Our Mission Statement

The philosophy & religion department seeks to catalyze and further students' development of ethical, political, and religious autonomy. Autonomy is understood to be an essential condition for both personal happiness and responsible participation in community: autonomy thus essentially includes, rather than excludes, relationships with others. More specifically, such an outcome is marked by: familiarity with historical and contemporary frameworks of meaning from a variety of religious and philosophical traditions (both Western and non-Western); an understanding of both representative conflicts and complementary relationships between faith and reason, specifically as faith and reason work in "mutually critical correlations" (so David Tracy); liberation from culturally-received beliefs which, upon critical assessment, may be seen to unjustifiably hobble efforts to develop autonomy and to participate meaningfully in a larger (ultimately global) community; the ability to understand a diversity of perspectives and beliefs, in order to more productivelyengage in dialogue and discussion with those who do not always share one's basic assumptions; the ability to articulate and critically assess fundamental religious and philosophical claims regarding human nature and existence, values, and identity; and the ability to construct one's own framework of meaning which provides for both personal freedom and significant participation in the global community.