We are the special creation of God. We are the accidental result of millions of years of evolution. We are what society, parents, schools, religious institutions and so forth have made us. We are the result of our own free choices. Our consciousness is the result of the firing of neurons in our brains. Our consciousness is the best evidence for the existence of our souls.
Who are we, and how can we best sustain the mental attitudes which will lead to a fulfilling life? What, after we achieve reasonable material comfort, follow the script of social expectations, establish ourselves in a community – what, after we achieve these goods, will satisfy our need for The Good? From the time of the ancient Greeks until the present, philosophy is the discipline which struggles with these basic questions.
In a world which often seems to be growing more fragmented and specialized, philosophy is a powerful antidote, encouraging one to develop connections among various aspects of life. Accordingly, students who major or minor in philosophy are urged to take a variety of courses outside the discipline. This ensures a breadth of perspective in the tradition of liberal arts.
Philosophy is related to every field of study, in so far as every subject raises philosophical questions. It serves as preparation for many careers. No other field, except chemistry, has a higher acceptance rate to medical school than philosophy. It clearly prepares students for law school, where one must analyze documents and weigh arguments. It provides a strong background for theology, psychology, journalism, and politics with its emphasis on effective communication, persuasion, critical reading, and analytical writing skills.
The philosophy program is designed to prepare students for a life of critical examination of themselves and their society. It develops the student’s ability to detect the structures, the strengths and weaknesses, and the assumptions of argumentation. It seeks to put these skills to use for the betterment of society.
To fulfill this mission, the program provides opportunities for students to understand the basic questions of all disciplines and of human existence by introducing them to the major traditions and thinkers in philosophy. The program also provides practice in sharpening the skills of logical argument and awareness of the major value systems and how they shape persons and cultures.
Students will learn to think philosophically in a variety of contexts; to seek and detect the assumptions involved in argumentation; to judge what-is not only in terms of what might be, but as well in terms of what ought to be; and to understand the value of critical self-examination.