Philosophy is the study of the most fundamental issues concerning reality, knowledge, and value. Its fields include metaphysics (ultimate nature of reality), epistemology (nature of knowledge and reasoning), and ethics (principles of moral obligation). Through the study of the Philosophy Department’s curriculum, students learn about the historical traditions and contemporary theories in these fields. Philosophy also examines the basic concepts, principles, and arguments of the major scientific and intellectual disciplines concerned with the study of domains of reality, features and practices of knowledge, and social values and arrangements. These topics are addressed in areas such as philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of law, political philosophy, and philosophy of religion.
The study of philosophy enriches students’ lives as metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical reflection is essential to individual development and cultures across time and place. Moreover, philosophy enhances skills of abstract thinking, clear argumentative writing, careful reading and analysis of texts, and oral argument. Philosophical training is then valuable in almost any area of life and any occupation that requires examination and analysis of problems, critical evaluation of alternative solutions, and rational advocacy of conclusions and courses of action. Philosophy is also an excellent undergraduate major for pre-professional students: philosophy majors outscore all other majors on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE’s) and receive scores among the highest on the LSAT’s, GMAT’s, and MCAT’s. It is ideal for those who aspire to work in the legal profession and fitting for students planning careers in medicine. And finally, as the quintessential interdisciplinary course of study, philosophy is a wonderful second-major and compliments the course of study in the physical and social sciences, arts, and humanities.
Philosophy Honors Option
The Philosophy Department’s Honors Option is designed to challenge and enrich the educational experience of outstanding philosophy majors and, with a successful completion, recognize and honor their achievements. Application process: students must apply to be admitted. To apply, fill out an application (available at the department office) and submit it together with a DARS report and a writing sample to the honors option coordinator. The requirements to qualify for departmental honors include: at least junior standing; completion of at least 20 credits of Philosophy including at least one 400-level course; minimum GPA of 3.50 in philosophy courses; writing sample. Requirements for receiving departmental honors include: completion of Honors Seminar (Phl 485) and Honors Thesis (Phl 403) with receipt of A- or above in both courses; minimum GPA of 3.5 in philosophy courses at graduation; at least 60 credits in philosophy. For further details on requirements, expectations, and procedures, please contact department office or honors option coordinator.