Degrees and Programs Philosophy
If you love arguments and big ideas, philosophy is for you.
You will rigorously explore our deepest beliefs and biggest questions—about reality, about human nature, about what we can be sure of, about how we should treat one another and why. At Westmont, philosophy is the practice of faith seeking understanding, emboldened by the promise to the prayerful that “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:7). Belong to a community that fosters both steadfast Christian commitment and no-holds-barred grappling with the questions and puzzles that thoughtful people of all stripes and every era have asked.
- PHI 6 or PHI 6H: Philosophical Perspectives (4)
- PHI 12: Critical Reasoning and Logic (4)
- PHI 103: Ancient Philosophy (4) or PHI 105: Medieval Philosophy (4)
- PHI 108: Formal Logic (4)
- PHI 106: Modern Philosophy (4) or PHI 107: 19th & 20th Century Philosophy (4)
- PHI 104: Ethics (4) or Upper Division Philosophy Elective (4)
- PHI 170: Epistemology (4) or Upper Division Philosophy Elective (4)
- PHI 175: Metaphysics (4) or Upper Division Philosophy Elective (4)
- PHI 195: Senior Seminar (4)
Meet the Staff
- Business (management, marketing, human resources, etc.)
- Tech (software engineers, data analysts, etc.)
- Christian Ministry (pastors, missionaries, etc.)
- Peace Corps (a number of our students have done this over the years.)
- Editorial work
- Social work
In October 2016, eminent Christian philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff addressed the relationship between feelings of empathy or anger and the active struggle against injustice in a talk on campus. Why are some people able to identify with victims? Why do others experience a “hardening of the heart”? And what are the consequences of either response?
David Vander Laan presented a paper, “The Paradox of the End without End,” at the 2016 Eastern Division meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers. He was appointed to the Mountain/Pacific Division Committee of the SCP.
In April, 2017 Scott Shalkowski, a philosopher from the University of Leeds, presented his work on religious epistemology—how faith-based arguments about reality can be advanced or defended in the larger marketplace of ideas— in a talk on campus, “No Cheating Allowed!”
Six Westmont philosophers (Professors Hoeckley, Nelson, Song, Taylor, Vander Laan, and Zylstra) spoke about the value of the discipline of philosophy as a resource for engaging with the current political scene in the United States. Presentations were followed by an opportunity for the audience to ask questions.
Mark Nelson gave an invited lecture, “Heaven, Hell and Holism” to the Werkmeister Conference in Honor of David McNaughton at Florida State University in March 2017. He contributed an entry on “The Is/Ought Fallacy” to a forthcoming book, “Just the Fallacies,” and wrote an essay, “Intuition,” for the “Dictionary of Christianity and Science.”
Amy Seymour ’07 is an assistant professor of philosophy at Fordham University. She specializes in metaphysics. Amy earned her master’s degree in philosophy at Northern Illinois University, where she also received the Best Philosophy Graduate Student of the Year award in her second and last year. She then went on to the University of Notre Dame where she received her doctorate in philosophy.
Stephen Bilynskyj ’77 received his master’s degree and doctorate in philosophy from Notre Dame and a Master of Divinity from North Park Theological Seminary. He is the pastor of Valley Covenant Church in Eugene, Oregon. He says he has quoted philosophers in his sermons on numerous occasions.
Cristiana Caporale ’10 is a product manager for a tech firm in Seattle. She says, “It’s constructive; we’re building software products. It’s my role to collaboratively pursue answers to: what we build, why we should build it, how to build it and were we successful? I genuinely love what I do.” Her advice for graduating students is to note that you are leaving a system of accountability for your discipline. You could compensate by working out a routine to maintain habits (reading, writing, thinking) and don’t let your momentum slip.