University of Dubuque

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Philosophy and Religion

The Department of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Dubuque seeks to help students think carefully about what they believe and how they live. Our philosophy courses give students the opportunity to explore the "deep" questions of life. What is real? What should I value? What is right and wrong? Is there a God? What kind of life is worth living? By studying the ideas of philosophers of the past and present on questions such as these, students are challenged to examine their own ideas and shape their lives. Religion courses give students an opportunity to explore these same questions from the perspective of faith. What does Christianity say about life? What does the Bible teach? What do other religions have to say? Asking questions such as these, and thinking them through for oneself, is an important part of becoming an educated person. The goal is not just to give students knowledge of the ideas of others, but to help them form their beliefs and make their lives worth living.

Mission 

The Mission of the Department of Philosophy and Religion is to encourage intellectual, spiritual, and moral development of students through a variety of courses in the University's Core curriculum, and to provide advanced study of philosophy and religion to students majoring in these fields. Courses offered by the department encourage critical thinking, develop skills in academic inquiry, deepen understanding of the Christian tradition and other religious and philosophical perspectives, and stimulate students in the formation of their ideas, values, and beliefs about the perennial questions of philosophy and religion.

The offerings of the department contribute to the Mission of the University by helping students understand the University's Christian tradition and other religious and philosophical traditions, contributing to the liberal arts foundation of the University's Core curriculum, teaching critical thinking, research and writing skills necessary for life-long learning, and influencing students to be ethical stewards of the gifts and resources God has given them.


Objectives 
To fulfill this general mission, the department offers courses and majors in both philosophy and religion. Within each of these areas, the department has objectives relevant to the general education of all students, and objectives for the major.


Philosophy 
The philosophy program offers general education courses for all students with the objectives of helping them:

  • develop skills in critically analyzing claims, issues, and ideas;
  • contemplate basic questions about the world, life and reality;
  • appreciate the wisdom and insights of great thinkers in the history of human thought;
  • think critically and constructively about their own beliefs, values, and worldviews;
  • gain skills in careful research and academic writing.


The objectives of the philosophy major are to produce students who have:

  • an ability to analyze and evaluate ideas and issues critically and constructively;
  • general knowledge of the history of Western thought;
  • general understanding of the basic areas of philosophy, including epistemology (theory of knowledge), ethics, metaphysics, and logic;
  • exposure to non-western philosophy;
  • skills in philosophical research and writing.


Religion 
The religion program offers general education courses for all students with the objectives of helping them:

  • think critically and academically about issues surrounding religious beliefs and practices;
  • understand and respond to the Christian scriptures, traditions, beliefs and history;
  • understand and respond to non-Christian religions;
  • think critically and constructively about their own religious beliefs;
  • articulate more thoroughly the elements of their faith journeys;
  • gain skills in careful research and academic writing.


The objectives of the religion major are to produce students who have:a general knowledge of church history;

  • a basic understanding of the central beliefs and spirituality of the Christian faith;
  • a knowledge of the structure and content of the Bible;
  • an awareness of basic principles of Christian ethics;
  • an exposure to the great religions of the world;
  • skills for academic study, research, and writing in the field of religion.

The department offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in religion.