The Philosophy Program is an integral part of Juniata’s liberal arts curriculum. The essential function of a genuine liberal arts education is to liberate the minds of students by teaching them how to conceptually identify and critically examine their fundamental assumptions, ideologies, value systems, and modes of thinking behind our society, cultures, and human lives. Philosophy is the activity of critically and rationally examining the reasons behind the most fundamental presuppositions of human lives through thinking about thinking (Aristotle) and self-examination (Socrates). Philosophical training and knowledge are an essential part of and one indispensable theoretical foundation of any sound liberal arts curriculum (if one does not want to simply pay the lip service to liberal arts education).
The Philosophy Department seeks to engage students in rational and critical thinking about their total life experience: logic, ethics, aesthetics, methods of knowing, and levels of being and, accordingly, to prepare students to lead examined lives. Especially, given the enormous emphasis on science and career education at Juniata, it is essential to identify the crucial ontological, epistemological, and ethical issues at the very heart of these career ambitions.