The Philosophy concentration offers courses covering subjects from the philosophy of religion to the philosophies of science and literature. It also provides survey courses on various periods in the history of philosophy. Concentrators can expect to strengthen their knowledge of and skills in ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, logic, epistemology and metaphysics. Students are required to identify an area of specialization. There is also a related, but separate concentration in physics and philosophy.
Students in philosophy will:
- Learn to think analytically and creatively about philosophical texts and issues
- Understand the work of major figures in the history of philosophy, including Plato, Aristotle, Descartes and Kant
- Become familiar with arguments and approaches in metaphysics or epistemology, and a selection of other areas of philosophy, such as philosophy of mind and philosophy of language; as well as topics in ethics and political philosophy
- Know how to carry out logical proofs and derivations within a formal system
- Produce a significant body of written work
New concentration requirements became effective in January 2013. Students who declared their concentration prior to that date are still subject to the old requirements, which can be found in the University Bulletin.
The current requirement is ten courses total of which no more than one may be below Phil 0200, and at least three of which must be at or above Phil 0990.
Each philosophy concentrator must take:
- One course in Ancient Philosophy
Such as: Phil 0350, Ancient Philosophy; Phil 1250, Aristotle ; Phil 1260, Plato; Phil 1310: Myth and the Origins of Science
- One course in Early Modern Philosophy
Such as: Phil 0360, Early Modern Philosophy; Phil 1700, British Empiricists; Phil 1710, 17th Century Continental Rationalism; Phil 1720: Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
- One course in Epistemology or Metaphysics
Such as: Phil 1660, Metaphysics; Phil 1750: Epistemology; Phil 1760: Philosophy of Language; Phil 1770: Philosophy of Mind
- One course in Ethics or Political Philosophy
Such as: Phil 0500, Moral Philosophy; Phil 0560: Political Philosophy; Phil 1640: The Nature of Morality; Phil 1650: Moral Theories
- One course in Logic
Such as: Phil 0540, Logic; Phil 1630: Deductive Logic; Phil 1880: Advanced Deductive Logic
- One seminar
A course from the Phil 0990 series or any seminar at the 2000-level, which may be counted for one of the other requirements.
Each student must also have a "specialization", consisting of three related courses from a single area of philosphy, for example: logic and language; philosphy of scieince; epistemology; philosophy of mind; moral philosophy; political philosophy; ancient philosophy; and so forth. At most one course from the specialization can als be counted for one of the five area requirements.
Each philosophy concentrator must complete a "capstone". For more information, see the page on the senior year.
Phiilosophy concentrators have the option of writing an Honor's Thesis, which is typically researched and written over the course of the entire senior year. Interested students should consult with the concentration advisor during the sixth semester concerning procedures and requirements.