Office: Humanities Center, Room 050r
Chair: Richard P. Boothby, Professor
Professors: Paul Richard Blum; Richard P. Boothby; Malcolm G. Clark (emeritus); Drew L. Leder; Graham James McAleer
Associate Professors: Paul J. Bagley; Francis J. Cunningham; Catriona Hanley; Irmgard Braier Scherer (emerita); Dale E. Snow; Timothy J. Stapleton
Assistant Professors: Mavis L. Biss; Bret W. Davis; Fuat Gürsözlü; Jeffrey C. Witt
Affiliate Faculty: Nina Guise-Gerrity; Steven Weber
Philosophy is unique among the disciplines. It is distinguished first of all by the fundamental nature of the questions it raises. Over the centuries, philosophers have struggled to explore the true nature of reality and the meaning of human life, to determine the possibility and limits of knowledge, to clarify the demands of justice and the character of good and evil, and to ponder the existence of God.
Philosophical questions are perennially open questions. In this respect, too, philosophy is distinctive. Unlike texts from the past in many other fields, philosophical works, even those from very distant antiquity, retain enduring value and significance for contemporary concerns.
Reading the great thinkers of the past is an indispensable part of training in philosophy. However, philosophical inquiry is by no means a mere history of ideas. Philosophy, said Aristotle, begins in wonder, and to study philosophy is to embark upon an adventure in thinking. Genuine philosophical reflection requires a radical freedom and willingness to question received opinions in an ongoing search for truth.
Training in philosophy, far from being irrelevant or impractical, serves to sharpen the tools of thinking for use in any endeavor. As such, philosophy significantly enriches the study of other disciplines, whether in the humanities, in business, in law, or in the sciences. For this reason, many students choose a double major, taking 10 elective courses in philosophy in addition to fulfilling the requirements for a major in another subject. Students may also incorporate philosophy in an interdisciplinary major, or may choose to minor in philosophy by taking, in addition to PL201, one other 200-level offering, and five upper-level philosophy courses, one of which can be a departmental offering in ethics.
Requirements for a major and an example of a typical program of courses are as follows:
* Required for major.
** Terms may be interchanged.
Five philosophy courses must be taken in addition to PL201 and one other PL200-level offering. One course may be the ethics core requirement, provided this course is chosen from PL300-319.