A note from Dr. Susan Hill, Department Head

Welcome to the Department of Philosophy and World Religions! I am so excited for you to learn about who we are and what we do.  In our department, we recognize that we live in a world that is changing quickly.  We can now make connections with people from all over the world at the blink of an eye and we are presented with new ideas, perspectives, and information every day.  Because of this, one of the most important things we do is focus on the ways that we can make sense of our increasingly complex world.  Studying philosophy, religion, and ethics enriches our knowledge of the world around us and how we envision our place in it.  All of these areas of study examine important questions about how we can know the world, how we understand what it means to be human, and how we can live the lives we want to live.

People who study philosophy explore questions like:

  • How do we best make persuasive arguments?
  • What does it mean to live a good life?
  • What is justice, and how do we determine what is fair?
  • Is there an ideal government?
  • What does it mean to be free?
  • What is the mind, and how can we understand consciousness?

People who study religion examine questions like:

  • What is the nature and function of religion?
  • How does religion interact with culture?  How does culture interact with religion?
  • In what ways does religion shape what people believe and how they act?
  • How do people engage with and interpret sacred texts and objects?
  • Is the United States a Christian nation?
  • How does religion help us understand what it means to be human?

People who study ethics examine questions like:

  • How do we decide what is right and wrong?
  • What does it mean to be virtuous?
  • Can a good action have bad consequences?
  • How can we best make decisions about controversial issues like euthanasia, abortion, or the death penalty?

And, all of our students are asking questions like:

  • How can I have a successful career after I graduate from UNI?
  • What skills are my future employers looking for, and how can I work on them?
  • How does my philosophy, religion, or ethics major or minor relate to what I want to do?

We would love to have you join us to explore these questions.  Our majors and minors not only learn about the great ideas, important thinkers, and ways of understanding the world around us, we help them think about how what they’re learning prepares them for leading the lives they choose.  If you want to know about these and other subjects, there’s probably a class for that.  And, we’re the department you’re looking for.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, or just stop by our department office in Bartlett 1089.

Susan Hill