Our department offers two separate and independent programs: (1) the philosophy program and (2) the religious studies program. Students can complete a major or minor in philosophy. They can also take philosophy or religious studies courses as electives.
“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”
Never before have human beings known so many facts. Never before have so many of those facts been within easy reach—there at a touch on every smartphone or tablet. But what do all those facts mean? What assumptions are they based on and are these justified? Which facts are most important? Why are they important? How can we even know what a fact is? And once we do know a fact, what, if anything, are we obligated to do about it?
Those are some questions philosophy asks, and they are just as unavoidable today as they were when the ancient Greeks invented the word filosofia, meaning “love of wisdom.” Without philosophy, we might have a growing knowledge of facts, but we would have no understanding of their significance, no wisdom for dealing with them at the highest human level. And indeed, reflective people do philosophy as part of their everyday lives, whether they know it or not. Even someone who argues, after careful thought, that “philosophy is worthless” has a philosophical reason for holding that view. In short, philosophy is the discipline where we stop and think about the most important things in life.
At VIU, philosophers in the classroom strive to “stop and think” at the highest possible level. These philosophers include:
great philosophers of history (Plato, Aristotle, Hume, Kant, …) as well as leading academic minds at work today (Singer, Taylor, Kripke, …). We read them, study them, and learn from them.
VIU faculty. Members of the department are both philosophers, who have done work in the field, and teachers, who are committed to helping students.
VIU students (including you!). Classes are for discussion, not just for lectures, so everybody gets a chance to contribute to a greater understanding of philosophical questions.