Philosophy now offered as a minor

Alyse Nelson
Features Editor

Two new assistant professors were hired for the history and philosophy department to take on the philosophy minor now open for students.
“The chair of the department recognized that most other universities of our caliber have a philosophy program and that there was student interest here at Troy—thus, he set out to establish the new minor,” said Jay Valentine, one of the new professors.
Currently, 11 classes are listed as being offered within the philosophy department, including a guided independent study.
Valentine said that both he and Joungbin Lim, the other new professor, are going to be submitting ideas for new classes, such as some focusing on the philosophies of life and death.
“We intend to make new classes to appeal to students looking to fulfill their general studies requirements,” he said.
Lim said that these should be offered during the next academic year.
The philosophy minor includes six hours chosen from the lower-level philosophy courses, six hours chosen from certain anthropology, history and classics courses, and the remaining six hours chosen from upper-level philosophy courses.
“It’s brand new,” Lim said. “It is also fundamental to university life.”
Valentine cites the early universities run by Plato and Aristotle, both famous thinkers and philosophers.
“I believe that philosophy should be the foundation of curriculum,” Lim said. “You can find philosophy in everything.”
“I see the other disciplines as children of philosophy,” Valentine said.
Both professors had reasons as to why students should be interested.
“The idea is that philosophy rounds you out as a person,” Valentine said.
“When we are presented with arguments, usually we’re very uncritical,” he said. “Your tendency is to accept it if you already agree with its conclusion. Philosophy lets you take a step back and examine it.”
He noted Bloom’s Taxonomy, which is six levels of educational cognitive under-standing, as defined by psychologist Benjamin Bloom.
“Education is normally the lower three, while philosophy is the upper three,” he said.
“I have always believed you could have a better understanding of diverse thinking . . . it would help you live a good life,” Lim said. “You should always know what other people believe and think.”
Lim also mentioned the practicality of philosophy.
“If you study philosophy, you can improve and sharpen your critical thinking skills,” he said. “(Students) need to think critically, analytically and rationally.”
Valentine became interested in philosophy at college.
“My first philosophy course was the first time that I truly wanted to say something in a college class,” he said.
He then earned a master’s degree at Naropa University, a “Buddhist college in the States,” as he described it, and a doctorate from the University of Virginia.
Lim grew up in South Korea, and during his time there philosophy was a required class in order to earn a high school degree.
“That captured my mind,” he said.
At the graduate level, he came to the United States to study religion and philosophy, receiving a master’s in each and then earning his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Virginia.
Valentine and Lim said that students in all majors could benefit from choosing a philosophy minor.
“I think all humanities and liberal arts majors can be beautifully compatible with philosophy,” Lim said.

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