Welcome from Dr. Fair
I’d like to welcome current and prospective philosophy students. To a person the Philosophy Program faculty believe that Philosophy is the most exciting and challenging field of human thought because it concerns our efforts as human beings to understand and deal with issues such as the existence of God or the basis of morality, issues which have been the subject of discussion for over 2,500 years.
While progress has been made, definitive solutions for these questions are elusive, and Philosophy has no set method for resolving them. Philosophy, unlike fields such as biology or economics, also has no prescribed subject matter. Instead, contemporary philosophers range widely over issues presented by the sciences, history, the arts, politics, and more. Since Philosophy has no set method and no prescribed subject matter, I favor defining it as a matter of an attitude that anyone can have. This means that no special credential is needed to become a philosopher. All a person has to do is have the appropriate attitude.
First, I would say that a person exhibits a genuine philosophical attitude when they are deeply curious about the fundamental questions raised by particular areas of human endeavor ranging from physics, criminal law, and religious mysticism to music, medicine, sports, and beyond. Second, while trying to answer these questions, the philosophically inclined person wants answers that make sense, that have good reasons to support them. Third, the person will be open-minded and realize that those with whom we disagree often can teach us more than those who agree with us if we but listen carefully to what they say. Fourth, the person has the courage to challenge whatever passes for the conventional wisdom. Socrates is not remembered so much for the answers he gave to the questions he raised as for his bravery in raising them, an act that ultimately cost him his life. Finally, the person who has a philosophical attitude wants beliefs that fit together and that are as coherent and free of contradiction as possible.
Training in reading the works of classical and contemporary philosophers, in presenting analyses of their views, and in sharing critiques of one’s own ideas and the ideas of others, are all valuable ways of preparing for careers in a variety of fields such as law, the ministry, business, or academe. Should you choose to major or minor in Philosophy or simply take a course or two, the faculty of the Philosophy Program at SHSU are committed to doing their best to provide you with a rich educational experience that--if you allow it—can transform your life.