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Dr. Sarah Scott
Chair of the Department

The philosophy major and minor challenges you to ask big, important questions, engage with some of the most significant minds in history, think critically, and write and express yourself clearly. Our department takes a pluralistic approach, which sharpens your ability to understand and analyze concepts, question injustices and logical errors, and think critically about what matters to you. It promotes sustained reflection, clarity in language and argument, and awareness of justice and injustice: critical skills for success in a multicultural world.

Majors gain a solid foundation in philosophic method and history through four core courses: Ancient Greek Philosophy, Early Modern Philosophy, Ethics, and Logic or Critical Thinking. From there students customize their studies, choosing one upper level historical course, one upper level global or contemporary philosophy course, and three electives. All majors complete their studies with a senior seminar.

Philosophy minors take the foundational courses Ancient Greek Philosophy and Ethics, and then choose three electives. Should majors or minors wish to develop a focus, our faculty can support a range of concentrations and research, including pre-law, ethics, philosophy of literature, art and film, political philosophy, feminist philosophy, critical race philosophy, Africana philosophy, philosophic issues in technology, and the history of philosophy.


A minimum of thirty credits in philosophy courses distributed as follows:

Four required core courses:12
Introduction to Logic
Critical Thinking
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
One historical period/tradition course:3
Faith and Reason
Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
Marx and Marxism
American Philosophy
20th Century Philosophy
One contemporary and/or non-Western course:3
Africana Philosophy
Chinese and Japanese Philosophies
Philosophers on Race, Class, and Gender
Philosophers on Sex, Love, and Friendship
Topics: in Philosophy
One seminar:3
Philosophy Seminar
Electives at the 200-level or above chosen in consultation with the major advisor9
Total Credits30

Minor: Philosophy

A minimum of fifteen credits in philosophy courses distributed as follows:

PHIL 201Ethics3
PHIL 215Ancient Greek Philosophy3
Electives selected from PHIL 150 or any course at the 200-level or above chosen in consultation with the minor advisor9
Total Credits15


PHIL 150. Roots: Philosophy. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of selected philosophical texts and developments from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world.

PHIL 152. Roots of Modern Age: Philosophy - FYS. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of selected philosophical texts and developments from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world.

PHIL 201. Ethics. 3 Credits.

An introduction to moral decision making emphasizing the criteria used in assessing moral problems and dilemmas. Required of students in the School of Business.

PHIL 205. Environmental Ethics. 3 Credits.

This course considers the ethical and philosophical dimensions of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. What is an environment; and what, if any, are our moral obligations towards it? Do we have moral obligations to anything other than human beings? Does the environment itself have some intrinsic value? How do we balance sustainability and growth?.

PHIL 210. Faith and Reason. 3 Credits.

Focuses primarily on thinkers in the Catholic intellectual tradition, this course is guided by two hermeneutical principles. First, faith and reason are aspects of the human condition that are neither mutually exclusive nor inherently antagonistic. Second, faith and reason can be mutually illuminative and fruitfully conjoined in theory and process.

PHIL 211. Introduction to Philosophy. 3 Credits.

The major theoretical and practical issues raised by the classical philosophers, especially Plato, Aristotle, and later figures.

PHIL 213. Introduction to Logic. 3 Credits.

Fundamental principles of correct reasoning; logical validity; deductive argument; formal and informal fallacies; problems of semantics and definition; problem of induction and scientific method.

PHIL 214. Critical Thinking. 3 Credits.

Introduces the principles and techniques of critical thinking. Students will develop a set of concepts and techniques used to analyze and evaluate complex reasoning. Formal and informal fallacies will be studied, and students will develop their own arguments.

PHIL 215. Ancient Greek Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Examines the major theoretical and practical issues raised by the classical Greek Philosophers, especially the pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Required for philosophy majors and minors.

PHIL 218. Philosophy & Literature. 3 Credits.

Two fundamental assumptions guide this course: first, all great literary works are inherently philosophical; second, great works of literature and great works of philosophy can complement one another in such a way as to deepen our understanding of both.

PHIL 220. Philosophy of Religion. 3 Credits.

Symbols and myths in religious experience; arguments for believing or not believing in God; the problem of evil; critiques of religion as projection, opiate or illusion.

PHIL 222. Aquinas. 3 Credits.

An investigation into the theological and philosophical thoughts of Aquinas, placed within the context of Scholastic Philosophy. Special attention will be paid to his use of Aristotelian Philosophy and its Muslim commentators, as well as his debt to Dionysius., Aquinas and critical thinking, and Aquinas’ place in Catholic intellectual history of will also be examined.

PHIL 228. Philosophy & Film. 3 Credits.

An exploration of the intersection of philosophy, one of the most ancient disciplines, and film, one of the youngest art forms. Through discussing the plots and imagery of films, we address such enduring philosophic issues as personal identity, moral decision making, and humanity's relationship to nature, technology, God, and time.

PHIL 230. Philosophy of Law. 3 Credits.

Theories of law; natural law versus legal positivism; legal paternalism; the right to privacy; legal reinforcement of moral standards; justice and fairness; legal responsibility; theories of punishment.

PHIL 236. Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. 3 Credits.

A concentration on selected major writings of Freud so as to achieve an understanding of the complexity of his thought before undertaking any kind of disciplined criticism in the light of oft-concealed philosophical presuppositions.

PHIL 238. Philosophies of War and Peace. 3 Credits.

Historical-conceptual consideration of war, peace, causes, and conditions of war and peace; social strife, racism, sexism, attitudes toward war and peace, peaceful coexistence, pacifism, nonviolence as techniques of struggle.

PHIL 251. Philosophers on Education. 3 Credits.

An examination of conflicting philosophies of education and their implications. Highly recommended for students in the School of Education and Health.

PHIL 271. American Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Analysis from original sources of major United States political and constitutional writers from colonial times to the present.

PHIL 274. Western Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Introduction to Western political theory through examining the written dialogue (between philosophers) which has contributed to what we know as the canon, on the state and society in the West.

PHIL 275. Political Philosophy. 3 Credits.

An introduction to the major theories and key questions that animate political philosophy: What is the source and nature of politics? How does politics relate to morality? What is the purpose of a state and how should it be constituted? How should we understand the relationships between individuals, communities, interest groups, and states? How is state power justified? What does the state owe its citizens, and what do citizens owe their states? Is there a virtue of good citizenship? What is democracy? How should states relate to other states? Political philosophy incorporates a wide variety of philosophical themes and areas, including but not limited to: Justice, rights, liberty, property, economics, feminism, religion, race, the environment, law, international relations, war, imperialism, colonialism and revolution.

PHIL 307. Metaphilosophy. 3 Credits.

Metaphilosophy (sometimes called the “Philosophy of Philosophy”) is the study of the nature of philosophy. In this course, students will explore several key metaphilosophical questions, such as: What is philosophy? How is philosophy done? How should philosophy be done? How do I become a philosopher? Why does philosophy matter? This course will investigate these questions via historical and contemporary texts from the Analytic, Continental, and Pragmatist traditions in philosophy.

PHIL 315. Medieval Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Medieval thought generated a variety of philosophical perspectives. To understand the distinctive character of the medieval philosophical pluralism, selected texts will be examined in Augustine, Boethius, Abelard, Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Ockham.

PHIL 316. Modern Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Introduces the major texts, thinkers, and ideas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophy. Texts by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant will be studied from the perspective of their contributions to epistemology and metaphysics.

PHIL 320. Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. 3 Credits.

The nineteenth century was an extraordinarily rich period for philosophy when the influence of philosophers spread far beyond the academy. Many movements that began in philosophy during the nineteenth century, such as Marxism, Existentialism, and Pragmatism have continued to be influential. This course focuses on philosophers who were central to several important movements, for example, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Willam James.

PHIL 325. Marx and Marxism. 3 Credits.

A study of the genesis and development of Marx's philosophy as a framework for understanding his theories of history and capitalism and his influence on modern thought and economic and social theories.

PHIL 330. American Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A critical analysis of pragmatism and the concept of experience through major figures in American Philosophy, for example, Peirce, James, Mead, Dewey, and Rorty.

PHIL 332. Africana Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A philosophy course introducing African philosophy, broadly construed. The course may cover traditional and contemporary African philosophy, Africana philosophy in the dispora, Afro-Caribbean philosophy, African constitutional philosophy and philosophy of law, decolonial philosophy, African feminist and queer philosophy, and the cross-pollination between African and African-American philosophy and political thought.

PHIL 334. Existentialism. 3 Credits.

An exploration of the major themes in the writings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Beauvoir, Sartre, Weil and others, with emphasis on their religious, social, political and economic implications.

PHIL 335. 20th Century Philosophy. 3 Credits.

This course examines the remarkable variety of topics, philosophers, and movements in the twentieth-century, for example, analytic philosophy, neo-pragmatism, existentialism, and phenomenology. The course typically will emphasize different topics, philosophers, and movements each time it is offered.

PHIL 342. Chinese and Japanese Philosophies. 3 Credits.

The role of filial piety and ancestor worship in perpetuating familial and social continuity; the Confucian union of nature and culture in the harmonious man; the Taoist emphasis on privacy in the midst of an overstructured world; Legalism as the first coherent totalitarian political philosophy; the Japanese sense of beauty.

PHIL 350. Philosophers on Race, Class, and Gender. 3 Credits.

This course takes an intersectional approach to race, class, gender, and sexuality, drawing on contemporary philosophical frameworks to examine multidimensional forms of raced, gendered, classed, and heterosexist and cis oppression.

PHIL 352. Philosophers on Sex, Love, and Friendship. 3 Credits.

This course explores philosophies of sex, love, and friendship through a range of philosophical traditions, including feminist and queer theory, philosophy of law, and Western and global philosophy.

PHIL 375. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts.

PHIL 399. Topics: in Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A seminar on a single philosopher, topic, or period. The subject will vary from semester to semester. Open to non-majors as well as majors.

PHIL 401. Philosophy Seminar. 3 Credits.

An intensive study of an important philosopher, tradition, question, or area of philosophical research. Students will conduct independent research and complete a capstone project. Only open to philosophy majors and minors in their senior year who have completed two 200- or 300-level courses in Philosophy. Required for Philosophy majors. Some juniors majoring in Philosophy may be admitted with the Chair's approval. May be repeated.

PHIL 420. Independent Study. 3 Credits.

Individual study of a philosopher or topic area with a member of the department. Open only to students majoring in philosophy who meet the requirements set by the chair of the department and who secure the consent of the individual instructor.

PHIL 475. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts. Open to majors only.