Philosophy is traditionally defined as the reasoned pursuit of wisdom. It accomplishes this task by asking “big” questions; for example: What makes something “real,” “true,” or “good”? Is there something more to being a human than can be seen or known about the material body; and, if so, what? Do human beings have free will, or are they entirely determined by some other power or force? Does life have a meaning; and, if so, how could you know it? etc.
Consistent with the mission of the college, the goal of the Department of Philosophy is to invite students to critically engage these questions through a variety of philosophical perspectives, thinkers, and ideas all drawn from the global history of philosophy. By rigorously studying core texts and developing key analytical skills we empower our students to actively question their lives, their communities, as well as their time and place in history so that they can develop a deeper understanding of the complex nature of existence, a richer sense of how they can know that nature, and a more acute appreciation for how that knowledge can be used to create a more just and humane world.
Philosophy courses invite students into the study of these “big questions” by introducing them to the major positions which constitute the global history of philosophy and by creating a safe space where these questions and ideas can be discussed openly and reasonably. In this way the Department of Philosophy encourages students to relate this reasoned pursuit of wisdom to their personal lives, professional commitments, and community responsibilities. To this end, the department offers courses which are designed to welcome every student into the study of philosophy, whether or not they are interested in pursuing a major or minor in the discipline.