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Department of Philosophy

The College of Arts and Sciences


Louis A. Mancha, Associate Professor of Philosophy


William Vaughan, Professor of Philosophy

Degree Offered

Bachelor of Arts


Unlike any other discipline, the intrinsic mission of the Department of Philosophy is to transform ordinary students into flourishing adults. When students are instructed in Philosophy, they learn not only how to make a living, but how to live well. While other departments focus on specific topics and work-related skills, we provide students with the tools to be educated and productive members of the world, regardless of their profession or vocation. It is the duty of the Philosophy Dept. to teach students the love of learning itself, to seek purpose in their lives, and to make informed, objective, and consistent judgments. Hence, our program provides majors, minors, and other students a basic liberal arts understanding of the history of philosophy, with an emphasis on critical thinking, reading, and writing. We train students in the first principles of logic, ethics, science, politics, and theology. A Philosophy degree emphasizes academic and professional integrity, and the importance of defending one’s beliefs—as well as assessing the beliefs of others—in order to educe marketable, responsible, and free citizens. We believe this is consistent with the historic purpose of Ashland University itself.

Student Learning Objectives

The student who is successful in the study of philosophy learns how to support his or her own claims with logical arguments, learns how to organize and analyze moral perspectives in a coherent and philosophically informed manner, and can locate his or her intellectual parameters and engage deeply in critical consultation with major texts in the history of philosophy.

For centuries, philosophical participation has been an essential component of self-realization. It generates human beings with greater democratic dispositions, greater tolerance of difference, more sensitivity to reciprocity, better able to engage in rational and moral discourse, and more prone to examine their own preferences–all qualities conducive to success in any field and living a more complete human life.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Philosophy Department student learning outcomes focus primarily on critical thinking and analytical reasoning skills. As a result of philosophical studies, students should be able to:

  1. Clarify Philosophical concepts and modes of inquiry

  2. Organize and express thinking into arguments

  3. Evaluate arguments and objections

  4. Formulate original ideas as measured against the philosophical traditions

Facilities and Opportunities

  • Philosophy bibliographic databases

  • Access to Ashland Theological Seminary holdings and foreign languages

  • Research internships

  • Participation in Ohio Philosophical Association

  • International Philosophy Honor Society (Phi Sigma Tau)

  • Participation in Philosophy Club

  • Participation in our national Thomistic Institute Chapter

Student Honor Society

Phi Sigma Tau, Ohio Mu Chapter, honors students who have demonstrated academic excellence in philosophy.

Membership is by invitation, selected from students who have completed at least 9 semester hours of philosophy with a GPA of at least 3.2 in two of those classes, and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Description of Major

Philosophy is unique both in its methods and in the nature and breadth of its subject matter. It pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply in any field of study or endeavor. No brief definition expresses the richness and variety of philosophy. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, and a study of principles of meaning and conduct. It seeks variously to establish and to set into question standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophy is both a group of activities and a body of knowledge, and our department teaches from original texts in ways that enable students to acquire the relevant skills so that they can think for themselves.

Degree Requirements

Assessment-All philosophy majors and minors are required to participate in the department assessment process throughout their academic career. The assessment process seeks to measure the department’s stated learning outcomes, and involves the completion of a systematic exit exam designed to evaluate student learning in three core areas: logic and reasoning, ethics, and the history of philosophy.

Philosophy Courses and Descriptions

See Course Descriptions section of catalog.