About the Department of Philosophy
The Department of Philosophy at the University of Memphis is committed to providing students, the profession of philosophy, and the community with innovative and high-quality educational programs, scholarship, and service, which enhance the development of philosophy as a discipline and the quality of the local, as well as global, intellectual environment.
As part of the University's General Education Program, the Department strives to imbue students with skills involved in critical thinking and problem solving and an appreciation of their human and cultural heritage.
At the Baccalaureate level, the Department provides courses which introduce students to subdivisions within the discipline. At the Masters level, the Department emphasizes specific and applied aspects of the subdivisions which prepare graduates to continue the study of philosophy and enhance their intellectual lives. The focus of the Doctoral program is training professional philosophers who can teach courses and contribute to high-quality scholarly work in at least one of the subdivisions of philosophy.
For several decades there has been a deep schism in the American philosophical community between "continental philosophy" and "analytic philosophy." That this schism has been detrimental to the discipline is now widely recognized, and the University of Memphis Department of Philosophy, along with a few other philosophy departments around the country, seeks to engender an appreciation of both traditions in our students. The history of philosophy is an important component of our program because it serves as the common language of the two traditions.
In addition to overcoming the divisions of these traditions, the University of Memphis Department of Philosophy seeks to promote inclusiveness (in terms of race and gender) in all facets of the Department. Because feminism and race theory are areas of philosophy where the boundaries separating analytic and continental philosophy are regularly crossed, we have found that our commitments to philosophical pluralism and to diversity complement one another.
Adopting this kind of inclusive stance in which a plurality of philosophical methodologies and styles are respected and encouraged is the centerpiece of the University of Memphis program. It is evident in the curriculum, and in the research and scholarly activities of the faculty. The high level of research productivity and the conscientious training of students advance both the reputation of the Department and the vitality of the profession.
The goals of the Department include the following: continued development of the existing degree programs, maintenance and enhancement of general education courses, maintenance and enhancement of the national and international recognition of the faculty, service to the profession and the community through sponsorship and contribution to public programs and publications, and, above all, continued development and enhancement of an inclusive environment in which all program participants can thrive.
The Department's achievements in cultivating an inclusive and pluralistic environment constitute its uniqueness. Our success in this regard is recognized throughout the global philosophical community, and other programs have attempted to emulate our practices as a result. It is our hope that the students who complete our programs will spread this mission to all other environments they inhabit.