Here is some advice and guidance from Professor Nathan Nobis to students interested in philosophy at Morehouse (and Spelman and Clark-Atlanta). It's useful for anyone interested in philosophy, but is of special interest to students at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and other minority students. Here are some categories of discussion:
- Why take philosophy courses; what you can "do" with a major in philosophy.
- Philosophy and law and medical school and other graduate programs.
- Philosophy-oriented courses and programs at Morehouse in other departments.
- Some good first books to read by and about African-American philosophers.
- Some living, working, often e-mail accessible African-American philosophers or philosophers who work in African-American philosophy:
- Summer seminars and events for minority students in philosophy.
- Graduate study in philosophy. IT'S USUALLY FREE!
A listing of Atlanta-area philosophy events is here: http://atlantaphilosophy.blogspot.com
- Why take philosophy courses; what you can "do" with a major in philosophy:
- If you are interested in developing very strong skills at identifying and critically evaluating reasons and arguments, then philosophy is for you. Philosophy focuses on teaching a set of intellectual skills (as well as how people have used these skills to answer particular kinds of questions, below). These skills enable you to listen very carefully to what people say and notice when they say things that aren't clear or are ambiguous: these skills thus enable better understanding and more effective communication. Philosophy teaches you to ask for, indeed demand, reasons for and against various beliefs, actions, policies, strategies, and so forth and teaches you how to evaluate these reasons. It provides skills in giving such reasons and defending your reasons, i.e., explaining why someone should believe or do what you claim they should. If you are looking to be a very critical and careful communicator and reasoner, then philosophy is what you are looking for. For evidence that philosophy uniquely cultivates these intellectual skills, see the GRE section below.
- Philosophers also ask important questions -- What's a just society? What's the right thing to do? What is it to know something to be true? What is it to reason logically? How does science work? Is there a God? -- and demand reasonable, well-thought out, well-defended answers. Our answers to many of these questions are extremely important and make a huge difference to our lives and what we do with them.
- Career options include anything that requires strong critical thinking, reasoning, writing, listening, and speaking skills: law, medicine (according the American Association of Medical Colleges, philosophy majors have the highest acceptance rate into medical school among all non-interdisciplinary majors), journalism, college teaching, social activism, non-profit work and on and on. Philosophy majors can do just about anything, and they most excel at tasks that allow them use their critical thinking abilities.
- Philosophy is also an ideal 2nd major, or as a double major: if you have a first major (e.g., in a science, or economics, or political science, etc.) and then supplement it with the skills you can learn through philosophy, you will likely be far ahead of your peers who only have that first major but lack the intellectual skills that you've gained through philosophy.
- Here are some documents from the American Philosophical Association:
A Non-Academic Career?
Information, Resources, and Background on Options for Philosophers
- Philosophy: A Brief Guide for Undergraduates
- The Role of Philosophy in Higher Education
- Philosophy and law and medical school and other graduate programs:
- Philosophy ranks high in GRE scores! See page 19 (and 18) of this document. Philosophy majors' average GRE scores are:
- Verbal: 590. This is the highest of all majors!
- Analytical Writing: 5.1. This is the highest of all majors!
- Quantitative: 638. This is higher than all other majors in the arts & humanities, higher than all education majors, higher than all social sciences (except for economics); higher than all life science majors; and ever higher than some natural sciences! Engineering students do the best, however.
- Philosophy-oriented courses and programs at Morehouse:
- Philosophy courses at Morehouse, Spelman, Clark-Atlanta, and other Atlanta-area schools: GSU, Emory, Agnes Scott.
- Some good first books to read by and about African-American philosophers.
- African-American Philosophers: 17 Conversations by George Yancy;
- A Companion to African-American Philosophy by Tommy L. Lott (Editor), John P. Pittman (Editor);
- African-American Philosophy: Selected Readings, ed. Tommy Lott;
- Philosophy Born of Struggle: Anthology of Afro-American Philosophy from 1917, ed. Leonard Harris (Amazon);
- African-American Perspectives and Philosophical Traditions, ed. John Pittman;
- "It Just Ain't Fair" The Ethics of Health Care for African Americans, Annette Dula (ed.), Sara Goering (ed.)
- An Amazon list of books on race and racism;
- Some entries in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: civil rights, affirmative action, "identity politics".
- Some organizations:
- Symposia on Gender, Race, and Philosophy
- Philosophy Born of Struggle: Africana Philosophy for the Internet
- The International Society for African Philosophy and Studies
- Society for the Study of Africana Philosophy: Based in New York City, the SSAP has been a forum for the discussion of philosophical ideas for over twenty-five years. SSAP was established to provide a network of support for young African American philosophers and intellectuals in the academy, to bring together alternative voices to decenter the predominant 'Eurocentric' focus of and lack of diversity in most academic philosophy departments, and to provide a place for lay intellectuals to exchange ideas with professional academics in an informal setting. The SSAP has an online video called "What is Africana Philosophy?":
- Some living, working, typically e-mail accessible African-American philosophers or philosophers who work in African-American philosophy:
- Linda Alcoff, Syrcause
- Anita L. Allen, Law and Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania
- K. Anthony Appiah, Princeton
- Robert Bernasconi, Memphis
- Bernard Boxill, UNC Chapel Hill
- Harvey Cormier, SUNY Stony Brook
- Derrick Darby, U Kansas
- Annette Dula , U Colorado
- Angela Y. Davis, UC Santa Cruz
- Lewis R. Gordon, Temple University
- Jorge Garcia, Boston College
- Judith Green, Fordham University
- Barry Hallen, Morehouse College
- Leonard Harris, Purdue
- Frank Kirkland, CUNY New York
- Don Koch
- Bill E. Lawson, Memphis (see his old Michigan State page).
- Tommy Lott, San Jose State
- Anika Mann, Morgan State
- David McClean, Molloy College http://www.africanaphilosophy.net/
- John McClendon, Bates College
- Howard McGary, Rutgers
- Charles W. Mills, University of Illinois, Chicago
- Michelle Moody-Adams, Cornell
- Greg Moses
- Albert Mosley, Smith College
- Lucius Outlaw, Vanderbilt University
- John Pittman, John Jay College of Criminal Justice
- Rodney C. Roberts, East Carolina University
- Lorenzo Simpson, SUNY Stony Brook
- Anna Stubblefield, Rutgers
- Paul C. Taylor, Temple University (Morehouse,1991); his Jamestown Project page.
- Stephen Thompson, William Paterson University of New Jersey ("Race, Reason and Logic," click HERE for this paper.)
- Laurence Thomas, Syracuse
- Rudolph Vaterpool, Cal State Dominguez Hills
- Cornel West, Princeton
- George Yancy, Duquesne
- Naomi Zack, Oregon
- Summer seminars and events for minority students in philosophy:
- Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) - Second Annual Summer Institute for Undergraduates July 22–29, 2007
- Rutgers Summer Institute for Diversity in Philosophy (2007 info. not yet posted; contact Professor Howard McGary for more info.)
- Graduate Study in Philosophy: IT'S USUALLY FREE!
- Some resources from the American Philosophical Association:
Data on the Profession
Ph.D.'s in Philosophy by Gender/Race/Ethnicity
This Table is derived from the Summary Reports on Doctorate Recipients from United States Universities, for 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995 and 1996. National Academy Press. The figures for Hispanics include separate figures given in the Summary Reports for Mexican, Puerto Rican and Other. Ph.D. recipients without permanent US visas were excluded from the compilation on race and ethnicity.
Table of Contents for Recent Issues:
- Philosophy and the Black Experience: Vol. 06, No. 1 (Fall 2006)(PDF) (HTML)
- Philosophy and the Black Experience Vol. 05, No. 2 (Spring 2006): (PDF) (HTML)
- Philosophy and the Black Experience: Vol. 05, No. 1 (Fall 2005)
- Philosophy and the Black Experience: Vol. 04, No. 2 (Spring 2005)
- Philosophy and the Black Experience: Vol.04, No. 1 (Fall 2004)