• Related Links:
  • Department Website
  • Courses/Requirements
A Sampling:

PHL-120. First-Year Seminar
An introduction to some of the central problems of philosophy and to ways of approaching any issue philosophically, including the existence of God, conflicts between science and religion, free will, the nature of the mind, truth and knowledge.

PHL-135. Philosophy in Film
An exploration of the portrayal in film of philosophical issues followed by a focused consideration of the issues, including appearance and reality, freedom and responsibility, the existence of god and whether computers are sentient, rational and moral agents

PHL-238. Business Ethics
An introduction to such issues as economic distributive justice and the moral justification of economic systems, the moral responsibilities of corporations, and the moral rights and responsibilities of employers and employees

PHL-240. Contemplative Social Justice Ethics
A look at philosophical theories of altruism that focuses on the project of ending world poverty and on the more abstract question of whether it is possible to be an altruist

PHL-246. Art, Media and Society
An examination of the traditional aesthetic theories of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Burke, Hume, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, as well as of more recent theories, including the impact of technology on art

PHL-274. Environmental History and Literature
American environmentalism from 1850 to the present

PHL-375. Biomedical Ethics
An introduction to ethical problems in biology and medicine, touching on such issues as reproductive ethics (abortion, cloning), research ethics and the ethics of death and dying (assisted suicide, euthanasia)

Lamont 106
807 Union Street
Schenectady, NY 12308
(518) 388-6376
Philosophy is a foundation of a liberal arts education.
Philosophy is a foundation of a liberal arts education.


See where Union takes you:
  • Business Systems Analyst, SUNY Research Foundation
  • Surgical Resident, Brown University
  • Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
  • Investigator, Office of Chittenden County State Attorney
  • Law Clerk, Stahancyk, Kent, Johnson & Hook
  • Program Director, Travel for Teens LLC
  • Litigation Paralegal, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Philosophy is the study of the most fundamental questions one could ask: What is good and what is evil? What is reality and what is illusion? Are our choices really free? What is the meaning of life?

Trevor Martin

"My classes have been nothing less than inspirational, but my true love for philosophy comes from other, less formal interactions, such as one-on-one conversations with my professors, dinner and discussions with visiting speakers or fierce debate with my fellow Ethics Bowl team members."

Trevor Martin '14

The study of philosophy develops skills in critical and abstract thinking, writing, argumentation and evaluation of different points of view. Philosophy majors are well prepared to pursue advanced studies in philosophy as well as a wide range of careers, including business, education, government, journalism, law, public policy, social service and more. All of this is of course intrinsically valuable, but it is also worth mentioning that philosophy majors tend to have the highest scores among all majors nationally in standardized tests such as the GRE and the LSAT.

At Union, your studies of this discipline will feature a variety of challenging courses covering material from ancient to contemporary philosophy. Our curriculum reflects the College’s emphasis on interdisciplinary study, with courses that integrate art, business, classics, film, literature, mathematics, religion, science, technology, and women’s and gender studies.

The Philosophy Department Speaker Series hosts one of the most prominent speaker series in the country; we regularly have noted and influential philosophers visiting us throughout the academic year. Philosophy majors are in a particularly good position to take advantage of these visits. 

In addition, the Department of Philosophy publishes Ephemeris, which is considered the premier undergraduate journal of philosophy in the country.

Union has an active, accomplished Ethics Bowl Team, which regularly takes part in competitions focused on moral issues, including the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl Program and the Bioethics Bowl. Many team members are philosophy majors, and the team has traditionally had close ties with the Philosophy Department.