Welcome to the Department of Philosophy


Philosophy is the systematic and critical inquiry into thinking and the nature of existence. As a discipline, philosophy is applied to a great variety of topics, such as the nature of knowledge, the mind, and truth, determining what is moral, investigating what makes something beautiful, and inquiring after the existence of God or Ultimate Reality.

As a practice, philosophy teaches analytical and critical thinking, develops oral and written communication skills, and contributes to interdisciplinary understanding. Philosophy attempts to answer perennial questions about values, human existence, and the nature of reality. Skills developed in this inquiry help philosophy students excel in careers in law, medicine, management, education, government, writing, computer science, psychology, sociology, and ministry among many others.

Upcoming Course Spotlight: Fall 2020

  1. PHIL 3060 - Religion and Politics in the U.S.


    This course examines the complex and often fraught relationship between religion and politics in the United States. It moves historically from the colonists’ religious vision for the “New Land” to the Founding Fathers’ construction of the separation of church and state as implied in the first amendment to the Constitution. We will explore various interpretations of this ongoing bargain between religion and politics has and should work up to the present times. The primary operating question asked in this course is “Is the United States a Christian Nation”? This course hopes to engage this question historically and theoretically.

    Taught by Jeff Scholes   

    Mondays: 10:50-1:30


  2. PHIL 4930 - Politics and Ethics and Technology


    Broadly, this class considers the politics and ethics of newly-existing and near-future technology. More concretely, we discuss several technological advancements that humans recently have made or are on the cusp of making, and the political and ethical issues that are raised by those technologies. The class focuses primarily on military tech, medical tech, and virtual and networking (digital) tech.

    Taught by Jennifer Kling  

    Mondays: 9:25-12:05



  3. PHIL 3500 - Buddhist Philosophy


    General survey of key Buddhist philosophical concepts of both the Theravada and Mahayana traditions, such as dukha, nirvana, anatman and voidness. The relationship between Pali Sutta's and the Theravada tradition will be discussed as well as the relationship between Mahayana and the Prajna Paramita Suttas. Key schools of Mahayana, such as Cittamattra and Madhyamaka will also be introduced.

    Taught by Colin Lewis  

    Thursdays:  10:50-1:30

  4. PHIL 3730 - Fiction and Imagination


    A study of the intersection of philosophy and literature, the benefits each derives from the other and of philosophical themes expressed in literary works and philosophical problems raised by literature. 

    Taught by Sonja Tanner

    Tuesdays and Thursdays: 12:15-1:30

  5. PHIL 4490 - Philosophy of Language


    A historical survey of developments in philosophy of language. Topics covered include sense and reference, signifier and signified, rule-following, ordinary language philosophy, deconstruction, and casual theories of reference. Authors covered include Frege Husserl, De Saussure, Wittgenstein, Austin, Derrida, and others. Meets with PHIL 5490.

    Taught by Dorothea Olkowski

    Tuesdays: 1:40-4:20

  6. PHIL 4410 - Philosophy of Biology

    A broad examination of pertinent issues in biology, from the theory of evolution to contemporary debates concerning DNA and the human genome project.

    Taught by Rex Welshon

    Wednesdays: 4:45-7:20

A Message From the Chair



Welcome to the UCCS Department of Philosophy!

The Philosophy Department was one of the original programs on the UCCS campus. In 1966, one year after the university received the Cragmor acreage, philosophy was established as part of the Boulder department’s offerings under the leadership of Resident Dean Richard Francis. From its origins as a branch department, the UCCS Philosophy Program soon became an independent department offering the major in Philosophy.

The Philosophy Department has an exceptionally broad range of courses. We see ourselves as unique in the western states because of this. The program is historically-based with detailed courses in four periods in the history of philosophy and full coverage of Eastern traditions.

We offer courses in all traditional areas, such as Metaphysics, Ethics, and Epistemology, and many courses on the cutting edge of their disciplines, such as Philosophy, Globalization, and Sustainability. We offer an undergraduate major, a minor and specialized tracks Religion, Classics, and Culture; Justice and Global Studies; Cognition, Science, Phenomenology, and Linguistics; Culture, Media, and the Arts (for more information, see our Programs page). The department requires of each of our majors the writing of an undergraduate thesis as the capstone of undergraduate experience.

Currently there are seven tenure-track faculty. Dorothea Olkowski (Professor) specializes in Continental Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, and Philosophy of Science. Mary Ann Cutter (Professor) specializes in Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, Philosophy of Medicine, and Philosophy of Religion. Raphael Sassower (Professor) specializes in Postmodern Philosophy of Science, Social and Political Philosophy, and Philosophy of Art. Rex Welshon (Professor) specializes in Philosophy of Mind, Consciousness, Philosophy of Neuroscience, and Nietzsche. Sonja Tanner (Professor / Head of Department) specializes in Ancient Greek Philosophy, History of Philosophy, and Philosophy of Art. Jeff Scholes (Associate Professor) specializes in Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Sports, and Vocation Theory.  Jennifer Kling (Associate Professor) specializes in Philosophy of War, Social and Political Philosophy, Normative and Applied Ethics, Feminism.  Our full-time Instructors are Lorraine Marie Arangno, Patrick Yarnell, Erik Hanson, Allison Postell, Jennifer Jensen, Joseph Kuzma, and Colin Lewis. 

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about the Department of Philosophy.


Professor Sonja Tanner, Ph.D. (Head of Department)