Philosophy

According to Plato's Socrates, the love of wisdom (philosophia) begins in wonder. In the nearly 2,500 years since Plato made this observation, philosophy has evolved into a vocation of incessant questioning in which nothing is taken for granted. Today, philosophers from a variety of traditions and spheres of inquiry continue to grapple with the field's most enduring questions, questions like: Who am I? Why am I here? What is the nature of reality? How do I know? What should I do? The Department of Philosophy invites students to take up this vocation by introducing them to its history and aiding them in cultivating the critical and creative thinking necessary for its study.

The Department of Philosophy has adopted the following Student Learning Goals:

  1. The ability to identify arguments and provide counter-arguments
  2. The critical engagement with and the questioning of one's assumptions
  3. The thoughtful integration of action with values
  4. The existential risking of crisis and transformation through self-reflection
  5. The acceptance of the invitation of philosophy to wonder at the big questions

The Department of Philosophy has also adopted the following Student Learning Objectives:

  1. Thinking Skills: Students should be able to construct (or re-construct) a philosophical argument, both verbally and in writing. They should be able to anticipate and clearly articulate counter-arguments. Students should be able to recognize and question their own assumptions/prejudices. Students should be able to frame questions aware that what is asked often determines the response.
  2. Reading Skills: Students should be able to interpret texts and to recognize and reflect on textual ambiguities. Students should be able to discern the steps of a philosophical argument, as well as the stated and (more importantly) unstated presuppositions of the argument.
  3. Writing Skills: Students should be able to write logically compelling arguments in a clear, concise, and well-ordered manner.
  4. Familiarity with some of the central philosophical questions in the history of philosophy (broadly construed): Students should have a rudimentary knowledge of the history of philosophical questions and their attendant concepts and arguments, and be able to recognize versions of these questions in contemporary philosophical discussions. Students should be able to recognize and articulate alternative perspectives to the problems and claims with which they are confronted in contemporary life.
  5. Students should be able to reflect critically on philosophical questions in the context of their own lives.