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Although embodying two distinct programs, the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is united in its aim to help students to live rich and meaningful lives and to become thoughtful and responsible citizens of the world. To this end the faculty is committed to the intellectual and moral development of students through personal and formal contacts both inside and outside the classroom. The study of either philosophy or religious studies engages questions about ultimate meanings and values, it exposes students to different systems of thought and belief, and it provides challenging occasions for conceptual and moral debate, self-knowledge, and a personal engagement with our increasingly complex multicultural world.

M.C. Escher

The goal of the Philosophy Program at Beloit College is to help our students develop the capacities for reflection, reason, judgment, and expression that lead to a meaningful and responsible life. We aim to meet this goal by engaging philosophical texts and arguments that help us to evaluate what we think and how we live. Philosophy classes are opportunities for dialogue with each other, with philosophical traditions, and with other disciplines. Through both writing and discussion, students should expect to develop their capacity to raise important questions, to engage in respectful yet critical discourse with others, and to live significant, purposeful, and accountable lives.

In the Philosophy Program, there are a number of more specific and interrelated goals and objectives which are pursued as means to our general departmental mission. Students should be able to:

  • Approach texts with charity and discernment
  • Identify, analyze, and evaluate arguments
  • Formulate illuminating questions
  • Demonstrate self-knowledge and ethical judgment
  • Acquire conceptual fluency with the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophical debates
  • Read carefully, listen closely, and communicate clearly