What is the meaning of . . . ? More than any other of the academic disciplines, philosophy and religious studies deal with questions about meaning. Philosophy and religious reflection may evaluate the purpose and meaning of other academic disciplines, as well as broader and deeper meanings--even the ultimate meaning--of human life. So philosophy and religion might claim to be the most liberating of all the liberal arts ("liberal" here meaning to further liberty!).
Religion can be understood as the human attempt to discern overall or ultimate meaning in life, traditionally in light of some divine reality. Given the expansiveness of the religious quest, it is fitting that the academic discipline of religious studies claims no one method of its own but rather uses diverse disciplines such as literary studies, history, sociology, psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy.
As for philosophy, any belief, practice, or institution that makes truth or value claims is fair game for its probing. Philosophy analyzes and questions concepts of truth, beauty, and goodness--including ultimate value, as it draws on great thinkers who have pondered these issues over the millennia. This involves discerning and examining the worldviews of different cultures at different times, which like the air we breathe normally remain unnoticed.
The philosophy and religion major is not only for those planning to go on to graduate study in these areas (www.apaonline.org/?page=gradguide --American Philosophical Association) (www.gradschools.com/search-programs/religious-studies) nor is a religion major just for those contemplating a religious vocation (www.gradschools.com/search-programs/ministry) (www.ats.edu/resources/student --Association of Theological Schools) . Employers of college graduates today say that the primary assets they seek are the abilities to think critically and creatively and to write and speak clearly. A philosophy and religion major is ideal for those interested in pursuing careers in business, management in the non-profit or public sectors, or law.
The faculty of the Department of Philosophy and Religion have a commitment to student-centered learning using a variety of approaches that encourage interactive engagement. Two of its faculty have received the University of North Carolina Board of Governors Award for Teaching Excellence, while all of our faculty are glad to help students with their coursework outside of class. Our Department offers six scholarships to qualified Philosophy and Religion Majors.
For more information, contact the Department of Philosophy and Religion at 910.775.4283.