College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Philosophy

Department of Philosophy

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The Department of Philosophy offers an undergraduate major leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree. A student majoring in philosophy must satisfy the requirements of the Arts and Sciences General Education Requirements. The department offers minor programs and sequences for the undergrauate along with graduate-level courses for candidates for the Master of Arts degree in other fields, such as biomedical, ethics, history, english, math and science. The department’s course offerings are designed not only to provide knowledge and skills required for students whose main interest is in philosophy but also to educate students in general about the intellectual issues that a reflective person is likely to encounter in various contexts of civilized life. The department emphasizes the relevance of philosophy to mathematics, computer science, and disciplines in the natural sciences, the social sciences, the humanities and arts, and law.

The major program in philosophy, besides offering a solid foundation for advanced study in philosophy and enriching programs in other disciplines, develops the skills for analytical and critical thinking, effective communication and rational decision needed in a wide range of endeavors.

The program thus provides majors with unusual flexibility in the choice of subsequent careers, including law, medicine, and management while complementing the pursuit of career objectives with a greater perspective and a richer quality of intellectual life The department participates in an interdisciplinary major program in the history and philosophy of science and technology leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree in collaboration with the Department of History.

The Department of Philosophy offers an undergraduate minor in ethics thatallows undergraduate students in any field to pursue a concentration of studies in ethics from multiple perspectives: theoretical and practical, philosophical and empirical/ interdisciplinary. The goal is to encourage analytical reflection on the principles and situations of ethical action, social, interpersonal, or individual, in historical and contemporary contexts. The ethics minor requires PHIL 101 Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 205 Contemporary Moral Problems, PHIL 206 Contemporary Moral Issues: Experiential, PHIL 305 Ethics, one other PHIL course at the 200-300 level, and one of several identified courses in a field other than philosophy.

The Department of Philosophy and the Department of History together offer an undergraduate major in the history and philosophy of science. The purpose of the major is to develop a humanistic understanding of the nature and development of science through the combined use of philosophical and historical methods. The major provides a foundation for graduate study in a range of academic disciplines and for careers in such areas as business, medicine, law, public policy, and science journalism. It also may be profitably combined with a program in one of the sciences. Within the major, a student may seek an emphasis on the philosophy of science, the history of the physical sciences, or the history of the biological and medically related sciences.