This program presents Philosophy as an integral life activity growing out of a deep and passionate concern with life and its meaning. In its academic mode, Philosophy has been noted for cultivating those dispositions and aptitudes requisite for critical thinking and sound judgment. In this function it provides the strongest preparation for rational living.
The traumatic changes that mark our age and affect all people involve philosophical issues. Among the more compelling are questions of freedom, justice, personal authenticity, and morality. The Philosophy program prepares students to enter as intelligent participants in contemporary discussions about such issues. It does so through a series of historical and systematic courses that explore the conceptual foundations of our tradition and engage students in great debates about the ultimate questions of existence that perennially confront those who would live examined lives. By critically assessing foundational concepts and systematically evaluating philosophical arguments students acquire that mental freedom and develop those thinking skills that enable them to be intellectually responsible agents in directing their own lives and contributing to the life of society.
The critical thinking skills that philosophy students develop, in addition to skills in careful reading, persuasive writing and complex argumentation, prepare them for a wide range of careers in law, business and medicine, as well as further work in the humanities.
"Philosophy majors performed substantially better than the average (5% better or more) on each of the tests (LSAT, GMAT, GRE) surveyed. Not one other group of majors shows this consistent pattern--not even economics or the physical sciences, whose majors did exceptionally well in three of the four areas but only marginally better than the average on the verbal portion of the GRE." Phi Kappa Phi Journal 2/20/90
Our department is small, and the atmosphere is friendly. We enjoy what we do and our students receive quality advising and close personal attention. Quite often the discussions begun in class continue on down the hall with other faculty and students joining in the debate. We are careful to cultivate and maintain this casual environment of open discussion and we are quite proud of it. While each of us has different interests and specializations, what draws us together as a department is the fun we have exploring new ideas, and sharing this pleasure with our students.
General Requirements for Philosophy Majors
Philosophy majors must complete 30 credits in Philosophy and maintain a 2.00 (C grade) average overall and in the major. They are also required to take Introduction to Logic (PHL 105), Introduction to Ethics (PHL 102), and the four upper level historical courses: Ancient Philosophy (PHL 320), Early Modern Philosophy (PHL 330), 19th Century Philosophy (PHL 340) and 20th Century Philosophy (PHL 430). A proficiency in a foreign language is advisable.
A large number of "free electives" allows students flexibility in personalizing their studies. Majors can, with approval of their advisors, either select from various minors and areas of concentration, pursue double majors, or select clusters of advanced courses from different disciplines in pursuit of more integrated understanding.
The Double Major in Philosophy
The Double Major in Philosophy is a particularly attractive option for those students wishing to combine their interest in philosophy with another discipline such as English, Pre-Law, Psychology, or Business. The large number of free electives in the Philosophy Major makes it easy to create an integrated program of study. This sort of combination of disciplines allows students to apply philosophical insights to other major study areas at a level of sophistication well beyond that fostered by Misericordia's 6 hour core requirement in Philosophy. The Double Major in Philosophy has proven to be particularly popular with students, and we believe it is a valuable contribution to Misericordia's tradition of educating the whole person, providing an excellent foundation for a wide range of challenging careers.
The Philosophy Minor
The Minor in Philosophy allows students perhaps more flexibility than any other minor offered at Misericordia. Beyond the required introductory course in Philosophy, the student minoring in Philosophy may take any other 5 Philosophy courses of their choice. Availability of courses may vary, and some upper level courses require prerequisites. Minoring in Philosophy gives students a philosophical sophistication beyond the university's core requirements, while allowing them to tailor their program to their own interests.