Philosophy is quite unlike any other field and has a unique role to play in any liberal arts curriculum. No brief definition expresses the richness and depth of philosophy. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of the principles of human knowledge and conduct. It is a discipline that challenges students to think and to ask questions, to reflect on their own biases and assumptions and to put order into their thoughts.
Philosophy affords students a theoretical and practical grasp of the ethical questions that are at the forefront of concern in today's pluralistic society. Philosophy confronts human values precisely as values. Delving into questions concerning the very nature of good and evil, it enables students to move beyond what is merely descriptive to the ethical prescriptive. The philosophy student probes the basis of ethical judgment and subjects ethical criteria to critical evaluation.
Philosophy enhances the ability to perceive the relationships among the various fields of study. Although philosophy is an autonomous discipline, philosophers have often addressed ultimate questions that most preoccupy theologians. Creative philosophers have in every age provided the vocabulary and theoretical basis for innovative theological thought. Furthermore, philosophy teaches students to evaluate the beliefs and presuppositions of other disciplines, including the natural and behavioral sciences. The philosopher declares any existing scientific methodology fair game for critical probing. The role of philosophy in providing and evaluating the basic principles of other disciplines makes it an excellent accompaniment to those diverse fields of study.
All told, philosophy is an indispensable part of any liberal arts curriculum. It is a fundamental discipline that best captures what it means to pursue a college-level liberal education.
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Other forms are available on our resources page. You can also see a list of courses taught in the Department.