Historically, our area of the academy has been deeply connected to the history and development of the liberal arts, given that this tradition of study grew out of the philosophical and theological studies of the ancient and medieval academies. If the modern university could be traced to a single source, it would be Immanuel Kant’s work The Conflict of the Faculties, which structures the community of learning into distinct faculties each with its designated division of labor. In order for these faculties to pursue the truth unimpeded by other interests, each would require the autonomy of peer review and, more importantly, should be guided by reason because it is “free and admits of no command to hold something as true.” Since philosophy is the discipline devoted to reason as such, it assumes the position of “queen of the sciences” once held by theology in the medieval universities. Thus, our department not only holds a commitment to the liberal arts tradition, but bears the task of thinking about the very nature of that tradition and the way it continues to take shape in the emerging world of new technologies, new divisions of intellectual labor, and new ways of organizing knowledge.
The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies strives to offer excellent undergraduate instruction, to conduct first-rate scholarly research, and to perform dedicated service to the college, university, community, and academic profession.