Sep 29, 2023  
2009-2010 Catalog 
2009-2010 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy (PHL)

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544 David M. French Hall
(810) 762-3380

Chair: Jami L. Anderson
Principal Secretary: Laura J. Milem
Professors L. Nathan Oaklander (David M. French Professor); Associate Professors Jami L. Anderson, Simon Cushing; Assistant Professor Aderemi Artis; Lecturer III Stevens Wandmacher
Professor Emeritus Charles E. M. Dunlop (David M. French Professor), Professor Emeritus Richard Gull; Associate Professor Emeritus Paul Peterson; Assistant Professor Emeritus Kendall B Cox

Philosophy addresses fundamental questions concerning human beings and their place in the world. For example: Is one moral code really superior to another? What evidence is there for the existence of God and life after death? Is the mind like a computer? Are some paintings better than others, or is beauty just in the “eye of the beholder?” What distinguishes science from non-science? What can we really know?

As these sample questions suggest, philosophy covers a lot of ground. Quite naturally, therefore, philosophy is closely connected to other areas of study. Related coursework for philosophy students includes anthropology, art, computer science, communication, English, history, mathematics, political science, psychology, and sociology. Studying philosophy (and some related fields) will enhance one’s understanding of where our culture came from and how it has been shaped by philosophical ideas.

Philosophy is not just a subject; it is also a method. Philosophy emphasizes analytical skills connected with logical thinking, careful reading, and clear writing. This, combined with its connections to many other disciplines, makes the study of philosophy appropriate for students contemplating graduate work in a variety of fields. In addition, success in today’s workforce is increasingly dependent upon good reasoning and communication skills. Studying philosophy can promote the development of these skills.

Department Mission and Program Assessment

The mission of the Philosophy Department falls into two interconnected areas: to produce clear thinkers and skilled communicators, and to advance understanding of our culture and history through an examination of the ways they have been shaped by philosophical ideas. This mission means that the Department aims to provide students with the critical reasoning skills and communication skills that will prepare them for advanced study in  philosophy as well as success in today’s workforce, with an understanding of our culture and history that is a necessary component of responsible citizenry. The Department participates in the University-wide effort to assess its academic programs. Information on assessment plans, including goals, methods and outcomes is available at

Programs in Philosophy

Four concentration programs are offered, all leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree: the General Program in Philosophy , the Program in Philosophy with Emphasis in Ethics, Social and Political , the Honors Program in Philosophy , and the Joint Program in Philosophy and Psychology . A Minor in Philosophy  is also available.

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