Academic Programs and Concentrations
Division of Social Studies
OverviewThe philosophy curriculum is designed to provide students in any field a general understanding of the nature and history of philosophical inquiry. Students who major in philosophy have access to more specialized courses, which can serve as the foundation for graduate study.
Areas of StudyThe core of the program consists of courses in the history of philosophy and such traditional areas of philosophic study as ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of language, and aesthetics. In addition, several seminars each year are devoted to the work of one philosopher, for example, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Wittgenstein, or Sartre.
RequirementsStudents who want to moderate in philosophy are expected to take three courses in philosophy in the Lower College. No specific courses are required for Moderation, but students are strongly encouraged to take the two-semester History of Philosophy in their sophomore year. While not a requirement for Moderation, this sequence is a requirement for majors, and fulfilling it early will prepare students well for subsequent courses. Most students also take one of the Introduction to Philosophy courses prior to Moderation; these courses provide an orientation to philosophic methodologies and themes in texts ranging from Platonic dialogues to 21st-century works. Majors are expected to take at least seven philosophy courses altogether, at least four during their studies in the Upper College.
Juniors take the writing-intensive Philosophy Research Seminar (for details, see Philosophy 302 in the college catalogue) as well as a 300-level Junior Seminar. Students intending to apply to graduate schools in philosophy are encouraged to take at least one course in ancient philosophy, at least two courses in modern philosophy (17th through 19th centuries), at least one course in 20th-century philosophy, symbolic logic, and at least one course in ethics or political philosophy. Each philosophy major determines the topic of his or her Senior Project in consultation with a faculty adviser.
Recent Senior Projects in Philosophy
- “Aesthetic Phenomenology through Kant and Schopenhauer”
- “Extraordinary Language: Apprehending Wonder in Woolf and Wittgenstein”
- “The Mind, the Brain, and the Self: The Limits of Sense and Nonsense in Psychology and Neurology”
- “A Quest for Justice: Hannah Arendt and the Redeeming Power of Judgment”
CoursesIntroductory courses are numbered in the 100s. Courses numbered in the 200s, while more specialized in content, are also generally appropriate as first courses in philosophy. Courses numbered in the 300s are more advanced and require previous courses in philosophy and permission of the instructor. Tutorials may also be taken; recent subjects include Hume, Kant’s second and third Critiques, Hegel, Heidegger, Kierkegaard, and Quine.
Program Director: Daniel Berthold
Phone: 845-758-6822 x7208
Garry L. Hagberg