Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies
The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies houses two separate yet related disciplines, each of which offers a major and a minor. Both disciplines introduce students to profound and challenging questions within human experience and train them in textual interpretation, critical thinking, and written and oral communication. Such skills have long been esteemed for their liberating and enriching effect within an individual’s life. They further provide the basis for the rewarding pursuit of life-long learning. In terms of career planning, these skills are widely recognized as fundamental to successful achievement in a diverse range of professions.
The field of philosophy represents one of the oldest and most time-honored disciplines of learning within the university setting. Addressing fundamental questions about truth, the nature of existence, human knowing, justice, ethical deliberation, and the experience of beauty, the study of philosophy cultivates within students an ability to carefully read, critically think about, and subtly interpret central texts in the discipline’s history. Bradley University’s Philosophy curriculum particularly focuses on the areas of the history of philosophy and continental philosophy. Our program has particular strengths in Plato and Platonism, Patristic philosophy, Kant and Kantianism, Nietzsche, 20th and 21st Century Continental philosophy (Rosenzweig, Buber, Bergson, Bataille, Jankélévitch, Levinas, Marion, existentialism, classical and recent phenomenology, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and recent aesthetic theory). Although highly effective in placing its students in reputable graduate programs in philosophy, our philosophical training has proven beneficial in a wide range of careers outside our field. Over the years students majoring or minoring in philosophy have proven particularly suited to graduate work in law, psychology, and sociology.
Bradley University’s Religious Studies program is primarily designed for the student who wants an academic understanding of religion in various cultures throughout the span of history. A comprehensive and non-sectarian curriculum is designed to meet the special interests and needs of all students. Courses probe questions about the origins and historical development of world religions, the production and interpretation of religious texts, the role of religion in contemporary society, the nature and diversity of religious belief systems, and the value of religious belief or experience in our personal lives. A major or a minor in the program will prepare students for any work that requires critical thinking, reading, and writing, and a broad understanding of humanity. Graduates of our program have entered seminaries, law schools, medical schools, and graduate schools for further study, and have even found the curriculum complementary to seemingly unrelated careers, such as computer science.