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Philosophy

In the light of the Socratic dictum "The unexamined life is not worth living," members of the Philosophy Department seek to engage today’s student in authentic wonder about the ultimate questions that people can raise concerning the truth about the real, the good, and the beautiful.
Philosophical reflection on the ultimate questions should lead to reasoned foun­dations conducive to support for human values; to an awareness of a duty to work for justice, compassion, and peace; and to the integrated and rich human life worth living, thus enabling students to be more responsible for the interdependent world in which they find themselves.


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Goals

In the light of the Socratic dictum “The unexamined life is not worth living,” the members of the Department of Philosophy seek to engage today’s student in authentic wonder about the ultimate questions that people can raise concerning the truth about the real, the good and the beautiful.

Philosophical reflection on the ultimate questions should lead to reasoned foundations conducive to support for human values; to an awareness of a duty to work for justice, compassion, and peace; and to the integrated and rich human life worth living, thus enabling students to be more responsible for the interdependent world in which they find themselves.

Objectives

By active participation in class discussions and by excellence evidenced in examinations and term papers, students will be expected to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of a range of philosophers and philosophical problems;
  2. the ability to explain and critically analyze philosophical positions;
  3. skill in constructing and evaluating argumentation;
  4. the ability to give a reasoned case in support of one’s views;
  5. clear and coherent expression of philosophical ideas;
  6. tolerance and respect for diverse viewpoints.



General Requirements — All Students

Two courses in philosophy are required of all undergraduate students. The first, Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 113 or H113, is prerequisite to all other philosophy courses. The second can be any course the department offers. The aims of these courses are consistent with many of the goals and objectives of Marywood’s general curriculum.

To develop fully as persons, we must critically examine those questions and issues that continue to challenge us as we seek to discover a meaningful and substantive life. Introduction to Philosophy addresses many of the major questions involved in our search for the meaning of life. Similarly, courses on ethics, politics, meta­physics, and theory of knowledge, for example, focus our attention on the complex nature of human existence and thereby enable us to examine life’s experiences more thoughtfully.

Philosophy Major: Two Programs

Students at Marywood University can earn an undergraduate degree in Philosophy through one of two programs: the traditional and the applied. The traditional major in Philosophy is a stand-alone program, although the Department of Philosophy encourages students to have a double major. The program in applied philosophy must be done as a second major.

Our approach to the major in philosophy is consistent with The American Philosophical Association’s statement on the study of philosophy: “The study of philosophy serves to develop intellectual abilities important for life as a whole, beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession. Properly pursued, it enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject matter, and in any human context. It cultivates the capacities and appetite for self-­expression and reflection, for exchange and debate of ideas, for life-­long learning, and for dealing with problems for which there are no easy answers. It also helps to prepare one for the tasks of citizenship. Participation in political and community affairs today is all too often insufficiently informed, manipulable, and vulnerable to demagoguery. A good philosophical education enhances the capacity to participate responsibly and intelligently in public life. The primary purpose of the major in philosophy is better conceived as a valuable and indeed paradigmatic ‘liberal education’ major. Its basic purpose should be to introduce interested students to philosophy in ways that will serve them well -- both professionally and person­ally -- whatever they may go on to do after graduation.”

The traditional program consists of thirty-six credits, including Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 113), Critical Thinking (PHIL 215), Ethics (PHIL 315), two three-credit courses in the history of philosophy, Symbolic Logic (PHIL 304), and any six electives in Philosophy. The traditional major prepares students for graduate study in Philosophy. Most philosophy majors, however, do not pursue Philosophy after their B.A. Students majoring in Philosophy as a stand­-alone major will be encouraged to pursue a double major. For example, a major in philosophy works well with majors in Religious Studies, English, History, Psychology, Biology, Business, or a foreign language, to identify just a few. Students with a double major then become highly qualified to pursue professional studies in medicine or law, or graduate studies in almost any liberal arts area.

The program in applied philosophy consists of thirty credits, including Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 113), Critical Thinking (PHIL 215), Ethics (PHIL 315), and any seven electives in Philosophy that focus on the nexus between philos­ophy and society. Typical courses in applied philosophy include, but are not limited to, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Music, Business Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Emotions, and Bioethics. In addition, two of the seven electives can be cognate courses from other departments. For example, courses such as Developmental Psychology (PSY 251), Perspectives on the Pursuit of Peace (HIST 120), Criminology (CJ 303), and Social Foundations of Education (EDUC 414) can be used, with departmental approval, to satisfy two of the seven electives required for the applied major. Unlike the traditional major in philosophy, the major in applied philosophy must be a student’s second major program of study. The purpose of the applied program is to enable students to broaden their reflective and critical thinking skills as they apply to contemporary social concerns and issues. Students interested in careers in criminal justice, medicine, law, government, envi­ronmental science, business, public administration, education, nursing, journalism, and psychology would benefit substantially from an applied philosophy major.

Philosophy Minor

The minor in Philosophy consists of eighteen credit hours, nine of which must be earned at Marywood. Transferred credits are applied to the minor with departmental approval. The course of study for minors includes Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 113), Critical Thinking (PHIL 215), and any four electives in Philosophy.


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