The Philosophy and Religion Department speaks to the core of the liberal arts, to the values that underlie Western culture and indeed to the values that make all cultures and civilizations possible. These values center on the perennial questions: what is the true; what is the beautiful; and what is the good? There are no cultures without these concerns.
These questions, in turn, require a reflection on the nature of the human being, and on the examination of the person who asks questions. "Know thyself" was inscribed on the Greek temples of Apollo and reminds us that all human destiny and the human wisdom that guides it faces in two directions: toward God, gods or ultimate values and toward the seeker and the eloquence needed to guide the search. The department is devoted to teaching these transcendental skills, to the critical thinking and expression that this two-fold task requires.
The college student in all coursework thinks, reads, and writes, but philosophy and religion are specifically directed toward the center of these abilities to thinking about thinking, to questioning what is read, and to examining critically the ways and means of expressions. Thus, philosophy and religion are quite compatible with most other majors or minors. It is not uncommon for students in, for example, physics, pre-law, English and history to be philosophy or religion majors or minors.