Brian Peterson (chair), Anna Christensen, Terry Kleven, Mark Thomas
The educational mission of the philosophy and religion department is to serve the Central Core and both the philosophy and religion majors. The department takes seriously its obligation to introduce to all students philosophy and religion as humanities disciplines. All courses at the 100- and 200-level are open to and designed for students at different stages of their general education, yet the department also seeks to offer a balanced array of courses for majors and minors.
Course offerings in philosophy introduce students to logic, the history of western philosophy, a sample of important areas of philosophical investigation and applied philosophy. In every philosophy course, the careful analysis and construction of arguments is emphasized. Reading and discussion of primary sources is preferred to textbook summaries in most courses.
By the time they graduate, philosophy majors should be able to grasp, reproduce and critically assess written arguments. From the time that they declare their intention to complete a major in philosophy until their communications skills are endorsed, they will be expected each spring to present to their philosophy advisor at least two philosophy papers that they have submitted in courses during the preceding two terms. The advisor will review the student‘s progress with colleagues in the department as appropriate and then discuss with the student his or her development of communication skills. The discussion should indicate any deficiencies so that the student is clear on what sorts of improvement are desirable. A student with serious deficiencies should receive from the advisor, at least two semesters before anticipated graduation, a written statement of remedial measures to be taken. The department may approve a student‘s communications skills before the third year. After a major‘s skills are approved, further submission of papers for skills review is optional.