"Philosophy" means -- literally -- love of wisdom. The word was coined to refer to those who don't settle for simple answers to big questions. They seek deeper truths, and they are willing to look beyond what is superficial and conventional to discern what is real. They don’t let others think for them. They want to figure things out for themselves. For this reason, of course, philosophy is not for everyone. If it is for you, we can help.
Traditionally philosophy has been a quest for truth and wisdom. It primarily concerns itself with those fundamental beliefs by which people have tried to make sense of their lives - to understand people and their place in the universe. In this quest, it has focused attention on three questions:
What can we know? (epistemology)
What is reality? (metaphysics)
How should we live? (ethics)
Following Socrates who held that "the unexamined life is not worth living" philosophy has always been critical and analytic but it has also been synthetic and comprehensive, developing into the classic speculative systems of Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, and others. The study of philosophy involves serious study of the works of the great philosophers, a mastery of philosophical methods, and serious inquiry into major philosophical issues. To be a philosopher is to devote one's efforts to the clarification of these issues and to search for sound understanding.
Courses in philosophy at Wittenberg are designed to explore the full range of theories concerning the nature of people and their place in the universe and to develop ideas that can help students make sense out of both facts and values. They are intended (1) to equip the student with the basic tools of philosophical analysis, tools for dealing with those basic problems, principles, concepts, and methodologies that occur in other disciplines or fields of inquiry, (2) to provide the student with an understanding of the basic ideas that have shaped and still shape our cultures, both Western and non-Western, and (3) to furnish the student with opportunities to engage in the personal exploration of the meaning of life.
The Wittenberg Philosophy Department currently consists of three full-time and one or more part-time members. The academic background and interests of the faculty span the full range of philosophic styles and assure a broad exposure to the field. Department offerings include a comprehensive set of standard courses and a variety of topics or special interest courses.
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Stand-Up Ethics Program (STEP)
The Stand-up Ethics Program (STEP) seeks to provide young adults with tools, such as critical reasoning, evaluative, and implementation skills, that are needed to recognize, assess, and respond to moral problems. Furthermore, STEP seeks to develop ethical sensitivity to a variety of perspectives that are generated by complex moral issues.
STEP takes Wittenberg University’s motto “Pass it on” to the community with its commitment to fostering moral literacy and ethical leadership in and among young adults in the Springfield Community.