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I want to be able to say "my major is philosophy" and so I looked up the word for philosophy, but I'm not sure if it would be correct use the same word when talking about it as a major in college?

In other words, would this be correct?

私は専攻が哲学です。 【わたしはせんこうがてつがくです。】

Thank you!!

ありがとうございます!

7

Yes, 哲学 is the correct word for philosophy (the subject) in Japanese.

The word 哲学 was basically invented in the 19th century for this very purpose and popularized by Nishi Amane (journal source here, wiki).

In Japanese, philosophy is sometimes applied by extension to non-Western thinkers, but if someone wants to avoid calling non-Western things philosophy, then [思想]{しそう} is often used instead.

Put another way, 哲学 is exactly the right word for Western philosophy, because it is a word that was created precisely to translate the term philosophy.

As naruto explained to me, your sentence is a natural way of stating your major:

私は専攻が哲学です

私は哲学が専攻です

In addition, you could use:

私の[専攻]{せんこう}は[哲学]{てつがく}.

or in many contexts,

[哲学]{てつがく}[専攻]{せんこう}です.

  • 1
    「私は専攻が哲学です」も「私は哲学が専攻です」も合っており自然な日本語です。(もちろん「専攻は何ですか」と聞かれた場合の答えなら後者ですが) – naruto Oct 4 '18 at 23:15
  • @naruto 勉強になりました。その形を頭に入れておきます。 – virmaior Oct 5 '18 at 0:03

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