At its conception, philosophy was seen as the foundational study. Critiques of the world’s major religions of the past came from the distinct philosophies of thinkers like Plato (Greek religion), the Buddha (Hindu religion) and Confucius (Chinese religion), for example. Indeed, much of our Christian theology owes an immeasurable debt to concepts developed by philosophers; for example, without Aristotle’s idea of “substance” we wouldn’t have the orthodox notion of Trinity as “three persons in one substance.” Additionally, theories about politics, business, theatre, art and science all came from philosophy, and occasionally even the same philosopher, such as Aristotle, was responsible for developments in subjects as diverse as literary criticism and biology (a branch of “natural philosophy”). Many philosophers have been what we now call “Renaissance Men.”
Philosophy at Redeemer is likewise foundational and was one of the major pillars when the university was founded. In the “Kuyperian” or “Reformed” tradition of the university, philosophy was seen as a kind of “inter-faculty” department meant to develop not just basic concepts about life’s most fundamental questions — questions arising out of subjects of a first-order nature (logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.) — but also to serve all disciplines at a core-level vis-à-vis a number of second-order of “philosophy of” courses (philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, etc.).
Our program aims to:
- Develop the highest level of analytic reading, writing and speaking available to a university student
- Prepare students for excellence in a wide variety of jobs in ever-changing economic times, with philosophy’s unmatched emphasis on critical reasoning, writing and speaking making philosophy, as one newspaper noted, “the ultimate transferable work skill”
- Help these same students have, as Forbes recently noted, the highest mid-career salary increase of any major
- Give students the skills they need—should they so wish—to succeed at graduate school, medical school, business school and law school, as philosophy majors consistently perform the best on the law school entrance exam LSAT (Journal of Economic Education), their composite GRE, which helps prospective graduate students from across all disciplines (Educational Testing Service), their GMAT for entrance into graduate business school, and their medical school MCAT, with philosophy majors having the highest percentile chance of acceptance rate to med school of any major, including any of the sciences.
- Challenge, at a very sophisticated level, the various worldviews—especially non-Christian worldviews—that a student may encounter
- Make students better Christians through thoughtful ownership of their traditions and through meditation on the highest or deepest thoughts a person can have
The philosophy department has been recognized for its unique and important work by being given the only endowed chair at the university—the H. Evan Runner Chair in Philosophy.