Philosophy Department

Why Philosophize?

Why is philosophy the source of all academic disciplines?

The word philosophy literally means "Love of Wisdom". It is this love and wonder that elicits new ideas that can have a profound impact on humanity.


Sample of philosophy course offerings:

• Ancient Philosophy

• Hermeneutics

• Early Modern Philosophy

• Late Modern Philosophy

• Symbolic Logic

• Existentialism

• Philosophy of Religion

• Philosophy of Science

• Philosophy of Literature

• Philosophy of Art

• Philosophy of Politics

• Philosophy of Psychology

• Epistemology

• Feminist Philosophy

• Nature of Compassion

• Environmental Ethics

• Ethical Theories

• And much more...

If you are planning to go to graduate school, you should know that students who earn an undergraduate degree in philosophy score higher on standardized professional and graduate school admissions tests (LSAT, GRE, and GMAT) than graduates who have studied any other discipline in the humanities and sciences.

If you decide to study philosophy, you can expect to be asked "What can you do with philosophy?"

Most people attend college because they want to get a well paying job. Often, degree choices are made based on a student's career plans. The value of a degree is increasingly based on what you can do with it.

So, what can you do with philosophy?

Everything! It is a different form of education - education for its own sake.

Does this mean that you will be unemployable after college?

Not at all! Philosophy gives people an opportunity to develop abilities that are extremely important to many employers. An employer can train a person how to do a job, but they can't train a person to think through problems and find solutions, analyze different forms of information, summarize complicated material, write clearly and effectively, or elicit hidden assumptions. These are all things philosophy teaches you.

Some of the famous people who have studied philosophy in college:

Steve Martin

Stone Philips

Neil Peart

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Woody Allen

Gene Siskel

Wes Craven

Bruce Lee

Harrison Ford

Carl Icahn

Mary Higgins Clark

Alex Trebec

Peter Lynch

Pope John Paul II

Bill Clinton

David Duchovny

Philosophy encourages students to explore questions that challenge their ideas and beliefs. It gives students an opportunity to reflect on topics that are often oversimplified by general society and traditional educational disciplines.

• What is justice?

• What role does imagination
   play in thinking?

• How can we distinguish
   between right and wrong?

• How should we live in the world?

• What are the core beliefs that
    ground our current mode of
    economics and politics?

• Do we know anything?

• How can we know?

• What sustains belief in
   absolute right or wrong?

• How can I know myself?

• What happens when such core
    beliefs are revealed as false or
    are changed?

• Is there a God?

• What is thinking, and are   we doing it?

• What are the limits of the
   scientific method?

• Can we be sure of our       beliefs?


Philosophy of Law Guest Lecturers

Lady Justice

Professor of Philosophy Robert Loudon has lined up a series of guest lectures in his Philosophy of Law (PHI 260) class for the Fall 2015 semester. All USM students of philosophy and law are welcome to attend these lectures.

Tuesday, October 6 at 2:45 PM in Luther Bonney #502, Portland Campus 
The Hon. James B. Haines, Jr. will be the Guest Lecturer in Professor Robert Louden's Philosophy of Law class on October 6 at 2:45 in Luther Bonney #502. Judge Haines is the Libra Visiting Professor at the University of Maine School of Law. Before joining the College, Haines served on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maine for nearly 25 years. He was Chief Judge of this court from 1997 to 2004 and 2011 to 2013. Judge Haines also served on the U.S. Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit from 1996 to 2014.

Tuesday, November 10th at 2:45 in Luther Bonney #502, Portland Campus
Alexander F. McCann, Esq. will be the Guest Lecturer in Professor Robert Louden’s Philosophy of Law class on November 10th at 2:45 in Luther Bonney #502. A 1986 graduate of USM (B.A. in philosophy), McCann has a successful law practice in Portland.

Thursday, November 19th at 2:45 in Luther Bonney #502, Portland Campus
Robert J. Ruffner, Esq. will be the Guest Lecturer in Professor Robert Louden’s Philosophy of Law class on November 19th at 2:45 in Luther Bonney #502. Ruffner, a trial attorney specializing in criminal defense, is a 1996 graduate of Washington University School of Law in St. Louis. Mr. Ruffner began practicing in Maine in 1999 as a Domestic Violence prosecutor with the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office. He then joined the litigation firm of Friedman Babcock & Gaythwaite where he practiced insurance and criminal defense. Ruffner formed his own practice in 2001 to focus on Criminal Defense.

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