Dr. David Shatz

The function of philosophy is to explore fundamental problems of human existence. Every area of human activity—art, science, religion, politics—generates questions and viewpoints that invite philosophical reflection. Socrates went so far as to declare that the unexamined life is not worth living.

Philosophy is a discipline unique in its methods and subject matter. Becoming skilled in its methods will serve invaluable functions in the undergraduate education. At Stern College for Women, the student learns to deal with complex ideas in a careful and clear way; is trained to eschew vague, impressionistic thinking and to think, instead, critically, rigorously and precisely; acquires the capacity to read carefully and reflectively, and to write in an organized, persuasive fashion.

Skills such as these are transferable: they serve the student well in any career.

Philosophy is excellent preparation for any profession that demands the ability to grasp complex ideas, analyze problems from differing vantage points and communicate effectively. Thus, philosophy courses develop skills necessary for the pursuit of law, journalism, medicine, computer science, business and public administration.

Mission Statement

The mission of the philosophy department is to foster students' familiarity with a significant range of philosophical problems, concepts, arguments, and figures, and to prepare students for a variety of careers, ranging from law to teaching to writing to finance to medicine. The department provides this preparation by teaching transferable skills such as analyzing and appraising arguments, constructing original arguments, and writing clearly about complex material. In addition, some courses enable students to understand the relevance of philosophy to social problems, especially issues in ethics and public policy.

Program Student Learning Goals

  1. Students will be able to critically evaluate philosophical arguments and to construct their own.
  2. Students will be able to clearly communicate philosophical ideas, both orally and in writing.
  3. Students will be able to comprehend a wide, diverse range of philosophical texts. 
  4. Students will be able to understand main arguments and figures in the history of philosophy. 
  5. Students will be able to understand alternative ways of viewing subject matters, be they issues in metaphysics, epistemology,   ethics, or any other subfield of philosophy. 
  6. Students will be able to apply philosophical knowledge and skills to analyze relevant social problems.

For more information, contact Dr. David Shatz at .