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Philosophy at APSU

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The Philosophy and Religion major is designed to encourage students to think critically and creatively about human existence and the nature of reality. It emphasizes (1) training in critical reasoning and logical analysis; (2) an understanding of the many methods of human inquiry; (3) a survey of the history of philosophy and the history of ethics; (4) the analysis and appreciation of values and their application to moral and political issues; (5) a reflective and tolerant exploration of religion; and (6) the growth of a personal philosophy based on the lifelong search for and appreciation of truth, knowledge, goodness, and beauty.

The Philosophy and Religion Major is good background for most any career area or graduate study option. The degree is sought after by many businesses as an indicator of analytical ability.  Philosophy Majors are among the highest scorers of any major on standardized tests. The Religious Studies curriculum is good background for anyone with an interest in the world religions and religious issues or considering a career in religion. The Ethics and Policy Studies concentration is especially good background for law school or work in government.

There are four options in the philosophy program:

  1. Philosophy major that stresses the history of philosophy, logic, and epistemology, and ethical theory in the total of 30 hours (see a sample four year plan).

  2. Philosophical Studies: The Philosophy specialization stresses the History of Philosophy, Logic and Ethical Theory. It covers perennial issues in Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Value Theory, including the existence of God, free will, the nature of the mind, the basis of moral obligation, the nature of political justice, and the meaning of life. It is suggested for majors who wish to have a broad understanding of the history of ideas and the philosophical foundations of the liberal arts. The training in analysis and critical thinking is excellent – and sought-after preparation for business, public service, law, and many other fields. A philosophy major is looked upon favorably by graduate programs across various disciplines.

  3. Ethics, Law, and Political Theory: This specialization combines Moral and Political Philosophy and Applied Ethics. It is designed for students who are interested in moral and political theories and their practical application. Fields covered include the History of Ethics, Social and Political Theory, Philosophy of Law, War and Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, and Religious Ethics. The Ethics, Law and Policy Specialization is particularly good preparation for law school or work in government or other public service. The emphasis on critical thinking and problem solving is, like the philosophy major generally, good preparation for many types of work as well as engaged citizenship.

  4. Religious Studies: The Religious Studies specialization explores comparative world religions, the philosophy of religion, and scriptural studies. Its goal is the understanding of the nature of religion, the great religious traditions, and their role in human existence and social life. This specialization is practical for those thinking about going to seminary to prepare for a religious vocation such as ministry, chaplaincy, or teaching at a religiously affiliated school. It is also suggested for students who plan to go to graduate school in religious studies as preparation for college teaching. Finally, the specialization is suggested for anyone who has a passionate interest in religion and its philosophical inquiry.

The faculty in the philosophy program is committed to effective and responsible student advising and provides each student with a tentative two-year schedule of course offerings to facilitate the filling of degree requirements.

The Philosophy Faculty is currently composed of the following teachers:

(1) Dr. Mark Michael (Professor): Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Albany, SUNY (1987). His areas of teaching responsibility include ethical theory, social and political philosophy, modern philosophy, epistemology, and applied ethics.

(2) Dr. Jordy Rocheleau (Professor): Ph.D. in philosophy from Michigan State University (2000). His areas of teaching responsibility are 19th-20th century philosophy, history of ethics, war and ethics, philosophy of law, and religious ethics

(3) Dr. Ken Faber (Instructor):  Ph.D. in philosophy from Vanderbilt University.   His areas of teaching responsibility are ancient philosophy, medieval philosophy, existentialism, and eastern religions.

(4) Dr. Anne Edwards (Adjunct):  Ph.D. in philosophy.   Her area of teaching is medical ethics.

No classes are taught by graduate assistants. We believe that introductory level classes are as important as upper division (junior-senior) ones. Lower division classes (freshmen-sophomore) do not exceed 25 students, and upper division classes vary in size from seven to 20 students. The philosophy program is large enough to offer a comprehensive program but small enough to provide extensive interaction between students and teacher. We have an active Philosophy Club which organizes discussions, debates, field trips and fun gatherings outside the classroom.

If you wish further information concerning APSU and the philosophy program, including campus visits or tours, you may contact the APSU Admissions Office. You may also contact the program in one of the following ways: