Philosophy is the cornerstone of a liberal arts education. It asks and searches for answers to some of the deepest, most personal questions that we all as human beings have had, such as:
- Is there a God and, if so, why does evil exist?
- Do we really have free will in our actions?
- What is the ethical thing to do?
- How do I know for sure I’m not living in a dream? How can I know anything?
- Is “artificial intelligence” possible?
- What are the metaphysical building blocks of the world?
- What counts as a logical, rational answer?
- What is the meaning of life?
Moreover, philosophy will accept answers to these questions only if they can be rationally defended and are logically persuasive. As such, philosophy develops students’ critical thinking skills. Students who have had a firm grounding in philosophy are ready to enter the world as rational, freethinking and critically-reflective citizens and human beings.
All Niagara University students are required to take three philosophy classes: Introduction to Philosophy, Ethics and an upper-level elective. The introduction course familiarizes students with the philosophical method by surveying many of the important philosophical questions and proposed answers in past and contemporary times. The ethics course causes students to reflect upon the principles by which they do and will continue to live their lives. The upper-level elective allows students to choose one area of philosophy of particular interest to pursue at a deeper level.