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Description of the Philosophy Major

The Philosophy major provides in-depth study of fundamental issues that inescapably confront all persons.

Topics Include:

ethics, social and political philosophy, and aesthetics—
study of the good life, justice, and beauty;

metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion—
study of the nature of reality, mind, body, and the meaning of life and death;

epistemology, philosophy of science, and logic—
study of the nature of knowledge, truth, objectivity, and principles of sound reasoning;

and, subjects such as comparative philosophies and world cultures, philosophy of race, feminist theory, and philosophical issues in technology, language, education, and the professions of law, business, medicine, communications, engineering, and agriculture.

These studies enhance imaginative, interpretive, analytical, critical, and communicative capacities. Majors thus may acquire intellectual abilities crucial for self-fulfillment, responsible participation in public life, and success in a wide range of careers—including law, business, education, journalism, medicine, and public service.

Majors pursued concentration in:

history of philosophy; humanities and arts; natural sciences and mathematics; social sciences; the professions; or, justice, law and values. This is combined easily with minors, area studies, and multiple majors. Qualified students participate in honors study and internships.

For the B.A. degree in Philosophy, a minimum of 124 credits is required.

Explore your options:

General Philosophy Option

This option provides students with a concentration in the history of western philosophy and the historical development and impact of philosophical ideas and issues—from the ancient to the contemporary period. It is designed for all students who seek a broad liberal education, including students interested in graduate study in philosophy.

Humanities and Arts Option

This option provides students with a concentration in philosophical issues in the arts, art history, literature, languages, history and religion. It is designed for all students primarily interested in the philosophical dimensions of the arts, humanities, and cultural studies, including students with career or further educational goals in these fields.

Philosophy of Science and Mathematics Option

This option provides students with a concentration in philosophical issues in the life sciences, the physical sciences, mathematics, engineering, and technology. It is designed for all students primarily interested in the philosophical dimensions of the natural sciences, technology, and mathematics, including students with career or further educational goals in these fields.

Social Sciences Option

This option provides students with a concentration in philosophical issues in the social sciences, social and political theory, and education. It is designed for all students primarily interested in the philosophical dimensions of social thought and methodological and normative issues in the social sciences, educational theory, and public policy, including students with career or further educational goals in these fields.

Professional Studies Option

This option provides students with a concentration in philosophical issues and dimensions in the theory and practice of the professions of agriculture, business, engineering, journalism, law, and medicine and health care. It is designed for all students seeking a foundation in the philosophical dimensions of these professions, including students who wish to combine humanistic study with career or further educational goals in these fields.

Justice, Law and Values Option

This option provides students with a concentration in philosophical issues concerning ethics, jurisprudence, and social and political theory. It is designed for students primarily interested in moral, social, political, and legal questions concerning value and is especially appropriate for those anticipating future educational work in law school.

Philosophy Minor

In consultation with a faculty adviser, students must take a total of 18 credits in philosophy, including at least six credits at the 200 level and at least 6 credits at the 400.