Study in Philosophy is an essential ingredient of a liberal arts education. The Department of Philosophy offers a full curriculum on three levels: introductory courses (100 level), intermediate and advanced courses with concentration on particular sub-fields of philosophy (200 level), and topical and historical seminars (300 level). The Philosophy major meets the needs and interests of the following students: a) those who plan graduate study and teaching in the field; b) those who intend to go to law school; c) those who seek preparation for work in government, business, social service, journalism, or any field in which critical thinking is valued; and d) those who wish to approach a liberal arts education through a concentrated study of philosophy. The major also combines easily with other majors, both the Law and Society major and the Cognitive Sciences Concentration count some Philosophy Department courses toward their requirements.
Courses at the 100 level offer the student a choice of emphases in an initial study of methods, problems, and theories in philosophy. None of these courses duplicates courses of higher number. Some 200 level courses are also open to students with no previous work in philosophy. These courses are not intended to serve as introductory courses in philosophy, but they may still be taken by students without previous philosophical training who have a special interest in their topics. Any 200 level course with no stated prerequisite falls into this category.
Course Sequence Suggestions
The department suggests any of its introductory courses as an appropriate first course in philosophy. (Other philosophy courses that are open without prerequisite may also be taken as first courses, though they are not intended as introductory courses.) From any of these first courses, students may, with occasional exceptions, proceed to any of the department’s advanced offerings. For purposes of the major it is desirable, though not mandatory, that the course in Deductive Logic (200) or that in Reason and Argument (201) should be completed early in one’s philosophical studies. Students interested in majoring in philosophy should consult with a member of the department concerning course sequence planning. It is possible to complete the Philosophy major even if it is not started until the junior year.