I am a 2007 graduate of Cedarville University and current J.D. candidate at Indiana University Maurer School of Law. I was Managing Editor of the Cedars Student Newspaper from 2006-2007; I also served as president and chancellor of Tau Delta Kappa, the Cedarville Honors Society.
I was distressed to learn that the Cedarville Board of Trustees is contemplating the elimination of the philosophy program. It is astounding to me that an academic community would entertain such a notion. The study of philosophy is essential to a proper understanding of the arts and humanities. It provides a frame of reference, raising the penultimate questions–who am I? why am I here? what is my role?–and placing them in historical perspective. As an English major, my study of Enlightenment poetry would have been egregiously inadequate without considerations of Locke and Voltaire. My study of the Victorian novel would have been sorely lacking indeed without a complementary study of Kant and Rousseau, Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.
Philosophy is also a critical companion to the so-called “hard” sciences. We should not forget that the great mathematicians, physicists, chemists, and biologists were also great thinkers. How could one possibly study Euclid, Pythagoras, Newton, or Copernicus without considerations of philosophy? How could one approach the technical and theoretical work of Darwin or Einstein without giving great weight to the philosophical implications underlying and flowing from their conclusions?
Finally, for an academic community that purports to develop Christian worldview, it is astonishing that the Board would contemplate the elimination of a subject so intimately connected to Christian thought. The most cursory overview of Western history evidences a fast link between developments in philosophy and theology. The two dance in lock-step: feudalism with Catholicism, the Renaissance with the Reformation, progressivism with the social gospel, post-structuralism with the emerging church. A study of theology without considerations of philosophy would be meaningless, and would tend to foster equal measures of ignorance and arrogance.
It is my ardent hope and fervent prayer that the Cedarville Board of Trustees will consider the devastating effects that would necessarily result from elimination of the philosophy program. In the interest of intellectual inquiry and common sense, I stand in solidarity with those who would keep this program active and vibrant.