Program Description
Major in Philosophy

Philosophy at Utica College

The study of philosophy involves an examination of the nature and historical development of society's fundamental ideas concerning the universe and our relation to it. It has been fundamental to the education of people in all great civilizations. The philosophy major at Utica College offers a thorough grounding in the subject together with intensive training in philosophical analysis.

Studying major theories of ethics, metaphysics, knowledge, and logic trains students to think lucidly and systematically and to evaluate the competing claims of alternative value systems and world views. Being able to think clearly and with insight, and to be able to express oneself in speech and writing, are fundamental attributes of the educated and reasonable person. As the philosopher John Stuart Mill said, "There is absolutely no reason why an amount of mental culture sufficient to give an intelligent interest in these objects of contemplation should not be the inheritance of everyone born in a civilized country." Utilitarianism.

Special Opportunities

The small number of students enrolled in the upper-level philosophy classes enables small, discussion-oriented classes in which students are able to look closely at the issues and arguments.

The student-run Utica College Philosophy Club meets regularly to discuss everything from contemporary social issues, such as the justice of capital punishment, to long-standing philosophical questions, such as the existence of God.

For more information about the philosophy program, contact the department chair, Professor Fred Zammiello, at


Utica College maintains seven academic computer laboratories on campus. These labs contain either IBM-compatible or Apple Macintosh computers. Classes are taught in some of the computer labs; all labs are accessible to any UC student during published hours. The labs are equipped with laser printers, and the computers have word processing, spreadsheet, and database programs. Student assistants and a Computer Help Desk provide any assistance that students need.

UC Graduates

"Up until I switched to philosophy, I was looking for a practical kind of major. The move to philosophy came with a decision that since I was in college I would pursue knowledge. Now as a teacher, I see students with no knowledge of the function of education to open the mind. I encourage my students to doubt their own certainties, to remain open to new ideas, and to see in current problems old, old questions, like 'What is human nature?' and 'How should we treat each other?' Even though I didn't go on in philosophy itself, having that orientation has proven to be very valuable. I use it more for a way of living my life."
--Kim Domenico '76, Adjunct Instructor, Arts and Sciences, SUNY Institute of Technology at Utica-Rome

"Philosophy has taught me how to think and argue logically, ... to look at an issue from more than one side."
--Ann Schuler '95, Graduate Student in Public Administration, Syracuse University

"Philosophy has given me a critical analysis of the ideas deeply embedded in my mind."
--Alfredo Camargo '95, Investigator, New York State Capital Defender's Office, New York, NY

"Jim Caron and Robert Halliday directed their classes in that sort of way. I didn't catch on too well then, but it's all stuck now and so I know just what I need to do. Read think, read think, read read think, read read think."
--Katie Hrebinka-Semovski '97, Law Student


Christopher A. Riddle, Ph.D.
Department Chair

(315) 792-3759
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1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502