Martin Thomson-Jones, Professor, Chair
Dorit A. Ganson, Associate Professor
Todd S. Ganson, Professor
Peter K. McInerney , Professor
Katherine Thomson-Jones, Associate Professor
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, and 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 100 level 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 the 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.
For students majoring in Philosophy, nine full courses in Philosophy are required.
(1) At least six courses must be distributed among the following subject areas, with at least one course in each area:
- Mind and World: Courses designated with an (M&W) in the catalog. Possible courses include Epistemology, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, and Philosophy of Mind.
- History of Philosophy: Courses designated with an (H) in the catalog. Possible courses include Ancient Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Existentialism, Nineteenth-Century Philosophy, Twentieth-Century Continental Philosophy and Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy.
- Value: Courses designated with a (V) in the catalog. Possible courses include Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Philosophy of Art, Philosophy of Music, Topics in Applied Ethics, Biomedical Ethics, and Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy.
- Logic: The two courses in this area are Philosophy 200 Deductive Logic and Philosophy 201 Reason and Argument.
(2) Students must complete at least one 300-level seminar. Seminar courses may not fulfill a subject area requirement.
For all majors, no course may count toward more than one distribution requirement.
For all majors, no more than one 100-level course may count toward the major’s total course requirement.
Students must earn minimum grades of C- or P for all courses that apply toward the major.
Students may earn a minor in philosophy upon completion of 5 full courses in philosophy chosen in consultation with a minor advisor. No more than one of these courses may be from the 100 level. Students majoring in philosophy may not minor in philosophy.
The department offers an Honors Program to qualified senior majors. The Program
involves intensive study and writing under faculty supervision for an academic year. It
culminates in the preparation of a lengthy written thesis, and a defense of the thesis before
departmental faculty and, typically, an external examiner from another college or university.
Questions should be directed to the department’s Director of the Honors Program.
Most members of the department will be available to sponsor Winter Term projects in 2018. See the department’s web site for a complete list of the faculty members who are available and the areas of philosophy each of them covers.
Private Reading and Independent Research