Philosophy Professor  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotCan we prove that God exists? Are our minds immortal? Is what is right or wrong in our society also right or wrong in other societies? Can historical accounts be objective, or are they always flavored with the author's point of view?

A philosophy professor can help us ask these questions more precisely. We can find ways of comparing our thoughts to those of some of the greatest thinkers on this Earth. By studying philosophy, we are encouraged to work out answers that we can accept for ourselves.

Professors of philosophy have studied the ideas of famous philosophers such as Plato, Descartes, Hume, Russell, Wittgenstein and Sartre. These philosophy professors can guide their students by giving talks (lectures) and holding discussions (seminars).

They cover topics such as individual liberty (free will to make our own decisions) or religious knowledge. Other topics open to discussion are abortion, capital punishment (the death penalty), racial and gender discrimination, and politics. A philosophy professor teaches students how to construct logical arguments for and against topics of debate.

Philosophy professors encourage logical reasoning. They want us to recognize the influence of emotion.

dotPhilosophy professors also teach courses on new ideas and concerns. They teach classes 12 to 16 hours a week, conduct research in their chosen specialties, attend meetings and make themselves available for student consultations during scheduled office hours. Those office hours are usually three to six hours a week.

College and university professors teach and advise their students. They also perform significant research. They keep up to date by studying, meeting with their colleagues and consulting with various organizations.

Although an individual requires a certain degree of stamina to do this job well, a physically challenged person could perform this work. "Speech and hearing are extremely important if one is to teach and interact with students. Apart from these, other disabilities shouldn't be problematic," says Mui (May) H. Sim of Oklahoma State University's philosophy department.

At a Glance

Teach others to think critically about our world

  • You'll be expected to conduct research
  • You may cover topics like religious knowledge or capital punishment
  • A master's in philosophy is good, but a PhD is better