Philosophy Department

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Learning Goals

A course of study in philosophy at Muhlenberg College serves three main learning goals: development of skills in argument identification, analysis and evaluation; cultivation of intellectually sound habits of mind; and acquisition of foundational philosophical knowledge required for serious engagement in the discipline. These three learning goals encompass the following:

    Skills:
  • the ability to read philosophical and non-philosophical texts with comprehension of complex and/or hidden argumentation
  • the ability to identify an argument’s major, supporting and assumed premises
  • the ability to analyze evidence and evaluate arguments for cogency
  • the ability to construct rationally persuasive arguments for and against various philosophical positions and theoretical perspectives
  • to compose and articulate philosophical questions raised by texts, arguments, and theories
  • to imaginatively engage texts and to creatively construct interpretations
  • to make connections among ideas, concepts, and problems across different fields of philosophy
  • to write effective prose appropriate to the discipline

  • Habits Of Mind:
  • to approach the study of philosophy with intellectual humility and patience and accept and engage complexity
  • to be willing to examine one’s own views as well as competing views and to subject all beliefs or claims to honest and fair scrutiny
  • to be willing to explore all views with care and patience so as to avoid oversimplification
  • to recognize the significance of moral and ethical reasoning and bring informed moral reflection to bear on issues of both personal life and social/civic engagement

  • Knowledge:
  • to identify and demonstrate familiarity with major Western philosophers and philosophical movements
  • to comprehend the distinctive contribution of Asian philosophies and demonstrate understanding of one or more of those philosophies
  • to discern, identify, and discuss central philosophical issues and problems, both those of enduring importance and those specific to a period or movement
  • to understand how the philosophical underpinnings of other disciplines shape inquiry in those disciplines
  • to demonstrate familiarity with major ethical perspectives and concerns and apply major perspectives to concrete problems of various kinds, and/or identify major socio-political perspectives and demonstrate comprehension of those perspectives in relation to concrete issues or problems