Old Main at Gustavus Adolphus CollegeThe Department of Philosophy at Gustavus Adolphus College views its mission as fourfold:

A quality major

To offer a quality major that will ideally offer the student who elects it a relatively comprehensive understanding of the major philosophical traditions, ideas and arguments that have influenced the development of Western society along with the skills for critically analyzing them.

Interdisciplinary programs

To participate in the various interdisciplinary programs on campus such as Environmental Studies, Peace Studies, Women's Studies and the 3 Crowns Curriculum. The Department believes that because philosophy has had such a long and rich history of confronting the fundamental issues central to human existence and experience, it could very well be in a position to contribute significantly to much of the contemporary debate that crosses disciplinary lines.

Great philosophers and their ideas

To offer courses for the purpose of general education requirements that will introduce students to some of the great philosophers and their ideas, the philosophical problems that philosophers have found interesting, and the skills necessary for conceptual analysis.

Socratic humility

To instill an attitude of Socratic humility--an attitude that the one thing they know is that they do not know, and in their pursuit of knowledge and truth, they ought to develop a critical attitude and a sensitivity to the views of others.