Offered by the Department of History, Philsophy and Political Science
Professor Guenther, Newman
Associate Professors Bosworth, Chua, Gaskievicz (chairperson), Holderby, McEvoy
Assistant Professor Rothermel
The Department offers a major in Philosophy with two optional concentrations: Pre-Law and Applied Philosophy and Professional Ethics.
Consistent with the goals of a Liberal Arts education, the philosophy major at Mansfield University through its several programs and its courses will:
- develop, implement and /or support efforts to provide disciplined and engaged learning opportunities for all Mansfield University students;
- provide each student accessible, yet high quality, general education courses that emphasize critical thinking and the construction, analysis, and evaluation of arguments;
- develop students’ abilities to communicate in written and oral forms their understanding of philosophical issues important in daily living;
- enable students to look at the familiar in unfamiliar ways;
- support, through instruction, advising, and administration, high quality academic major programs in philosophy, applied and professional ethics, and pre-law that appeal to dedicated and motivated students;
- support, through advising and administration, two interdisciplinary minor programs under our jurisdiction—Canadian studies and pre-law
- support the Mansfield University Honors Program through teaching the Honor Humanities I and II core requirements and support other Mansfield University academic areas with specialized courses, including history, political science, nursing, allied health sciences, organizational leadership, and environmental sciences;
- participate actively in the intellectual life and faculty governance activities of Mansfield University;
- participate actively in the intellectual life of our discipline and offer expertise in public and community service activities, with
The philosophy department at Mansfield University, through its several major and minor programs, will become a Center for Excellence in the study of philosophy and the application of philosophical principles to further the good of its region, especially in the areas of applied and professional ethics, law, and leadership.
Student Learning Outcomes
- Comprehend arguments presented in a written text
- Comprehend arguments presented orally
- Recognize the assumptions and implications of varied positions
- Analyze concepts and intellectual problems
- Produce cogent philosophical arguments
- Critically evaluate relevant information and issues
- Propose appropriate solutions to problems
- Rationally consider alternative points of view
- Articulate views clearly and effectively
- Identify logical fallacies
- Distinguish weak from strong arguments and the difference between valid and invalid reasoning
- Understand major ethical theories and their applications
- Understand theories in social and political philosophy and their applications
- Argue a philosophically informed position from both sides of contemporary moral and/or social problems
- Aware of basic philosophical views about the acquisition and justification of knowledge
- Aware of basic philosophical views about the nature of reality
- Recognize connections between philosophy and other disciplines
Philosophy is concerned with exploring and reasoning through such issues as the meaning of life, whether we are really free, the nature of the self, how we can determine what is morally right and wrong, proper reasoning (logic), whether there is a God, the nature of religion, science, and art. The department offers the B.A. degree in Philosophy, as well as a Philosophy minor. Additionally, the minor program in Canadian Studies, and the minor in Pre-Law are administered by the Philosophy Department.
A Philosophy major provides an excellent grounding in the fundamental ideas and concepts of our culture. It thus explains a great deal of why we are the way we are and do the things we do. Students are introduced to major philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, and Hume. The major is appropriate for anyone wishing an educationally rewarding and personally challenging undergraduate experience. Because of its emphasis on critical thinking skills, it is especially useful for professions requiring excellence in reasoning, writing, and argumentation. It is the recommended course of study for those wishing to pursue a graduate degree in Philosophy. There is sufficient flexibility in the Philosophy major to allow students to combine Philosophy as a double major with any other university program.
The B.A. degree in Philosophy also offers a Pre-Law concentration that is designed primarily for students who want to attend Law School or work in a law related field. The Pre-Law concentration is an interdisciplinary major that emphasizes the relationship between philosophy and several of the social sciences. The Pre-Law B.A. Program has been carefully designed to help students develop intermediate to advanced skills in critical reasoning, legal argumentation, and judicial analysis. It is a rigorous program intended to challenge students and advance their opportunities in the study of law and requires 36 credit hours of study.
The B.A. degree in Philosophy with a concentration in Applied Philosophy and Professional Ethics is for students who wish to include a significant ethics component in their curriculum. The Applied and Professional Ethics concentration is an interdisciplinary major that emphasizes the relationship between moral theory and moral practice in modern society. With the rapid rise of public interest in ethical issues, this program was designed to help promote ethics education and ethical analysis of professional and social behaviors. It requires 36 credit hours of study.
In addition to the credit hour requirements for each of the philosophy tracks, students majoring in philosophy will be required to complete a capstone project in their final year of study. The capstone will be a research-based, student selected, independent study project undertaken as part of their existing program requirements either (a) during one of the upper level philosophy courses or (b) in a one-credit PHL 4490 seminar, with permission. Students must complete this project with a grade of C or above in order to complete the program requirements for graduation.
Philosophy, Pre-Law Concentration
Mansfield University has an active and successful effort in the preparation of students for the study of Law. Central to this program are the Pre-Law Minor and the Pre-Law Association. Pre-Law is administered by the Philosophy Program. The Pre- Law Association is an active, student-funded organization which supplies students with various types of support in preparation for law school. This includes trips to law school fairs, advice concerning LSAT preparation programs, advice on studying for the LSAT, visits to Mansfield University from law school recruiters, advice on applying to law schools, discussions by visiting alumni attorneys or law students, etc. In order to ensure that students expressing the intention of enrolling in law school will receive the support they need, they will be expected to discuss an appropriate major for themselves with the Pre-Law advisor, depending on the area of law they anticipate practicing.