• Philosophy

    The Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program at LaGuardia Community College offers classes that provide the students with the necessary tools to examine themselves and their role in our globalized world. 

  • The Philosophy Program, administered by the Humanities Department, leads to an Associate of Arts (AA) degree. Philosophy majors study the core areas of philosophy and acquire the critical thinking abilities that are essential for success in all careers and areas of life. In addition to helping students excel in all areas of academic study, philosophy has also been called “the ultimate transferable work skill” because it helps students develop the abilities that employers in all fields value: how to think critically, reason effectively, communicate clearly, solve problems intelligently, make enlightened decisions and construct thoughtful, well-grounded beliefs.

  •  About

    The Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program at LaGuardia Community College offers classes that provide the students with the necessary tools to examine themselves and their role in our globalized world.  Philosophy addresses the foundational questions that every human being wrestles with: Who am I? How am I to live my life? What are aspects or issues that make me truly human?

    Grounded on the development of critical thinking skills, Philosophy at LaGuardia is seen as a first rate necessity, as a discipline that will improve the lives of students and, by extension, the lives of our community. Students are given the opportunity to think, present, and discuss their ideas in an effective and clear manner, whether that be in written or oral form. Students taking any of the classes the Program offers find themselves thoroughly analyzing arguments and beliefs they and others bring to the classroom.  Students form a community of thinkers that includes some of the great humanists East and West traditions have produced, as well as their own peers.

    Because classes in this program invite students to clarify their assumptions and beliefs, classes are taught in a student-centered way.  This means that a lot of the content being used in the classroom will ask students to assess knowledge that they have gathered prior to coming to school and relate that with the materials professors bring to the classroom.  Students will learn to analyze these sources in a thorough and competent way and to apply them in an accurate and responsible manner to practical matters.

    When most people think of Philosophy they often don’t realize that Philosophy is a truly practical and experiential discipline that allows those participating in our classes to examine who they are and who they want to become.  It is this aspect of Philosophy that benefits our students the most, as they learn to recognize their own voice, their own independence, and their own position in the world, therefore growing as more confident people.


    In support of the LaGuardia’s mission to educate and graduate its students to become critical thinkers and socially responsible citizens, the College has undertaken a team approach toward advising, designed to support you in your major from admission through graduation.

    Your advisement team, made up of faculty and professional advisors, will guide you at every step during your college career. They are ready to help you:

    • Explore your major
    • Select introductory and advanced courses
    • Connect you with campus support services
    • Prepare an educational and career plan

    Visit the Advising page to learn more about when to get advised and how to prepare for an advising appointment, and check out the Advising Calendar for information sessions, events and more. 

    Please feel free to reach out to these advisors if you have any questions or need assistance, and visit laguardia.edu/visit for directions to campus.

    Advising Team Staff Members Email Phone Extension Office Location
    Jarrod San Angel, Advising Services  jsanangel@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-730-7575  B 100D 
    Sarina Gamez, Advising Services  sgamez@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-730-7417  B 102 
    Shaunette Murray, Center for Career and Professional Development (CCPD)  smurray@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5235  B 114 
    Regina Varin-Mignano, Wellness  rvarin-mignano@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5286  C 249H 
    Tanairy Fernandez, College Discovery (CD)  testevez@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-6000  B 236 

    Were you to have any questions regarding the Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program at LaGuardia, you can contact any of the ten full time faculty members whose information is listed below.  They can help you figure out things such as which courses to take, places where you might want to transfer, and career opportunities in the field.

    Advising Team Faculty Members Email Phone Extension Office Location
    John Chaffee
    Director of the Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program 
    chaffeejo@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5699  C 745D 
    Leslie Aarons
    Associate Professor 
    laarons@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-6193  C 745R 
    Vera Albrecht
    Associate Professor 
    valbrecht@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-6186  C 745KK
    Richard Brown
    rbrown@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5738  C 745GG 
    Cheri Lynne Carr
    Assistant Professor 
    ccarr@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-349-4099  C 745K 
    Payal Doctor
    Associate Professor 
    pdoctor@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5750  C 745QQ 
    Emmanuel Nartey
    Associate Professor 
    enartey@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-5703  C 745QQ 
    Roberto Ruiz
    Dana Trusso
    Assistant Professor 
    datrussi@lagcc.cuny.edu  718-482-7527  C 745ZZ 

    Meet all of the Philosophy Faculty

     Career Profile

    What do each of these fields have in common?

    Criminal Justice
    Business Administration
    Intelligence Specialist
    Program Coordinator
    Story Analyst
    Social Worker
    Public Relations
    International Relations
    Financial Analyst
    Marketing Research
    Consumer Advocate

    You can do any of them with a degree in Philosophy!

    LaGuardia’s Philosophy program opens doors in all fields because you become an excellent critical thinker! Some of the skills you gain are:

    Clarifying Problems
    Generating Ideas
    Anticipate Problems
    Good Judgment
    Problem Solving
    Applying Theory
    Logical Thinking
    Research Analysis


    Beyond giving us a greater understanding of our intellectual heritage and particular issues concerning ourselves and the world we live in, philosophy and critical thinking help us to develop the ability to:

    • Think more clearly
    • Express ourselves articulately
    • See the implications, application and consequences of a line of thinking
    • Detect weaknesses such as ambiguity, vagueness or inconsistency in how ideas are expressed
    • Distinguish what is relevant to a given issue from what is not
    • Differentiate various types of questions, claims or arguments, and determine what an appropriate response would be to any of them

    The study of philosophy or critical thinking also helps in becoming a better student of other subjects, as well as becoming a better thinker and communicator as a whole. The honing of analytic skills and problem solving abilities enables greater success in many fields. The Times of London (August 15, 1998) writes of philosophy in America:

    The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be…the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.

    It can also be studied at many levels. In the U.S., where the number of philosophy graduates has increased by 5 per cent a year during the 1990s, only a very few go on to become philosophers. Their employability, at 98.9 per cent, is impressive by any standard. Philosophy has always been a good training for the law; but it is equally useful for computer scientists. In this country, the Higher Education Statistics Survey puts philosophy of science right up with medicine in its employment record for graduates.

    Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate transferable work skill.

    Marketable Skills for Philosophy Majors

    Ability to trace problems
    Applying theory
    Color discrimination
    Conceptual ability
    Deductive reasoning
    Experimenting with ideas
    Generating ideas
    Memory for faces
    Research analysis
    Showing foresight
    Task oriented
    Clarifying problems
    Continually conceiving
    Developing ideas
    Good Judgment
    Notice things Quickly
    Problem solving
    Sound Judgment
    Synthesizing Perceptions
    Trouble shooting
    Anticipate problems
    Clear expression of ideas
    Computer literacy
    Decision making
    Form perception
    Logical thinking
    Relate to abstract ideas
    Spatial memory
    Visualizing shapes

    Careers upon Graduation

    High GRE Scores: If you intended on attending Graduate school in any field, consider that Philosophy majors earn the highest scores on verbal and analytical sections of the GRE and earn the 5th highest scores for quantitative reasoning in September 2012. These scores are reported on http://pleasandexcuses.com/2012/09/06/philosophy-major  http://www.ets.org/s/gre/pdf/gre_guide_table4.pdf

    Salary Potential: A decent income is required to survive these days, and a Philosophy major will offer you that! In 2013, Philosophy majors were ranked 58 out of 130 college major for highest income potential. http://www.payscale.com/college-salary-report-2013/majors-that-pay-you-back

    In choosing an undergraduate program in Philosophy, you should consider the quality of undergraduate education first, and then worry about the quality of the Philosophy Department. It may be beneficial to attend a college or university with a top-ranked PhD program in Philosophy, as long as those amazing graduate students will be teaching your classes. http://www.philosophicalgourmet.com/undergrad.asp

    A career or vocation can be built up from any major and a degree in the Humanities, philosophy in particular, provides you with the tools to establish yourself as a critical thinker and reader, and will develop your writing and speaking abilities.  If you truly enjoy what you study, you will figure out a way to make it work for you by using your creative side to find the career that satisfies your thirst for knowledge and advancement. Philosophy allows you to develop the skills all employers, graduate programs, law, business, and medical schools want!








     Curriculum and Recommended Courses

    Log in to the CUNY Portal to review your Degree Audit to find out what classes to take. Have questions about using Degree Audit? Visit LaGuardia’s Degree Audit page for tutorials and how-to guides.

    Prospective Students

    Review the Philosophy Curriculum and the recommended courses below.

    Philosophy students will select one course from each of the five flexible core categories and one additional course from any flexible core category. Students can take no more than two courses from any single academic department in fulfilling the Flexible Core requirements.

    To complete the degree requirements for the Flexible Core, students are advised to select courses from the recommended course selections listed below:

    Creative Expressions
    World Cultures and Global Issues Individual and Society US Experience in its Diversity Scientific World           
    HUA101 Introduction to Art

    HUA165 Art History:
    Pre-historic through Gothic

    HUA166 Art History:
    Renaissance through Modern

    HUA200 Art of the 20th Century

    HUA202 History of Photography

    HUC106 Public Speaking

    HUC140 Introduction to Broadcasting

    HUC/ENG238 Screenwriting 

    HUC150 Art of Film

    HUN192 Art and Society

    HUP105 Philosophy of Religion

    HUP116 Latin American Philosophy

    HUP118 African Philosophy

    HUP121 Eastern Philosophical Traditions

    HUT210 Theatre: Pre-History to the Renaissance

    HUT2111 Theater: Renaissance to Modern Times

    HUC117 Computer-Mediated Communication

    HUP101 Introduction to Philosophy

    HUP102 Critical Thinking

    HUP104 Ethics and Moral Issues

    HUP108 Environmental Ethics 

    HUP114 Medical Ethics

    HUP109 Philosophy of Law

    HUT220 Contemporary Latina/o Theatre in The United States

    HUP112 Logic &


     The Philosophy Community at LaGuardia

    Philosophy Club

    If the Philosophy bug has bitten you, you might find yourself yearning to spend hours talking about Philosophy—which may not be welcomed by your friends. Join other students who feel just like you during the Philosophy Club’s sessions. These are student-led, student-organized sessions in which a vast array of philosophical topics is explored weekly.  We meet on Wednesdays from 2:30 to 4:30. Refreshments are served at all Philosophy Club meetings! Check us out on Facebook or subscribe to our listserv on Google Groups (LaGCCPhilosophy).

    Philosophy Goes to the Movies

    A special version of the club, Philosophy Goes to the Movies, meets on Fridays from 2:30 – 6:00.  Students view a specially selected movie with philosophical questions and themes, and then discuss these themes in a free-wheeling and provocative philosophical discussion. 


    Invited Guest Lecturers

    Professors from the Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program often invite their peers from different colleges to give talks to our students.  In the past few years these lectures have included Professor Eric Schwitzgebel’s talk on The Craziest Metaphysics of Mind, Professor Hans Halvorson’s talk on The Relativity of Wrong Redux, Ms. Maria Kulp’s talk on Medically Assisted Death: Physicians and Suicide and Mr. Jung’s Psychopathy, its Challenge to Moral Theories.

    Annual CUNY Undergraduate Conference

    The Spring semester is the perfect time to gather and discuss philosophical papers developed by undergraduate students from CUNY and beyond.  Since its inception in 2010 the Philosophy Conference has provided our community will a full day of fascinating conversations.


    Philosophy Open House

    The Philosophy and Critical Thinking Program, in conjunction with the Philosophy Club, organizes an Open House every Fall semester. During this event you can hear more about what the different classes are doing, the research interests professors have, and you can enjoy listening to poster presentations given by exceptional philosophy students.


    Forum on Philosophy, Religion and Science

    Every year the philosophy program invites scholars and students to discuss the intersection of philosophy, science, and religion.

     Transfer Opportunities

    Articulation Agreement with Brooklyn College

    If you graduate with an A.A. in Philosophy from LaGuardia Community College, you may transfer to Brooklyn College for a B.A. in Philosophy as long as you meet the following requirements:

                1) Associate in Arts degree

                2) 2.99 GPA (minimum)

                3) Grade of C or better in required courses

    If you meet these requirements, 60 credits will count as transfer credits towards the baccalaureate degree and an additional 60 credits will be required at the senior college to complete the baccalaureate degree.  This Articulation agreement was effective in Fall 2009 and is in the process of being updated to reflect philosophy courses at LaGuardia which have been developed after this date.

    Transferring to other CUNY Colleges

    Pathways is designed to make it easier for you to transfer from one CUNY college to another. When you’ve fulfilled a Common Core or College Option requirement at one CUNY school, those requirements will be met at any other CUNY school; AP credits and non-CUNY credits may also count toward your Common Core or College Option requirements. Certain CUNY majors can easily transfer their major credits. For information on Pathways, please refer to: http://www.laguardia.edu/pathways.

    • Courses passed for credit at any CUNY college will transfer for credit at any other CUNY college.
    • Courses that fulfill a Required Common Core requirement at any CUNY college will transfer for Required Common Core credit at any other CUNY college.
    • Courses that fulfill a Flexible Common Core requirement at any CUNY college will transfer for Flexible Common Core credit at any other CUNY college.
    • Courses that fulfill a College Option requirement at any CUNY college will transfer for College Option credit at any other CUNY college.
    • Courses that are designated as "Gateway" courses into a major will transfer for major credit at any other CUNY college that offers the major.