The study of philosophy is excellent preparation for a career in any field that requires clear, analytical thinking, writing, and speaking, including law, government, teaching and education, the ministry, business and management, publishing, and many other fields. Philosophy is traditionally considered the premier major for those planning to apply to law school. Philosophy majors score on average significantly higher on the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT) than do the majors in any of the humanities or social sciences, including political science, history, and English; and philosophy majors on average are accepted to law school at higher rates than are students majoring in many other popular pre-law fields. Philosophy is also an excellent double major.
The Department of Philosophy sponsors the College's chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honors Philosophy Society, which recognizes student academic excellence. The Department also operates the Center for Philosophic Exchange, which sponsors free public guest lectures on campus by distinguished philosophers and publishes the on-line journal, Philosophic Exchange.
Admission to the Program
Anyone can declare this major.
General Education Requirements (35–38* credits)
Major Departmental Requirements (30 credits)
- PHL 102 Introduction to Ethics*
- PHL 104 Critical Thinking*
- PHL 202 Logic*
- PHL 304 Ancient Philosophy
- PHL 305 Modern Philosophy
- ONE of the following courses:
- PHL 396 Seminar on Philosophical Problems
- PHL 491 Seminar on Individual Philosophers*
- FOUR PHL courses, at least two of which must be numbered 300-499
* Denotes courses that meet both major and general education requirements
Electives (52–55 credits)
Total Credits (120 credits)
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
- Present a philosophical problem, by (1) concisely and precisely stating a philosophical problem to be resolved by an argument or essay, (2) explaining why the problem is significant, (3) explaining the scope of the problem, (4) defining any terms necessary for understanding the problem.
- Explicate the meaning of a philosophical theory by (1) correctly deducing the logical implications of that theory, (2) describing those implications in terms of specific examples, (3) recognizing when another statement or theory contradicts the relevant theory explicitly, (4) recognizing when another statement or theory contradicts the relevant theory implicitly.
- Demonstrate understanding of evidence by (1) correctly stating what counts as relevant evidence for a philosophical position, (2) correctly stating what counts as relevant evidence against the argument for a philosophical position and recognizing that evidence as such, (3) explaining why any cited evidence is relevant or irrelevant to a philosophical position, (4) distinguishing evidentiary claims about a philosophical position from rhetorically persuasive but specious claims about a philosophical position.
- Demonstrate knowledge of logic, by (1) recognizing arguments, (2) constructing good arguments, (3) evaluating arguments, (4) avoiding fallacies (e.g. begging the question).
- Demonstrate knowledge of dialectical method in philosophy, by (1) formulating possible objections to the thesis of an essay, (2) formulating possible objections to the argument for the essay's thesis, (3) responding to possible objections to the essay's thesis by showing that they are mistaken, (4) responding to possible objections to the argument for the essay's thesis by showing that they are mistaken.