All learning in Western history began as philosophy. That's why a doctorate degree is still called a Ph.D. (doctorate of philosophy). Philosophy is a basic, foundational discipline, even if its vocabulary is specialized. As such, it deals with large questions like:
- What can we know?
- What should we do?
- What may we hope?
- What is human nature?
It is the mother of all academic disciplines, fundamental to intellectual and cultural literacy.
Philosophy sharpens our skills in critical thinking and analysis, allowing us to see through false arguments and discern underlying assumptions in arguments and theories. Because philosophy is so versatile, the Philosophy major provides a solid foundation for further study in a wide variety of fields, including not only the academic professions of philosophy, theology, and religious studies, but also professions in the social sciences, psychology, law, and related fields. Most important, it offers a thorough grounding in clear analytical thinking and problem solving – a skill absolutely essential in any field from corporate business to pastoral ministry.
Courses in Lenoir-Rhyne’s philosophy major seek to enrich students’ appreciation of the history of philosophical reflection and to guide their comprehension and critical evaluation of current issues and trends. The bachelor of arts major provides a sound foundation for further study in philosophy, the social sciences, law, theology, and related fields.
LEARNING OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
The major courses in Philosophy are designed as small seminar-styled learning experiences. Accordingly, there is an especially rich and deep learning community between faculty and students and among students taking Philosophy courses. Opportunities to continue discussions and debates regarding the “big questions” regularly spill over and out of class onto the front porch of the Russell House, in the dining hall, or in the residence halls. Additionally, students will have the opportunities to accompany faculty to local, regional, or national conferences, or to participate in informal book seminars with faculty and students beyond the classroom. By its very essence, Philosophy is a program that cannot be confined to the four walls of a traditional classroom.
The focus of the major and the learning skills and dispositions it generates make Philosophy an especially strong liberal arts major that prepares students for a wide range of professional and/or graduate opportunities. For example, it is a particularly popular major for students considering law school because of the critical thinking and analysis fundamental to the major. Students going to seminary find themselves much better prepared if they have a background in philosophy, since contemporary theology often builds on philosophical foundations. Practically any profession that requires extensive critical thinking and analytical abilities benefits from Philosophical study: lawyers, journalists, business people, human services and counseling professionals, writers and publishers, teachers and professors, ministers, and many more.
Student may seek a BA degree with a major in Philosophy. A minor in the program is also available.