Lori Witt (chair), Anna Christensen, Mark Thomas
The focus of Central’s philosophy program is “ethics and human flourishing.” Often when people hear the word “ethics,” they think of case studies and debates about hot-button issues. Our approach to ethics is more comprehensive: it involves getting students to think about how everything they do fits into the bigger picture of a meaningful life. It also involves offering courses exploring the core areas in philosophy and its history, realizing that a full appreciation of living well requires understanding basic questions of metaphysics, logic, and epistemology. By focusing on human flourishing and developing critical reading and reasoning skills, the program prepares students to be thoughtful, adaptable, and productive citizens in this changing world.
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.