Philosophy is reasoned inquiry about the nature of persons, reality, thought, knowledge, values, and beauty. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating fundamental ideas, principles and arguments in all areas of human existence and knowledge. Equally concerned with human endeavor in both the arts and the sciences, philosophy continues to reside at the core of a liberal education.
Students major or minor in Philosophy because of their desire to pursue fundamental ideas, principles, and arguments in general or in relation to other disciplines. Philosophy helps students develop strong skills in writing, critical thinking, reading, and understanding complex texts. These skills are indispensable for any committed and concerned citizen. The study of philosophy also provides a deeper understanding and enjoyment of the challenges and issues people face throughout their personal and professional lives.
Students may choose to major solely in Philosophy, or to pursue it as a second major or as a minor. As several members of the department teach regularly within Interdisciplinary Studies, many philosophy courses introduce a wide range of ethical, political, scientific, technological, literary, and aesthetic ideas into discussions of philosophical issues. Courses in critical thinking and logic are a benefit to students in all their coursework and can be especially useful to students who plan to enter graduate school or professional school. Given the department's association with the Center for Professional and Applied Ethics, many philosophy courses give students a deeper understanding of contemporary issues in business, law, medicine, public policy, information technology, and environmental studies.