Philosophy and Religion
The Philosophy and Religious Studies Minor at the University of Montevallo offers students the opportunity to take courses that are focused on the most meaningful and puzzling questions we face as human beings, such as:
- Do I know anything for certain?
- What are the limits of my knowledge?
- Is the world I experience with my senses the real world or has it already been interpreted by my mind?
- What is the nature of beauty?
- How does natural beauty differ from artistic beauty? What is Divine Beauty?
- How do I live the most ethically significant life I can lead?
- What is happiness and is it possible for us to attain?
- What is the nature of God?
- How do beliefs based on faith differ from those based on reason?
- What is the history of the Bible? Who wrote it? How do scholars interpret its meanings?
- What is the role of religious belief in contemporary society?
- How do my religious beliefs compare with those of other religious traditions around the world?
For students who pursue questions like these there can be many lasting effects, both personally and professionally. Philosophy helps students to grow their minds, to think ideas they have never thought before, and to consider perspectives they would not otherwise have learned about. As students amplify their engagement with the concept of God and learn about their religion from a scholarly perspective, they gain a deeper understanding of what their religious faith means in the wider world of the 21st century. Professionally, a philosophy and religious studies minor can impart skills and wisdom to help students succeed and more importantly, to lead, in their chosen profession.
Requirements for the Philosophy and Religious Studies Minor
To get the minor in philosophy and religious studies students need only to complete any 6 courses (18 hours) in philosophy (PHIL) or religion (REL). While any PHIL/REL course will count toward the minor, it is recommended that all students take PHIL 180 – Critical Reasoning at some point during their pursuit of the minor. Moreover, it is recommended that philosophy and religious studies minor take at least one, but preferably two, PHIL courses at the 300-level. PHIL 300 courses can be repeated for credit as long as the topics for each course are different.
Philosophy and Religious Studies Faculty
Dr. Stefan Forrester (PhD University of Rochester) has been teaching at UM since 2007 and is the author of several articles in philosophy, including “Theories of Metaphor in Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century British Philosophy” in Literature Compass, “Why Kantian Symbols Cannot Be Kantian Metaphors” in Southwest Philosophy Review, and “Ernst Haeckel’s ‘Kant Problem’: Metaphysics, Science and Art” in Biology and Philosophy.
“I’m currently working as a middle school English teacher in central Massachusetts. Studying philosophy at UM sharpened my analytical skills, improved my ability to actively listen, and helped me become more confident when expression opinions. These skills have been very useful in jobs as diverse as managing sales teams to teaching. I had a great time taking philosophy classes and attending Philosophy Club meetings at UM. Thinking through difficult problems and discussing them with students and professors was one of the highlights of my time at UM” — Davis Hayden ‘12
“The Philosophy program at Montevallo has opened my mind to new ideas about the world that I would not have considered before. My favorite classes have been Ethics and Philosophy of Ecology and Religion because of the discussion-based environment they have fostered. As an English major, the Philosophy minor has enhanced my ability to analyze texts deeply and craft sound and logical arguments in my essays. I feel confident that what I have learned in the Philosophy program will carry me into my future and open up many career opportunities for me.” — Meredith Mosley ‘23
“Before taking my first philosophy course at Montevallo, I often felt frustrated with my educational experiences and disconnected from the future I was expected to make for myself. Until that point, I struggled to feel a connection between learning and my inner world; there was little room for curiosity, exploration and passion. However, after my first philosophy class–and the many that followed–I came alive. I became more curious about and dedicated to my artwork and felt that there might actually be a future where I could align my convictions and curiosities with my work. That newfound passion and sense of agency led me to pursue a master’s in Social Design and has ultimately led to my current work in my dream job. Studying philosophy has helped me to not only cultivate my own principles, but to continue to shape and live in accordance with them.” — Sarah Dunn ‘13