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  • The Claremont Independent

I Think Therefore I Am…Awesome: A Review of CMC’s Philosophy Department

Do you ever wonder how health care should be distributed? Do you want to know if the government is even justified in providing social services such as health care? Do you think that taxes are unjust? Do you want to figure out what justice entails? Do you want to know if there’s more to the world than just studying and working? Do you ever wonder if God exists? Do you want to explore the very concept of God or of the world’s existence?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then you want to take a course offered by CMC’s philosophy department.

But is it really worth it? Isn’t philosophy supposed to be boring? Well, from a philosopher’s standpoint, obviously not. But even if you’ve found philosophy boring in the past, CMC’s philosophy department is different. Here are some reasons why you should take philosophy classes, even if you are not a philosophy major.

Subject Material: CMC’s philosophy department offers a very broad range of courses. To provide some examples, the department offers courses including: the philosophy of religion, for all of you theists and atheists, as well as those somewhere in between; the philosophy of science fiction, for all of you fans of “Memento” and “The Matrix”; metaphysics, for those worried about the concept of free will and the universe’s beginning; epistemology, for everyone who thinks that we can’t really know anything… at all; ancient philosophy, for everyone who wants to put Aristotle-wannabes to shame; political philosophy, for all political junkies who love debating; the philosophy of health economics, for everyone interested in gaining a broader understanding of the industry; and the philosophy of law, for all of you aspiring lawyers. This is list is not exhaustive, but is meant show that you have A LOT of options to choose from.

Class Size & Discussion: As you may already know, we have small classes, and that is extremely beneficial in philosophy classes. Small class sizes offer you the opportunity to not only engage the subject material with the professor, but also to discuss amongst your peers. The small class sizes also mean that non-majors can find the courses interesting; you are able to discuss your own opinions in the class, and the emphasis on discussion makes the classes interesting. Some of the most enlightening classes I’ve had while at CMC have been amazing because I was able to have heated discussion with my classmates. Your perspective widens immensely when exposed to the opinions of others who are actively engaged in the classroom. And since CMC-ers are known for being fairly smart and outgoing, your classes will be filled with intense discussion.

Awesome Professors & Accessibility: The philosophy professors not only have a great deal of academic qualifications, they have great personalities that make their classes interesting and accessible. I’ve often found myself in the halls of the philosophy department in Kravis just to discuss some ideas with professors whose classes I was not even taking. They genuinely care about students’ understanding and perspectives, and put in the extra effort to ensure that each student finds the subject interesting and enlightening. When I’m in a philosophy class, there is a copious amount of humor, a lot of mind-blowing moments, and overall a sense that everyone is enjoying the class – all of which of would be nearly impossible without epic professors. In fact, the small class atmosphere provides the professor with the opportunity to get to know you. With this benefit, if you ever have questions, you don’t just need to rely on office hours, you can just go to lunch with your professor to discuss your ideas.

Philosophy Events: The department’s engagement is not just limited to the classroom. The department will often host guest lecturers to give talks outside of the class and the Athenaeum on such subjects as the philosophy of mathematics and the idea of will power. Furthermore, the department will host non-academic events. For example, Professor Locke takes his students on a paintball excursion at the end of the year to finish off the second semester in a fun way. Additionally, the department throws parties, as was done last semester at Professor Kreines’s house, where he hosted a taco party with the philosophy professors and special guest President Chodosh.

Conclusion: Philosophy is a big subject, and CMC offers a range of courses to help you grasp the complexity of the discipline. What I’ve realized, however, is that although I’ve learned a lot from my philosophy courses, what has truly made my experience with CMC philosophy memorable is the professor-class dynamic. I did not just study for the sake of doing well in the class; I studied and pushed myself because my professor and peers made me genuinely interested in the material and in improving my knowledge.

And that’s why I highly recommend taking some philosophy courses during your time at CMC. But don’t just take my word for it; ask around. You’ll find that there’s a consensus that CMC philosophy courses aren’t just good – they’re awesome.


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