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Philosophy Statement of Purpose and Learning Outcomes

The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies provides students with the opportunity to explore the answers of philosophers and religious traditions to the great existential questions of life. These “big questions” include the ultimate nature and purpose of reality, the sources and quality of knowledge, the basis of ethics and morals, human claims about relating to God, the relationship between reason and faith, and the natural and ultimate destiny of human beings.

Although philosophy and religious studies are distinct disciplines, they both seek to develop analytical and critical thinking, to enhance the ability to express ideas in speaking and writing, and to engage in ethical and moral thought. These inquiries are essential elements of the Catholic intellectual tradition which is embraced by the College as part of its mission. A deliberate attempt is made to help students reflect upon, explain, support, and communicate their own answers to these questions as they apply them to their own personal and professional lives.

Philosophy Statement of Purpose
Philosophy is the love of wisdom. The philosophy major develops students’ fundamentally human ability to reason, to question, and to wonder about all of reality. The department’s classes have a strong historical approach and ethical focus, while also covering areas such as metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, philosophy of language, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of education. Students engage in thought that allows for a fuller, more human life. In doing so, they develop the thinking skills, the ability to express ideas clearly in speaking and writing, and an awareness of ethical issues that are essential to any career, vocation, or pursuit.

Philosophy Learning Outcomes
Students completing an undergraduate degree in Philosophy at the College of Mount Saint Vincent will be able to:

1) Engage in the study of primary philosophical texts.
2) Develop the use of philosophical argumentation. Students will be encouraged to think about why it is important to have reasons for one’s position.
3) Reflect upon the connection between course themes and their own lives, which requires engagement in philosophical questioning and exploration.
4) Articulate why ethical thought and ethical questioning matter in human life.
5) Explore the connections between speculative and practical philosophy.