Evan Riley, Chair
Philosophy is the critical search for understanding through argumentation and the analysis of concepts. Philosophical issues arise in all areas of human inquiry, and consequently the types of questions that philosophy examines are surprisingly diverse. Does the world consist only of matter? What does it mean to be rational? What is the relationship between law and morality? Do computers think? What obligations do we have to the environment? In answering such questions, one acquires skills in critical reading, writing, discussion, conceptual analysis, argumentation, and identification of presuppositions. Thus, philosophy helps to enrich, expand, and develop one’s liberal arts education.
The Philosophy Department has as its fundamental mission the cultivation of skills, dispositions, and knowledge in its students contributing to their development as autonomous persons and as responsible and engaged members of society. These skills and dispositions are acquired and honed through studying and doing philosophy. They facilitate a student’s development by enabling the critical, systematic, and philosophically informed examination of beliefs, values, and conceptions of the world. Such an individual has an independent mind: one that is open, flexible, creative, critical, and capable of making well-reasoned decisions.
Many students have found a minor in philosophy to be a valuable supplement to other majors in the natural and social sciences and other humanities departments. An increasing number of our students are double majors.