• Wright Observatory in action
  • Hartwick student on campus
  • Hartwick student during MetroLink
  • The Loft, Hartwick College Library


All roads of inquiry lead to philosophy...

Whether the starting point is everyday life or academics, philosophical questions are never far off. Philosophical study helps us approach issues with a broad perspective and refine our responses to the most pervasive questions -"Why?" and "What does this mean?".

"Philosophy" literally means "loving wisdom" and denotes an activity rather than a topic. To do philosophy is to analyze and reflect on themes from virtually any areas of human experience, including topics as diverse as genetic engineering, friendship, and the nature of thought. A philosophical treatment of these problems requires us not only to express and revise our personal intuitions, but to consider what various sciences, social norms, and religious faiths might suggest about them, and how to understand the relationships among these different approaches.

Philosophy in the West dates back to the ancient Greeks, when thinkers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle explored the nature of reality and the means by which people come to know. Later philosophers such as Descartes, Hume and Kant refined the way human existence is understood. The study of philosophy as part of a liberal arts education, or as a major or minor, challenges students to examine very fundamental questions and, in so doing, better prepares them for life. As they become familiar with the teachings of the world's great philosophers, they also will develop their ability to examine, clarify, analyze - and care for - the world around them.

Hartwick's philosophy program acquaints students with issues of contemporary philosophical inquiry, as well as the thinking of the great philosophers of the past. Major areas of study include epistemology, the study of how we come to know and of the limits of what we can know; metaphysics, the study of reality and ultimate origins; and ethics, the study of moral standards and value theories. Departmental offerings include courses in the history of philosophy as well as systematic courses which introduce students to the chief areas and topics of philosophical investigation. These courses, together with opportunities for directed individual study, permit students to do advanced and specialized work in philosophy and to develop competence in handling philosophical problems.

Golisano Hall

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