring and criticizing the intellectual traditions that form the basis of understanding modern humanity. Integrative courses support this aim by introducing ways of thinking, knowing, and inquiring in more than one discipline.
Advanced students may take approved courses in the Department of Philosophy at The New School for Social Research. The department focuses on major figures in the history of philosophy, as well as on the philosophical study of humans and their social contexts; phenomenology, existentialism, hermeneutics, and deconstruction; pragmatism; political philosophy and critical theory; ethics; logic and the philosophy of language; and the epistemology and methodology of the social sciences. Its faculty includes world-renowned thinkers and scholars.
Graduates of the Philosophy program have gone on to pursue careers in a wide variety of fields, both professional and academic, including law, politics, and the arts and sciences. The chair is available to advise students on how to use this program to prepare for advanced degree programs and other career goals.
Students can study philosophy as a major (BA), a minor (non-Liberal Arts majors), or a guided area of study (Liberal Arts majors).