About Philosophy

Philosophy is concerned with the basic questions of human existence: How should I live? What is a just society? What is knowledge? What is beauty? Is there a God?

Through the study of philosophy, students become familiar with the long tradition of Western thought on these issues. They learn about the efforts of contemporary philosophers to answer these questions and to understand the tradition we inherit.

Why Study Philosophy?

Studying philosophy gives students the opportunity to think carefully and deeply about themselves and their place in society. A degree in philosophy involves reflection on questions such as the nature of reality, the foundations of knowledge, the existence of God, and the basis of moral obligation. It encourages students to think about their obligations to their fellow human beings and the world at large.

Image: Katrina Sifferd, On the Benefits of a Philosophy Major

A philosophy degree also helps students develop many of the skills necessary for success in school and beyond: logic and critical thinking, clear argumentative writing, careful reading and analysis of texts, and oral argument.

Philosophy majors perform very well on exams for graduate and professional school. Philosophers outscore all other majors on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE’s) and receive scores that are among the highest on the LSAT’s, GMAT’s, and MCAT’s. 

Why Study Philosophy at George Mason?

The George Mason Department of Philosophy has excellent full-time faculty committed to undergraduate and graduate education. The faculty reflects a wide range of philosophical interests. They work in both the analytic and Continental traditions, as well as in ethics and the history of philosophy.

Junior- and senior-level courses in philosophy are small, seminar-style courses. Most have fewer than 35 students. This size allows for a high degree of engagement as well as an opportunity for students to work closely with their professors and develop important mentoring relationships.