What Is Philosophy?
The word ‘philosophy’ literally translates to ‘love of wisdom.’ When you study philosophy you will pursue wisdom through reasoning and critical reflection about the most fundamental principles, concepts, and presuppositions that underlie our understanding of the world and the way we live our lives. The philosophy program provides an opportunity to engage in disciplined reflection about matters that concern every human being—ourselves, our world, our interaction with one another—and therefore is both intellectually stimulating and personally enriching. In addition to the intellectual and personal values embodied in the study of philosophy, students acquire critical thinking skills, communication skills, and awareness of values, that are applicable to other academic areas and readily transferable to non-academic careers.
The Philosophy Department program’s six “overarching” learning goals for majors have been in place since 2006. They are:
LG 1: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to articulate the views of prominent figures in the history of Western philosophy.
LG 2: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to articulate alternative views on leading philosophical issues and identify the reasons and arguments that may be advanced in support of these competing views.
LG 3: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to advance and defend a position on various philosophical issues, taking account (where relevant) of perspectives emerging out of differences in gender, race, class, and culture.
LG 4: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to employ philosophical techniques (such as the analysis of concepts, the making of distinctions, the uncovering of assumptions, the identification of arguments, and the analysis of arguments) in an effort to resolve philosophical problems.
LG 5: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to write and speak about philosophical issues in a clear, logically sound, and coherent manner.
LG 6: Upon completion of the major in philosophy, a student will be able to identify and evaluate various reference sources relevant to a philosophical research project.