Humanities is the collective term for the study of the human condition—particularly aspects of human society and culture. In contrast to the mainly empirical approaches of the natural sciences, the humanities focus on research, using methods that take primarily critical or comparative approaches with a significant historical element.
The term “philosophy”—literally, “love of wisdom”—was probably coined by Pythagoras (c. 570–495 BCE). Matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language are central to its exploration.
The humanities include history, ancient and modern languages, literature, human geography, anthropology, law, politics, religion, music, art. Humanities–Philosophy teaches and develops techniques of critical thinking and rational analysis that have much broader application in all fields of society.
Nearly four decades ago, the US Rockefeller Commission on the Humanities described the humanities this way in its report “The Humanities in American Life”:
Through the humanities we reflect on the fundamental question: What does it mean to be human? The humanities offer clues but never a complete answer. They reveal how people have tried to make moral, spiritual, and intellectual sense of a world in which irrationality, despair, loneliness, and death are as conspicuous as birth, friendship, hope, and reason.
Similarly, philosophy is concerned with such fundamental issues as:
As the degree we offer is in Humanities–Philosophy rather than simply Philosophy, students take a broader range of courses in the humanities.
This is especially beneficial because philosophy has so many connections with other subjects. Our Philosophy faculty has special expertise in the philosophy of science, making Humanities–Philosophy natural fit for Florida Tech’s overall focus. In addition, students are encouraged to take courses in psychology and the other sciences as well.
The required philosophy courses include:
Traditionally, philosophy and psychology are closely related disciplines, since both are concerned with the nature of the mind.
Other courses are particularly topical:
All Humanities–Philosophy majors are required to complete a capstone project—a two-semester research project in their senior year. This requires the student to work independently, and prepare a written thesis and an oral presentation on a substantial topic. Not only does this cultivate intellectual autonomy, it also develops written and verbal communication skills that are indispensable in a wide range of workplaces.
Andrew Aberdein, professor of Philosophy and chair of the Humanities–Philosophy program, is a past president of the Florida Philosophical Association. Much of Dr. Aberdein’s research is concerned with the interplay between formal and informal accounts of human reason. He is particularly interested in argumentation theory and its use in understanding science, technology, and mathematics, as well as the philosophy of jokes. His vast body of has been published in books and journals for over two decades, the most famous of which is arguably the article “The Judo Principle, Philosophical Method, and the Logic of Jokes,” which appeared in the book Philosophy and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and was presented at Fifth Annual Lighthearted Philosophers' Society Meeting.
Moti Mizrahi, associate professor of Philosophy, is the assistant editor and book review editor of the international journal Philosophia, and his work has appeared in such journals as Argumentation, Erkenntnis, Philosophical Studies, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science, and Synthese.
All of our classes our fairly small—usually fewer than 25 students per class. Since there are comparatively few Humanities majors, professors get to know their students well, and there are many opportunities for one-on-one contact with faculty.
In terms of location, the average college simply cannot beat Florida Tech's location. The 130-acre campus is located on the Space Coast (because of the presence of NASA and the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral just north of us. The area has the fifth largest high-tech workforce in the country, with more than 5,000 high-tech corporations and government and military organizations located nearby. This workforce provides a variety of internship and employment opportunities.
Located near the beautiful Indian River, with Atlantic Ocean beaches only a short drive away, as well as Central Florida attractions such Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Studios. Florida Tech has a rich campus life that includes intramural and collegiate sports, clubs, and social activities. Florida Tech is the perfect choice for your Humanities–Philosophy degree.
Studying abroad not only broadens your worldview, but increases your marketability in today’s global marketplace, making your résumé more attractive to future employers and graduate schools. When you study abroad with a Florida Tech program, you can be sure that it is high quality, safe, and helps you to fulfill academic requirements needed for graduation.
The Oxford Study Abroad program should be a good fit for the Humanities–Philosophy program. Imagine studying J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis's works within their old college walls! Attend Shakespearean plays by the riverside in Oxford, London, and Stratford! If Shakespeare's not your cup of tea, perhaps discussing history, Western civilization, or British and American lit in a café or while biking along the Thames is more your style.
As noted above, this degree is interdisciplinary across the humanities, and we encourage a connection with psychology and, more broadly, the rest of the sciences. This gives graduates a superb foundation for vocational graduate programs in law, medicine, and many other disciplines.
Working with our respected faculty offers unparalleled research opportunities for students, including possibilities for undergraduates to collaborate with faculty on work published in mainstream journals.
Some examples of recent research projects:
The Florida Philosophical Association holds an annual meeting, usually in central Florida. It has a prize competition for the best undergraduate paper, with the winner getting published in the Association’s journal.
In addition, the University of North Florida in Jacksonville has an annual undergraduate philosophy conference. There are several undergraduate-run philosophy journals in other states as well.
Florida Tech's Philosophy Club—FITlosophy—provides students with an informal and friendly environment for student-led discussion of a wide range of philosophical questions. All Florida Tech students are welcome to attend the club’s weekly meetings in the Evans Library.
Many other campus organizations may be particularly well-suited to Humanities–Philosophy majors: The Crimson, Florida Tech’s student-run newspapers, for undergrads interested in journalism; the Prelaw Society, for students who plan to pursue graduate law degrees; Kaleidoscope, Florida Tech’s literary magazine, which gives students a glimpse into the world of publishing; and our own television and radio stations; and many more.
What could my career look like with a degree in Humanities-Philosophy, B.A.?
According to the American Philosophical Association (APA), people who studied philosophy can be found in all careers and fields:
People who study Humanities–Philosophy have gone on to great success as: