Philosophy and Religious Studies

Philosophy and Religious Studies courses help students develop their own perspectives on personal and global topics while sharpening critical thinking skills. Reflecting on the reasons they and others have for thinking as they do, philosophy students deepen their understanding of themselves while broadening their outlook on life while understanding the power of religion and spirituality has become a pressing need in the contemporary world.

Philosophy

Literally, “love of wisdom” — we engage the enduring questions of Western culture: What is Truth? What are our obligations to other people? What is Reality? How should we decide among different solutions to these problems? Raising and assessing critically influential answers to such questions is fundamental to all courses in philosophy. Our courses help students develop their own perspectives on these topics while sharpening critical thinking skills, and our students often complement their coursework in philosophy with an additional major. Some career choices Philosophy majors and minors pursue include law, medicine, theology, writing, and teaching.

Religious Studies

Understanding the power of religion and spirituality has become a pressing need in our contemporary circumstances. Religions offer answers to “the big questions” about the purpose of life. Majoring in religion readies students to interact intelligently and knowledgeably about religion and its impact in social life and in the areas of politics, science, history, and culture. The major or minor is also appropriate for persons preparing for further theological study and church-related vocations. Double majoring is an exciting interdisciplinary option. Recent religion majors have also majored in Accounting, Computer Science, History, Literature, and Philosophy.

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  • Faculty

    Debra Dean Murphy, Associate Professor

    B.S., West Virginia Wesleyan College
    M.T.S., Duke Divinity School
    Ph.D., Drew University

    Areas of Instruction: Religious Studies
    email: murphy_d@wvwc.edu
    phone: 8362
    research: Debra Dean Murphy teaches courses in theology, ethics, liturgy, and church history. She is the author of Happiness, Health, and Beauty: The Christian Life in Everyday Terms (Cascade 2015) and Teaching that Transforms: Worship as the Heart of Christian Education (Brazos 2004). Her articles and essays have appeared in Modern Theology, Scottish Journal of Theology, Liturgy, and Cross Currents. Her blog, “Intersections: Thoughts on Religion, Culture, and Politics.” is regularly featured by The Christian Century, Sojourners, and On Being.

     

    Bernard Keating,  Professor

    B.A., College of William and Mary
    M.B.A., West Virginia Wesleyan College
    M.A., Ph.D., University of Virginia

    Areas of Instruction: Philosophy

    email: keating@wvwc.edu

    phone: 8436

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  • Majors
    • Philosophy – B.A.

      Students will:

      • Students will demonstrate the ability to distinguish arguments from non-arguments and will be able to provide reasoned assessments of soundness/cogency in simple cases.
      • Students will be able to demonstrate competence in analyzing arguments.
      • Students will demonstrate an ability to defend a philosophical thesis.
    • Philosophy and Religious Studies – B.A.
    • Religious Studies – Christian Formation and Liturgy or Religion and Culture – B.A.

      Students will:

      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the core beliefs and practices of religious traditions.
      • Students will be able to reason theologically, interpret texts critically, and engage with religious diversity.
      • Students will understand the complexities, ambiguities and mysteries of lived faith.
      • Students will be able to articulate, be thoughtful, and be self-aware about their own religious and theological commitments.
  • Minors
    • Philosophy

      Students will: 

      • Students will demonstrate the ability to distinguish arguments from non-arguments and will be able to provide reasoned assessments of soundness/cogency in simple cases.
      • Students will be able to demonstrate competence in analyzing arguments.
      • Students will demonstrate an ability to defend a philosophical thesis.
    • Religious Studies

      Students will: 

      • Students will demonstrate knowledge of the core beliefs and practices of religious traditions.
      • Students will be able to reason theologically, interpret texts critically, and engage with religious diversity.
      • Students will understand the complexities, ambiguities and mysteries of lived faith.
      • Students will be able to articulate, be thoughtful, and be self-aware about their own religious and theological commitments.