Welcome to Philosophy
In 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 nature and meaning of life in all its dimensions, including our physical, mental, and spiritual experiences.
Philosophy courses raise the following kinds of questions:
- How does one think critically?
- Is existence meaningful?
- Is there a purpose to life?
- What is valid reasoning?
- Is the mind distinct from the body?
- What is good conduct?
- Is happiness the goal of life? If so, what is happiness?
- Do we have any moral obligations?
- What form of government is best?
- What are a person's obligations to the state and what are the state's obligations to its people?
The questions raised here, and the many courses offered by the Philosophy Department, arise out of one or more of the four traditional areas of philosophy:
- Metaphysics (an inquiry into the ultimate nature of reality, asking questions about the relationship between mind and body and freedom and determinism),
- Epistemology (an inquiry into the nature of knowledge and truth),
- Ethics (an inquiry into the nature of the good life as well as what constitutes good conduct), and
- Logic (the study of good reasoning).
Once students take two courses in philosophy they can take an independent studies course on a topic that they want to pursue more specifically and fully. The areas of philosophical inquiry are virtually endless. Independent studies courses offer students the opportunity to work closely with a professor on a philosophical topic or issue that cannot be addressed fully in courses offered in the traditional classroom format.