Philosophy Major

Philosophy — perhaps the oldest academic discipline — explores enduring fundamental questions about the world and our place in it: What is the ultimate nature of reality? What really exists, and what is mere appearance? What, if anything, can we genuinely know? How are our conscious minds related to our physical bodies? What is value, and which values should we adopt? What makes for a good or valuable life? Are we ever responsible for the actions we perform, or are we merely victims of our environment and our genetic inheritance? How should societies be organized? How should we understand the relationship between science and religion, or between reason and faith?

Such questions are not the inventions of philosophers, of course. Many of us ponder them as children. Yet later we come to ignore them — or simply accept answers to them unreflectively. Philosophers, though, strive to keep pondering, and to address these questions as thoroughly as possible through reasoned discussion and argument.

The aim of the Philosophy major at NYU Abu Dhabi is to introduce students to a broad range of philosophical problems, to acquaint students with influential philosophical responses to these problems, and above all to train students to grapple with these problems themselves in a way that meets the highest intellectual standards.

Many philosophical problems have been studied, in different places, for thousands of years; others have arisen only with more recent developments in science or culture. Today philosophy has become a fully global discipline. The Philosophy major at NYU Abu Dhabi strives to integrate the study of contemporary international philosophy with an understanding of philosophy's rich multicultural history.

The Philosophy major prepares students for advanced study in philosophy or related fields, as well as for any profession that requires rigorous and cogent thinking, reasoned argumentation, and clear and persuasive writing. Most importantly, the study of philosophy prepares students for a more reflective and examined life — one of deepend awareness and understanding.

Philosophy is thinking in slow motion.

John Campbell


What can you do with a degree in philosophy? Almost anything! Philosophy majors are highly sought after for jobs in business, law, and journalism, to mention just a few possibilities. They also perform exceptionally well on the various standardized tests required for admission to many graduate and professional schools.


The Capstone project in Philosophy is a substantial work of written scholarship that enables students to explore a philosophical problem that is of particular interest to them and to make a scholarly contribution to ongoing discussions of that problem.