From Greek derivation, "philosophy" is derived from two words, philia (love) and sophia (wisdom), which together give us “the love of wisdom.” In other words, a study of philosophy deals with a deep examination of our personal development and our relationship to the universe. This wide-ranging inquiry is reflected in the following questions: How do we view the universe? How do we make everyday decisions? What kind of job is good for me? How do we deal with our existence? Why am I here? How do we look at life as a whole? Therefore, philosophy provides a deeply penetrating study of the "big" questions that occupy the minds of humans, as well as the "smaller" questions that we deal with on a day-to-day basis.
By the time a student is finished with a college course in philosophy, the following should have been covered thoroughly: An overview of important facts, concepts, and theories pertaining to philosophy; the different types of philosophies that exist and how they guide our behaviors and decisions; practical ways to critically evaluate philosophical issues and problems; and the ability to ask the right questions, even when the answers are not available to us.
A college course in philosophy will most likely cover the following topics:
A study of philosophy should leave students with the ability to think critically, recognize and accept the various ways people express their beliefs and opinions, understand the role philosophy plays in every area of human life, and appreciate the need to build healthy and fulfilling relationships.
Students interested in philosophy should thoroughly explore the websites of The American Philosophical Association and the Association for Informal Logic & Critical Thinking. An additional place to visit would be the Philosophy of Religion Section of the American Academy of Religion.