Why I Majored in Philosophy

Andy Han ’23

I first visited Pomona as part of the Perspectives on Pomona (POP) program. We had the opportunity to sit in classes, and I chose Professor Tannenbaum’s Ethical Theory class. Although my high school had no philosophy classes, I was still fascinated by that ineffable allure that the discipline exerts on us: the guiding lights of wisdom moderated by the lampshades of rigorous thought and intellectual humility. That glimpse of college philosophy motivated me to choose Pomona and to choose this major. Little did I know that the next year, I’d return to that same class — this time, every Monday and Wednesday. Philosophy is for those who enjoy learning for its own sake; it’s for those who dragged their parents to the library, questioned authority, and asked that beautiful question “why”. Philosophy is for the curious, the careful, and most of all, those who want to discover (and challenge!) what it is to be human.

Jenna Lange ’23

I was initially planning to focus on the hard sciences because those majors work well with the pre-health requirements that I need. After taking two or three philosophy courses, though – and seeing how phenomenal the professors are – I just couldn't imagine doing without it. The careful, critical thinking about important questions, particularly of what it means to live a good life and of what is required of us ethically, is exactly what I want from my liberal-arts education. The study of philosophy is training me in the analysis of challenging texts, logical and analytical thinking, and the precision of language necessary for the clear communication of complex ideas.

Coleman Solis ’19

I began studying philosophy because I was broadly interested in a certain set of questions that are taken especially seriously in philosophical texts – questions about our ethical obligations and their source, about the nature of well-being, about which things exist, and what we can know about them, and so on. I stuck with it – majored in it – largely because of the remarkable quality of the Pomona philosophy department (as well as the other Claremont departments), both the faculty and the student community. I think philosophy can be rewarding for anyone with an open mind. It has been for me.

Malcolm Yeary ’21

I majored in philosophy to learn how precision of language, strength of argument and structured thought can revolutionize our own intellectual space. The concepts which we study in philosophy are valuable in and of themselves and for how they train our minds. Throughout my time in philosophy at Pomona, I have found myself endlessly grateful that I have undergone philosophical training with professors as distinguished and supportive as those in Pomona’s department. In pushing us to criticize, reflect and justify our beliefs, the community helps us to clarify what is important and how to think about it. Philosophy gives the inquisitive a voice, the confused bits of clarity and the rigid a degree of flexibility.