Letter from Chair
It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the web site of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies CSU, Bakersfield. Our department is a joint department housing both a philosophy and a religious studies program.
In the philosophy program we urge you to join us in the pursuit of the deeper questions concerning the nature of persons, reality, knowledge, values, and meaning. The mission of the philosophy program at CSUB is focused on two basic ideas: clear thinking and the examination of one’s life. Engaging in philosophical study enables you to explore critically various systems of beliefs and values, and to develop habits of critical thinking, writing, and reading. The ultimate goal is to aid you to live and act in the world in a more reflective, ethical, and responsive manner. As Socrates, the revered early sage of philosophy, reminds us "The unexamined life is not worth living."
In religious studies, the focus is on the manifold ways that religion has shaped and continues to shape our world. The influence of religion can be seen in law and government, family and parenting practices, the arts and human creativity, economics and social structures. It pervades the way we think about life, death, morality, justice, truth, and love. In the academic study of religion, we examine religion from outside the framework of any particular belief system. The approach is cross-cultural in content and multidisciplinary in approach. A wide variety of religious traditions are explored by many interpretive tools and religion is presented as a lived experience, one that can illuminate the causes, meanings, and implications of current events.
Both programs appeal to two basic human traits- the sense of wonder and the desire to understand. It is easy to be excited and in awe of the rare and unexpected, but in philosophy and religious studies the familiar can excite wonder also. Further, the combination of the two programs in one department adds depth to both areas of study and provides an opportunity for students and faculty in both programs to exchange ideas in and outside the class. Such exchange adds intellectual vitality and fun to our courses
Again, welcome. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any of the faculty and staff. We welcome your questions and concerns.
Jacquelyn Ann K. Kegley, Chair