The Whitworth Philosophy Department introduces students to the content and methodology of the discipline of philosophy. While emphasizing the history of philosophy and current philosophical issues, the department’s courses help develop logical-reasoning and critical-thinking skills. The program focuses on both the critical and the constructive aspects of philosophy while encouraging Christian character development and career preparation. The learning outcomes of this major include the following:

PhilosophyContent mastery, including knowledge of the following:
  • the history of philosophy, including key authors and texts
  • key issues, key questions, and major alternatives
  • central issues relative to the intersection of philosophy with other disciplines, e.g. philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind
Critical thinking, including the ability to do the following:

Develop analytical skills:

  • ability to listen to and analyze various modes
    of discourse
  • ability to read texts carefully

Develop argumentation skills:

  • Identify and follow arguments (including the ability to discern fallacies, detect assumptions, identify presuppositions and implications of ideas).
  • Construct arguments both orally and in writing – including the ability to assert, explain and justify a position.
Constructive Synthesis:
  • Understand worldviews.
  • Articulate competing worldviews (with particular exposure to a Christian worldview).
  • Recognize worldviews in dispute.
  • Develop a personal worldview.
  • Develop ability to connect ideas, pulling ideas from various sources to enhance and synthesize.
  • Integrate philosophy into one’s personal life.
Christian Character Development:
  • Cultivate moral virtues and aid in character development through teaching, modeling and mentoring.
  • Expose students to the Christian faith as a viable option for thinking persons.
Career Preparation:
  • Prepare some students for law school, seminary, philosophy graduate programs and other liberal arts graduate programs.
  • Prepare all students to translate acquired skills into marketable professional competencies.


PH 110 Introduction to Philosophy3
The great issues and ideas of philosophical inquiry. Treatment of subjects such as logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy and different world views. Emphasis on both critical and constructive thinking. Fall and spring semesters.
PH 199H Philosophy in the Real World3
The purpose of this class is to explicitly explore how some of the most central areas of philosophy interact with different disciplines. In particular, we will be looking at how philosophical concepts and theories may affect one's understanding and handling of non-philosophical problems. In addition, this class will engage the various interdisciplinary discussions within the context of trying to develop various intellectual virtues. Periodic Offering.
PH 201 Logic3
The formal nature of logical thought and the informal, practical application of critical thinking to the analysis of arguments. Includes sections on arguments and fallacies in ordinary language, syllogistic arguments and symbolic logic. Fall and spring semester, odd years.
PH 205 Utopia: Social Order vs. Individual Freedom?3
What would an ideal society be like? Inevitably experimental utopias have grappled with attention between two social values: social order or harmony on the one hand and individual freedom on the other. This course explores questions about the nature and value of freedom,the basis for social order or harmony, and whether or how the latter may justify limits to the former. Periodic Offering.
PH 209 The Vices: Virtue and Evil3
An examination of several prominent moral vices, particularly the "seven deadly sins," with a view to their apparent attractiveness and inherent self-destructiveness. Jan Term, odd years.
PH 210 The Ten Commandments as Moral Law3
An investigation of how a set of 3000-year-old rules can still have relevance and application for our lives. Includes grounding the Decalogue in divine-command theory and virtue theory, understanding the rules' original context and intent, and translating the rules to contemporary daily life. PH 110 and Core 150 helpful but not required. Cross-listed with TH-210. Jan Term, even years.
PH 211 The Philosophy of Forgiveness3
Forgiveness is generally thought to be a morally good response to a wrong-doing. This class will examine the nature of forgiveness. What is the relationship between forgiveness and justice? How is forgiving a wrong-doing different from condoning a wrong-doing? Is there such a thing as unconditional forgiveness? PH 110 is helpful but not required. Periodic Jan Term.
PH 221 Ethics3
The nature of moral judgments and values. Examination of the criteria upon which ethical decision-making is based and the nature of the good life. Cross-listed with TH/LS 221. Fall Semester only.
PH 244 Reasons for Faith3
An examination of the rational status of Christian belief. Topics include the relationship between faith and reason, the evidence for God's existence, and the evidence for uniquely Christian doctrines (e.g., the Christ's Resurrection). Also listed as PH 344. Periodic Jan Term offering.
PH 256 Asian Philosophy3
A study of the major schools of Asian philosophy, with emphasis on Chinese thought. Spring semester, even years. Also listed as AS 256.
PH 261 C.S. Lewis3
The thought of C.S. Lewis, as found in his philosophical, theological and imaginative works, and the interconnections between those works. Critical evaluation of Lewis's ideas and application of those ideas to contemporary issues. Also listed as TH 261. Fall semester.
PH 299 The Meaning of Life3
This class will investigate the meaning of life in two different ways. First we will explore whether life and all it involves has some greater purpose or aim. In other words we will be looking at different perspectives on whether our life have significance beyond the here and now. Relatedly, we will go on to explore how one goes about organizing one's life with all its competing values and demands. In other words we will be looking and critically evaluating ways in which people might find value in life (e.g. through money, family, religion or relationships) and how we should structure our lives to balance life's various goods. Also listed as TH 299. Offered Jan term, odd years in New York City.
PH 301 Symbolic Logic3
This course attempts to formalize the structure of proper logical reasoning through the use of an artificial symbolic language that assists in recognizing proper from improper argumentation. The main goal in this class is to begin mastering this symbolic language with the goal of learning to reason well. We will begin by looking at the nature of propositional statements, the truth-functional connectives they use, and translating statements made in our natural language to this artificial symbolic language. Then we will turn to the construction of arguments. We will learn to recognize valid from invalid arguments by constructing truth-tables to derive valid arguments using universal logical truths. Fall semester, even years.
PH 305 History of Ancient Philosophy3
The development of philosophical ideas from the Pre-Socratics to the Middle Ages, using primary source readings. Special emphasis on Plato's and Aristotle's ideas on the major issue of life. Fall semester, even years.
PH 306 History of Modern Philosophy3
The development of philosophical ideas from Descartes through the 18th century, using primary source readings. Figures studied include: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant. Spring semester, odd years.
PH 307 History of Contemporary Philosophy3
The development of philosophical ideas in the 19th-, 20th-, and 21st-century Europe and America. Both the Continental and Anglo-American traditions will be explored. Fall semester, odd years. Prerequisite: PH 305 or 306W.
PH 319 Ethics Bowl1
This course constitutes the research and practice leading up to the Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, Northwest Regional, in November. It also includes the competition. As a team, students analyze, present on, and argue complex ethical cases. Course can be taken repeatedly for credit. Offered Fall and Spring semesters.
PH 320 Philosophy of Religion3
The place of reason in faith. Issues addressed include classical arguments for and against the existence of God, the relationship of faith and reason, and the nature of religious language, miracles and immorality. Recommended prerequisite: Core 250. Spring semester.
PH 321W Ethics-Social/Behavioral Studies3
This course focuses on four themes in moral philosophy: The Foundations of morality, Moral knowledge, Moral motivation, and Ethics in real life. The course will apply these ethical themes to topics in social and behavioral fields. Satisfies the Writing-intensive requirement. For continuing studies students only.
PH 329H God, Knowledge, and Language3
This course explores a number of issues at the intersection of postmodern thought, theology, and Anglo-American (analytic) philosophy. We'll begin with the question, What is the nature of truth?, a question that is sharply to be distinguished from the following two: . Which claims or propositions are true? . How do we know what is true? After a detailed inquiry regarding the nature of truth, we'll consider the extent to which it's sensible to think that some theological claims are true. In this connection, we'll examine classical and contemporary views of the Divine nature. We'll then proceed to consider postmodern views of knowledge and interpretation, taking Descartes' philosophical project as our backdrop. During this part of the course, we'll examine recent debates between postmodernists and their critics (these debates take place both within and outside of Christian circles). Finally, we'll consider the question, Can Christian belief be reasonable in today's intellectual climate? This inquiry will require a deep investigation of the nature of human rationality and the prospective sources for reasonable belief. Periodic Offering.
PH 336 Social-Political Philosophy3
An examination of the nature of justice and the extents of our social obligations. Considers both historical and contemporary sources, the latter including feminist and multicultural thinkers. Covers both theory and particular issues, like just war, economics and justice, rights to free expression, etc. Also counts as a PO elective. Fall semester, even years.
PH 340W Epistemology3
The nature and limits of knowledge. Focus on contemporary issues raised in recent books and journals. Recommended prerequisites: PH 305 or PH 306, or CO 250. Fall semester, odd years.
PH 341 Metaphysics3
The ultimate nature of reality. Focus on issues raised in recent books and journals. Fall semester, even years.
PH 344 Reasons for Faith3
An examination of the rational status of Christian belief. Topics include the relationship between faith and reason, the evidence for God's existence, and the evidence for uniquely Christian doctrines (e.g., the Christ's Resurrection). Also listed as PH 244. Periodic Jan Term.
PH 390H Honors Internship1-4
PH 391H Honors Independent Study1-4
PH 392H Honors Study Abroad1-12
This course enables honors students who participate in regular study abroad programs to receive honors credit toward their program. This course concentrates on cultural competency and reflections on critical moments in their study abroad experiences. Letter-graded.
PH 421 Philosophy of Science3
An examination of various issues related to scientific methodology. Topics covered include the demarcation of science from pseudoscience, the rationality of induction, scientific explanation and confirmation, scientific laws, the realism/anti-realism debate, rationality and objectivity in science, and the relationship between science and faith. Spring semester, even years.
PH 423W Marxism and the Socialist World3
Focus on Marx's critique of capitalism. Later interpretations and application of Marx's theories in a variety of revolutions, from those of the Soviet Union, China, Yugoslavia and Cuba to current upheavals in the socialist world. Also listed as PO 423W. Periodic offering.
PH 425 Philosophy of Mind3
An exploration of one of the most actively debated and contentious issues in contemporary philosophy: What is the nature of the human mind? Examines current theories and the relationship to the claims of artificial intelligence, neuropsychology and Christian understandings of human nature, as well as the question of determinism versus free will. Spring semester, odd years. Prerequisite: PH 110 and either PH 196, PH 201, PH 256, PH 261, PH 305 PH 306W or PH 344.
PH 491H Honors Independent Study1-4
PH 498 Senior Capstone1
Writing and discussion intended to give senior students an opportunity to integrate the various strands of their philosophical education and reflect on their future. Fall semester, senior year.

Requirements for a Philosophy Major, B.A. (41)

Philosophical Foundations
PH 110Introduction to Philosophy3
Symbolic Logic
CO 250Western Civilization II: The Rationalist Worldview4
History of Philosophy
PH 305History of Ancient Philosophy3
PH 306History of Modern Philosophy3
PH 307History of Contemporary Philosophy3
Philosophical Topics
PH 221Ethics3
PH 320Philosophy of Religion3
PH 340WEpistemology3
PH 341Metaphysics3
PH 425Philosophy of Mind3
Six additional approved philosophy credits6
PH 498Senior Capstone1


Requirements for a Philosophy Minor (16)

Twelve approved semester credits, six of which must be upper division12
CO 250Western Civilization II: The Rationalist Worldview4
Dean of Arts and Sciences






Associate professors


Assistant professor