Welcome to the Department of Philosophy

Philosophy is the systematic and critical inquiry into thinking and the nature of existence.

Philosophy badge 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: Spring 2021

  1. PHIL 4930-002 - Special Topics: Science & Religion


    Analyzing work from an interdisciplinary set of fields (including Religious Studies, Science and Technology Studies, the History of Science, Philosophy, and the Life Sciences), this course explores the dynamic histories of the concepts of science and religion and some of their contested landscapes. We’ll take a look at changing cosmologies and the emergence of modern physics, astrophysics, and observational science in the 17th century. An additional part of this class explores Darwinian and evolutionary theory vis-à-vis religion from the 19th century to the present. The class concludes with a deep dive into Bruno Latour’s Gifford Lectures on Natural Theology where he develops his concept of Earth personified as the primordial deity, Gaia.

    Taught by Karen deVries   



  2. PHIL 3240 - Political Violence: Peace, War, and Terrorism


    Critical examination of the philosophic commitments that underlie and affect war, conflict resolution, and peace; evaluation of various questions involved in conducting war and resolving disputes; consideration of the feasibility of pacifism.

    Taught by Jennifer Kling  




  3. PHIL 4440 - Decision Theory and Game Theory


    Introduces students to decision theory and game theory. Topics will include rationality; strategic reasoning; Nash equilibria; strategic games; symmetric and non-symmetric games; coalitions and cooperation; zero and non-zero-sum games; and, prisoner's dilemmas.

    Taught by Rex Welshon

  4. PHIL 3510 - Before Socrates


    Systematic examination of the development of Western philosophy from its inception among the pre-Socratics and their impact on Plato and Aristotle.

    Taught by Sonja Tanner


  5. PHIL 3620 - Christian Thought


    This course will present a survey of thinkers who have reflected philosophically and theologically on the tenets of the Christian faith. The course begins with the New Testament and moves through major figures such as Augustine, Aquinas, and Kierkegaard.

    Taught by Jeffrey Scholes


  6. PHIL 4140 - Nature, Sustainability, and the Environment

    The philosophical significance of ecology for establishing an environmental ethic. Application of environmental ethics to such issues as responsibilities to future generations, the problem of the moral standing of nonhuman species and wilderness, and the deficiencies of cost-benefit analysis as a basis for decision making.

    Taught by Rex Welshon


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)