The Department of Philosophy at the American University of Beirut has a long tradition of introducing students to the study of philosophy by way of a wide range of topics and issues, as well as a considerable variety of authors and texts.
Courses offered cover all main areas of philosophy, from ethics to logic, and from aesthetics to epistemology. Texts and authors include the main Western and Middle Eastern traditions, from the pre-Socratics to Ibn Rushd, and from Descartes to Rawls.
The department consists of eight full-time faculty members and approximately 20 students, including undergraduates studying for a B.A. in philosophy and graduates pursuing an M.A. in philosophy. In addition to offering a philosophy major, the department also offers a philosophy minor.
AUB graduates in philosophy have gone on to pursue a range of different career paths, having benefited from a broad-based liberal education. Some of our graduates have pursued careers in journalism, law, management, education, and information technology, among others.
Why Study Philosophy?
People study philsophy because of its enormous and enduring interest. It also nearly inescapable. All of us have to answer, for ourselves, questions about what we should believe, what we should desire, and how we should live. Philosophy students learn to ask these questions well and how to formulate possible answers to them.
Philosophy emphasizes foundational intellectual skills (such as the discernement of similarity and difference, the evaluation of cogency, and clarity of thought and expression) that are highly transferable and indispensable for successul intellectual inquiry generally.
General Problem Solving
Many different problems share a common structure or 'bottom out' in a common concern. Philosophy will teach you to identify those patterns and to analyze fundamental concepts. It will teach you to organize ideas, sort the relevant from the irrelevant, and to identify what is essential.
Persuasion, Writing, and Effective Communication
In your philosophy classes you will confront difficult texts and be asked to get the bottom of them. You will be required to extract ideas from these texts, many of which will be alien to you, and you will have to analyze and evaluate them as clearly as possible in your own writing. Philosophy students learn to charitably compare contrasting viewpoints, to describe them with detail and rigour, to analyze them with clarity and depth, and hence to develop and communicate their own views as persuasively as possible.
Understanding the Wider Intellectual World
All fields of knowledge employ reasoning and operate according to standards of evidence. Philosophers learn to examine those very tools and thus bring a valuable perspective to any field of inquiry. Moreover, each intellectual discipline has its own set of foundational concepts, and stands in its own relations to other disciplines, which bear philosophical examination.
Philosophy Prepares You for Future Study
- Thinking About Graduate School?
- Thinking about Professional School?
Philosophy Majors with Profile
Did you know that the founder of LinkedIn studied philosophy? So did investment guru Bill Miller. Surprised? The Wall Street Journal compiled incomes for fresh graduates with only a Bachelor's degree and checked back in with them after ten years. Philosophy majors showed the most growth over that period.
Other famous people who studied philosophy: Alex Tribek, Terrence Malick, Doria Shafik, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary Higgins Clark, Phillip Glass, Lana Del Rey, Peter Thiel, Emmanuel Macron, Susan Sontag, and many others. Check out the American Philosophical Association's Who Studies Philosophy? page.