The purpose of philosophy courses generally to develop and promote intellectual awareness which is the basis of an autonomous life. Through reading, discussion, thinking and writing, students cultivate their mental faculties, both for practical purposes and for the sheer pleasure of it.
Students also become familiar with the thinkin g and rhetorical strategies and concepts used in philosophy. Students learn to apply these abstract "tools" to understanding their own intellectual history and context. They read classical and contemporary texts, and engage in the excitement of intellectual discovery. The instructor values and encourages student self-expression, and tries to illuminate both edges of the path of philosophy: critical and creative thinking.