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What is Philosophy?

Philosophy is the oldest academic discipline and is devoted to answering the biggest questions of life. Here are just a few of the questions that philosophers at EIU are currently debating and studying:

  • What does a truly happy life look like?
  • 
What is the difference between a morally right and a morally wrong act?
  • 
Is there life after death?
  • 
Is there anything I can know with certainty?

  • How does the mind relate to the brain?

  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • 
What is the relation between morality and law?
  • 
Why be moral?
  • Can I prove that I am not in the Matrix?
  • 
Does time really “flow” or “move”?
  • 
What is a just society?
  • 
Does God exist?

Philosophy as a discipline has always been devoted to debate and conversation. Plato’s most important philosophical works are dialogues between Socrates and many of the great (and not-so great) men of his day. Philosophy is a big 2,500 year long conversation. If you enjoy respectful and rigorous argument about important questions, then philosophy might just be for you.

The philosophy faculty here at EIU — which currently includes nine professors representing all of the major branches of both Western and Eastern philosophy — is devoted to continuing this fascinating conversation.

We offer a major in Philosophy as well as minors in both Philosophy and Religious Studies. We also participate in several interdisciplinary minors including Pre-LawCriminologyMedieval StudiesNeuroscience, and Asian Studies. With a faculty-to-student ratio of about 1-to-3, philosophy majors at Eastern receive an uncommon amount of individual attention.

The department has a friendly and informal atmosphere with students and faculty regularly debating philosophical issues in the department office (which serves as our central hub), hallways, offices, during Philosophy Club, and during our weekly departmental lunches (friends of philosophy are always welcome). Please feel free to stop by!