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Philosophy and Religious Studies

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Department of Philosophy & Religious Studies
L & L Building Room 337
(509) 963-1818

Fall 2023 Course Offerings

PHIL 184 Humand and Animals PosterRELS 184 Harry Potter and Religion PosterRELS 353 Judaism Poster

PHIL 306 Environmental Ethics PosterPHIL 364 Philosophy of Mind PosterPHIL 325 Women and Philosophy Poster

PHIL 352 Greek and Roman Philosophy PosterPHIL 111 Writing and PowerPHIL 153 Arguments About Social Issues Poster

PHIL 106 Asian Philoosphy PosterPHIL 105 The Meaning of Life PosterPHIL 104 Moral Controversies Poster

Rels 103 World Mythologies PosterRELS 102 Everyday Religion and Morality PosterPHIL 101 Philosophical Inquiry Poster

RELS 101 World Religions Poster


Dr. Lily Vuong Awarded Distinguished Faculty for Scholarship


The work of Dr. Lily Vuong is that of a consummate scholar, and one of the world’s foremost experts on early Christian literature and apocrypha. Since joining CWU in 2015 as an associate professor of Religious Studies, her incredible research output has included one translation with commentary, one scholarly monograph, three edited volumes (for a total of five books), nine articles and book chapters, and too many conference papers to count. Her research shows no sign of slowing down, as she is currently working on two additional books, one translation, and seven articles. All of this active research is a great benefit to Vuong’s students, who enjoy classes designed with an inquisitive and research-based approach in mind.

In addition to her scholarly exploits, Vuong is the current vice president and president-elect for the North American Society for the Study of Christian Apocryphal Literature. She has also been elected to prestigious research fellowships at the University of Regensburg in Germany and the International Catacomb Society, which supported her archeological work in Rome, Ephesus (Turkey), and Jerusalem in 2019-20.

One letter of support from Janet Spittler of the University of Virginia sums up Vuong’s incredible body of work.

“It is sometimes the case that colleges and universities are unaware that they have an absolute gem in their midst,” Spittler wrote. “I hope that Lily will be given the recognition she deserves at her home institution—recognition that is in line with her stellar international reputation.”


Student Media Podcast, Spring 2023, Episode 4

On this episode of The Student Media Podcast, Deacon and Evan talk with Dr. Gary Bartlett. Dr. Bartlett is a professor at CWU who specializes in philosophy classes. The episode goes into depth about Dr. Bartlett’s past in the field, how and where he studied influenced his thoughts and ideas on how he runs his classes today, and even some of the unique classes he teaches currently at CWU. One of the classes talked about is PHIL 110, Beyond Belief? Dr. Bartlett taught this class back in 2019 and plans to do so again in 2024. The class focuses on the study of breaking down paranormal beliefs in fringe phenomena. “Such as ghosts, ESP, and alien abduction. Students will learn to consider evidence and how to recognize sources of bias in their own and others’ beliefs.” Check it out on this awesome episode of The Student Media Podcast! Please click on the photo below to view this episode.

Dr. Bartlett on a Zoom Call with Pulse


In Memory of Webster Franklin Hood

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Dr. Webster Hood profle photo

Dr. Webster Franklin Hood passed away peacefully on April 15, 2023, at the age of 86, in Queens, New York. He was born in Carbondale on January 30, 1937. Dr. Hood had a long and successful career as a Philosophy Professor at Central Washington University, where he was highly respected by his colleagues and students.

In addition to his academic pursuits, Dr. Hood was a very social person and enjoyed entertaining his friends with his clever sense of humor. He was deeply devoted to his family and always made sure to care for their well-being. He will be dearly missed by all who knew him.

Dr. Hood is survived by his daughter Meg, granddaughter A.J., sister Linda, brother-in-law Robert, and nieces and nephews Mindy, Lisa, Steve, and Janie. He was preceded in death by his mother Florence, father Webster, and wife Toni.

Dr. Hood received his higher education at Penn State, where he honed his passion for philosophy and began his journey towards becoming a respected professor. His contributions to the field will be remembered for generations to come.

Rest in peace, Dr. Webster Franklin Hood. Your memory will be cherished by all who knew you.


New issues of The Soapbox are now available

The Soapbox collects philosophical essays by students on matters of public concern. The first three issues cover abortion, free speech, and immigration.

Click on the images below to view each volume of The Soapbox.


The Soapbox Volume 1 The Soapbox Volume 2 The Soapbox Volume 3


Click on the image below to explore the department's highlights

Celebrating 55 years of our department's history


Welcome to
Philosophy & Comparative Religion

Philosophy and Religious Studies staff and faculty

Not pictured above: Dr. Gary Bartlett

Language and Literature Building, Room 337
400 East University Way, Ellensburg, WA 98926-7555

Office Hours: M-F 8am-5pm
phone: (509) 963-1818

The Philosophy program offers a full range of courses designed to provide students with the intellectual tools and scholarly background necessary for deep, critical understanding of human experience. The major philosophers and intellectual traditions, Western and non-Western, are analyzed in order to show how philosophy relates directly to problems which thoughtful men and women face in the world today. We offer an undergraduate major and minor in Philosophy as well as a minor in Ethics.  Our Ethics minor is an excellent complement to any major, enabling students to develop a strong sense of moral responsibility and critical skills for moral reflection.

The Comparative Religion program enables interested students to examine objectively, from philosophical, historical and text critical viewpoints, the great world religions. Departmental faculty are committed to a comparative approach in the study and teaching of religious studies, with specializations in Western (particularly Judaism) and Eastern (particularly Chinese Buddhism and Daoism) traditions. Coursework, speakers series and study abroad opportunities reflect these interests. The department offers both a Religious Studies major and minor.

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