Philosophy is among the oldest of intellectual disciplines. Many areas of study now distinct from philosophy — for example, the various sciences — may be regarded as offspring of philosophy which have come of age. Nevertheless, the central philosophical questions remain as vital as ever.
Historically, philosophy has been regarded by many as the most basic of intellectual disciplines; it is the firm conviction of the faculty of the Department of Philosophy that it is among the most relevant. Among the questions dealt with in one philosophy course or another are “What is knowledge?” “What is truth?” “Can we gain knowledge?” “Can we know the truth?” “Are there such things as right and wrong?” “Does God exist?” “What is the nature of the distinction between minds and bodies?” “Are persons machines?” and the like. The department believes that consideration of these and related questions is fundamental to being educated and, as such, should be of interest to all students; moreover, the department believes that many students are sufficiently able and mature intellectually to pursue answers to these questions at an advanced level with profit, and the faculty invite them to join in this pursuit.
The Department of Philosophy offers a wide range of courses in most of the traditional areas of philosophical concern: history of philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, metaphysics, to name only a few. A number of courses satisfy General University Requirements. Beyond this, the department offers a major and a minor program in philosophy. The major program is intentionally one of the smallest in the University to allow students maximum opportunity to explore other areas of interest.
Work in philosophy fits well into many pre-professional programs. It is highly desirable as preparation for law school; indeed, some law schools have historically listed it as the preferred undergraduate major. Emphasizing, as it does, careful, deep, critical analysis of concepts and problems, philosophy is an excellent major for students who will seek positions in business and government which require a liberal arts background.
Recent studies show that students who major in philosophy are among the very highest groups in performance on the Graduate Record and other such qualifying examinations.
RYAN WASSERMAN (2005) Chair and Associate Professor. BA, Western Washington University; PhD, Rutgers University.
DANIEL HOWARD-SNYDER (2001) Professor. BA, Seattle Pacific University; PhD, Syracuse University.
FRANCES HOWARD-SNYDER (1993) Professor. BA, MA, University of Capetown; PhD, Syracuse University.
HUD HUDSON (1992) Professor. BA, Boise State University; MA, PhD, University of Rochester.
NED MARKOSIAN (1998) Professor. BA, Oberlin College; PhD, University of Massachusetts.
NEAL TOGNAZZINI (2014) Assistant Professor. BA, Western Washington University; MA, PhD, University of California, Riverside.
DENNIS WHITCOMB (2007) Associate Professor. BS, Kansas State University; PhD, Rutgers University.
ProgramsUndergraduate MajorUndergraduate Minor
Courses numbered X37; X97; 300, 400 are described in the University Academic Policies section of this catalog.