To study philosophy is to strive after defensible views on the basic issues of knowledge and value. Philosophy challenges one to develop consistent and reasonable positions, mindful of the work of great philosophers, on such matters as the nature and scope of human knowledge, the grounds for moral and political principles, the character of religious belief, and the methods employed by both practical and theoretical sciences. This study encourages responsible, independent thought and action; it widens one’s experience by disclosing surprising alternatives to settled opinions and habitual beliefs; it champions the view that free, critical inquiry, among persons of candor and good will is a necessary condition of a genuinely full and worthwhile life.
A major or minor in philosophy represents the finest tradition of liberal arts studies and will be of value in any vocation that prizes this tradition – for example, law, teaching, publishing, journalism, the ministry; the special sciences such as psychology, economics, history, physics, and mathematics; and such arts as language, literature, drama, and music. Students interested in these or similar fields are invited to consider a minor in philosophy, or a second major in philosophy, as a natural complement to their main specialization. From the wide variety of philosophy offerings each semester, students may select courses of particular relevance to their other work.