Philosophy Major

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree BA, Philosophy

Department Chair Matthew Swanson, PhD

Faculty

Maria L. Balcells, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BA Rutgers University; PhD University of Illinois at Chicago

Mark Painter, Professor of Philosophy, BA Evergreen State College; MA University of North Texas; PhD University of Missouri

Melanie Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BA Hanover College, PhD The Pennsylvania State University

Matthew L. Swanson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, BA, MA, PhD University of Missouri

This program presents philosophy as an integral life activity growing out of a deep and passionate concern with life and its meaning and the recognition that the traumatic changes that mark an age and affect all people involve philosophical issues. In its academic mode, philosophy is noted for cultivating those dispositions and aptitudes requisite for critical thinking and sound judgment. In this function, it provides the strongest preparation for rational living and intelligent participation in contemporary discussions about issues such as freedom, justice, personal authenticity, morality, and political legitimacy.

Pre-Law Specialization

The pre-law specialization was developed in accordance with the Association of American Law Schools, which recommends that prospective law students have a broad liberal arts background. The program represents sound preparation for the Law School Admissions Test and the study of law.

General Requirements

Philosophy majors must complete 24 credits in philosophy beyond the six credits that satisfy core requirements, and maintain a 2.00 (C grade) average overall and in the major. They are also required to take Introduction to Logic (PHL 105), Ethical Theory (PHL 200) and the four upper level historical courses: Ancient Philosophy (PHL 320), Early Modern Philosophy (PHL 330), 19th Century Philosophy (PHL 340) and 20th Century Philosophy (PHL 430). A proficiency in a foreign language is advisable.

A large number of free electives allows students flexibility in personalizing their studies. Majors can, with approval of their advisors, either select from various minors and areas of concentration, pursue double majors, or select clusters of advanced courses from different disciplines in pursuit of more integrated understanding.

Program Goals and Outcomes

Students majoring in Philosophy will:

  1. Develop and apply the skills necessary to critically analyze philosophical and ethical arguments.
  2. Develop and apply the skills necessary to effectively write about philosophical arguments.
  3. Understand the main historical figures and movements in philosophy.
  4. Develop the ability to deal responsibly with social and political issues.
  5. Develop the ability to appreciate the cultural contexts of philosophical ideas.
  6. Develop the skills necessary to speak publically about philosophical ideas in a clear, responsive, articulate manner with respect for divergent opinions.

The Philosophy major program goals are realized in the following student learning outcomes:

  1. Students will critically analyze philosophical and ethical arguments in terms of content, logical structure and reasoning.
  2. Students will write effectively about philosophical arguments.
  3. Students will demonstrate a comprehensive and clear understanding of the main historical figures and movements in philosophy.
  4. Students will demonstrate an appreciation of the cultural contexts of philosophical ideas in written and oral presentations and discussions.
  5. Students will demonstrate the ability to deal responsibly with social and political issues in written and oral presentations and discussions.
  6. Students will speak publically about philosophical ideas in a clear, responsive, articulate manner with respect for divergent opinions.