Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Philosophy Learning Goals

The learning goals for majors and others students who take courses in the Department of Philosophy are:

  • To read some of the major texts written by or about many of the historically most important philosophers, such as Plato, Aquinas, and Descartes.
  • To read some of the best contemporary philosophical writing.
  • To discuss and analyze the positions taken in historical and contemporary texts on most of the centrally important philosophical topics, such as the existence and nature of God, freedom and responsibility, the possibility of knowledge, the nature of scientific explanation, the nature of morality, the obligation to obey the law, the nature and possibility of a just society, the relation of mind and body, and the nature of consciousness.
  • To become more proficient in the fundamentals of modern formal logic and argumentation.
  • To acquire or demonstrate technological competencies appropriate to the discipline of philosophy.
  • To have written many assignments in which they clarify and analyze philosophical arguments, or explore and develop their own views about important philosophical questions in light of alternatives.
  • To improve one’s abilities to read difficult texts, to analyze and clarify the arguments in those texts, and to explore and defend views in short and long form writing.
  • To deepen their understanding of the complexities involved in taking a responsible stand in relation to the questions that have defined the philosophical tradition for millennia.