Mission Statement

To foster a critical, reflective, and interrogative attitude towards values and beliefs, and to cultivate the intellectual skills, ethical capacities, and affective dispositions necessary for developing this attitude, through a critical understanding of the significant and enduring questions, arguments, and texts of the history of philosophical thought and through the rigorous examination of contemporary ethical problems.

Philosophy has been traditionally understood as a love of the truth. It strives for the truth in its most broad and fundamental forms, not merely as one field of knowledge. Philosophy seeks to exacerbate the questionability of what is questionable and to reveal that what seems obvious or beyond question most demands interrogation into its nature and legitimacy.

The department understands the cultivation of this attitude as the primary goal of an education in philosophy. The department also believes that philosophy specifically, though certainly not exclusively, is equipped to teach, train, and develop it. To cultivate this attitude, there are determinate skills and fields of mastery that are necessary, ranging from analytical, exegetical, and evaluative skills to the understanding of the major philosophical theories and arguments advanced throughout the twenty-six hundred year tradition of philosophy. In doing this, philosophy seeks to raise the most fundamental and enduring questions about ourselves, our obligations, and our world.

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