Regarding the philosophy program at Cedarville:
When my daughter was investigating universities for her upcoming matriculation, the decision eventually came down to Cedarville or Grove City. After visiting both schools, it was still a tough call. To our investigation, Grove City is academically more rigorous, while Cedarville is larger and offers more opportunities. She was ready to choose Grove City until we heard about Cedarville’s Honors Program.
During our follow-up visit to Cedarville, we were able to attend one of Dr. Mills’ lectures and to speak with him afterward. His involvement with the Honors program, and particularly the centrality of the philosophy department to that program, made the difference.
My daughter started Cedarville as a biology major, but her exposure to the importance of the themes of philosophy to Christian thinking eventually resulted in a switch to the philosophy program. Two years later, my oldest son entered Cedarville, and also was accepted into the honors program. As an engineering major, he found the philosophy department’s challenge to think well and carefully about Christianity to be a vital part of owning his own faith. As for my daughter, she graduated Cedarville with high honors in philosophy and is now pursuing her philosophy Ph.D.
Why is philosophy so important? Because philosophy is the mother of every field of inquiry. The ability to think logically, to assess ideas, to reason to conclusions, and to avoid fallacies are all children of philosophy. Literally, every pursuit into gaining knowledge must and does begin with a philosophical foundation (though most fields of study, and especially the sciences, would prefer to believe they stand alone).
With the tools of philosophy we are able to understand what a worldview is, and how it dramatically influences every train of thought we have. As a Christian university, there is no greater charge than to instruct students in the veracity of Christianity. Other universities can turn out fine engineers, doctors, accountants, etc. But to express the truth and value of Christianity, one must enter philosophy and do the hard work of thinking. Philosophy done well allows us to understand more clearly the world as it actually is.
It is unconscionable that we do not start teaching logic in grade school, and unthinkable that a university would expect to operate without a philosophy department. For a Christian university to plan to scrap their philosophy department is a move away from sound foundations.
In the past, we have been vocal supporters of Cedarville to other families with college-bound students. When I visited my kids at school, I would bring potential Cedarville students to tour the campus. I also have two more sons who will attend college somewhere. Cedarville barely won out the first time we reviewed you. Without a robust philosophy department to underpin the honors program, our sights will move elsewhere.
Mr. David Hawkins
Father of Cedarville students Katy and Matthew Hawkins