“For anyone who is unsure if studying philosophy is practical outside the academic philosophy circle, my opinion is 'Yes'. I graduated in May 2012 with a Business General Management major and a Philosophy minor. Looking back I can see a direct correlation with my performance in my business classes as I began to take more philosophy courses. My ability to think broadly, communicate clearly, and make subtle distinctions has differentiated me in the classroom within the business school. I am now at the top of my class, and receive acknowledgments for my performance from professors within the business school. As I reflect on myself and my learning curve, I am certain that the skills I have gained that allow me to perform at the level I am now can be directly attributed to the assignments I completed, debates I participated in, and overall rigor I endured in the philosophy minor. I highly recommend a major or minor in Philosophy to those who want to differentiate themselves within the classroom or with future employers, as well as for those who want to forward their ability to think broadly.”
Nicholas Seligman, 2012
Why study Philosophy and Religion?
The skills you acquire can be useful for virtually all areas of study. Certain courses may complement your main field of study. Business college and pre-professional students are encouraged to take one of our ethics courses. Science students should consider taking philosophy of science. Computer science students will find the logic courses helpful. English majors will benefit from Old and New Testament literature courses. Art and music majors can take "Philosophy of Art." History majors will find that studying philosophy and religion adds depth to their knowledge of intellectual history. World religion courses and world history supplement each other. In addition, philosophy and religion are recommended for pre-law or pre-divinity students. We will be happy to suggest other courses to fit your special needs.
For over twenty-five years, photographer Steve Pyke has created emblematic portraits of philosophers, and has picked up some philosophical insights along the way. This article details some of Pyke's insights into the value of philosophy.
How will I benefit by taking courses in the disciplines of Philosophy & Religion?
First, each person's understanding of reality is built upon their answers, consciously or unconsciously held, to basic philosophical and religious questions. Courses in the related disciplines of Philosophy and Religion give you the opportunity to explore these questions from different perspectives and to understand the answers of others. Secondly, you will have the opportunity to develop skills in thinking independently; in researching, analyzing, and organizing information; in generating and evaluating ideas, and in communicating written and oral discourse. Such skills are needed in most types of employment and are useful for life in general.
What are the goals of the courses in the Department of Philosophy and Religion?
Our objectives in the courses in the Department of Philosophy and Religion are to acquaint students with religious and philosophical history, to develop the skills necessary to examine critically and discuss reflectively issues of philosophy and religion, and to promote a desire for advancing frontiers of knowledge in these areas.
The Department of Philosophy and Religion takes pride in the high standards we expect from our students to develop critical thinking skills. Click here for an article on the need for greater education in critical thinking.
What are some of the issues in Philosophy and Religion?
Sample issues in philosophy: What is knowledge? How do we know? What makes the difference between sound and fallacious reasoning? What are the arguments for and against the existence of God? What is a virtue? Can a person be taught to be virtuous? If so, how? If not, why not? Is trust in science justified? What are the presuppositions of science? What is beauty? Is it possible to define art? What is valuable about art?
Sample issues in religion: Is religion a matter of behavior, belief, or ritual? What are the major religions of the world? How are they similar and different? How can we read a religion's literature with better understanding? How does religion relate to science? Does science disprove religion? How has Christianity shaped European culture and been shaped by it? How has Islam influenced the culture of the Middle East? What happens to religions like Islam and Christianity as they are introduced to new cultures and regions?
What can I do with a degree in Philosophy and Religion?
The general thinking and communication skills acquired through an undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Religion are important in all career pursuits and appeal to a variety of employers or may be used as preparation for further specialized study. Some of our graduates have gone on to complete advanced degrees in philosophy, ministry, law, religious studies, education, history, and psychology. We have graduates who are working in counseling, environmental concerns, college teaching, ministry, missions, law, education, the armed services, and many other professions.
How can I benefit from courses in Philosophy and Religion even if I major in another area?
The skills you acquire can be useful for virtually all areas of study. Certain courses may complement your main field of study. Business college and preprofessional students are encouraged to take one of our ethics courses. Science students should consider taking philosophy of science. Computer science student will find the logic courses helpful. English majors will benefit from Old and New Testament literature courses. Art and music majors can take "Humanities: Music, Art and Ideas" and "Philosophy of Art and Beauty." History majors will find that studying philosophy adds dept to their knowledge of intellectual history. World religions courses supplement each other. In addition, philosophy is especially recommended as a major or minor for pre-law students. We will be happy to suggest other courses to fit your special needs.
Do Philosophy and Religion Courses satisfy any of my Core Curriculum requirements?
Yes. All of our 1000-2000 courses satisfy the Appalachian Core Curriculum requirements for Humanities. Also, the Bible courses 2010 and 2020 may be used to satisfy your literature requirement (if you are not a Philosophy and Religion major or minor).
Is there an honors program in Philosophy and Religion?
Yes, We have our own honors program and we participate as well in the university's honors program. There are honors sections for some introductory courses. You can also write an honors thesis for our department. For more information about the Honors program, contact Dr. Laura Ammon.