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Philosophy

Philosophy | Courses | Faculty

352 Bartlett Hall

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Contact: Gary Hardegree
Office: 363 Bartlett
Phone: (413) 545-2330

Head of Department: Professor Phillip Bricker. Director of Undergraduate Studies: Associate Professor Gary Hardegree. Distinguished Professor Baker; Professors Antony, Feldman, Kornblith, Levine, O’Neill; Associate Professors Hardegree, Klement; Assistant Professors Garcia, Graham, Meacham; Adjunct Assistant Professor Richardson.

The Field

Whatever your career aspirations, the study of philosophy can help in strengthening your preparation, through developing your capacities to think and reason well, to deal critically and analytically with the ideas, the concepts, the problems, and the methodologies central to your chosen profession. Yet, the study of philosophy equips you not just with skills for a trade or profession; it equips you with an important skill for living. No matter where you go or what you do, you will always live day by day with yourself. One of the things philosophy does is to prepare you for this most important activity of living for and with yourself. This does not mean that it teaches you a selfish activity; rather that it helps to instill self-understanding. Philosophy helps you to learn by doing, by actively doing analysis, questioning, reflecting, and understanding.

The range of topics is broad, encompassing issues of values, knowledge, reality, religion, science, language, society, and more. The core fields in philosophy are logic, ethics, metaphysics, and the theory of knowledge. There are also many specialized fields, such as the philosophy of science, the philosophy of art, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. A student may wish to develop a special competence in one of the specialized fields, or in the philosophy of a given period (for example, in ancient philosophy or the philosophy of the 17th century), or in a particular school or style of philosophy (for example, in existentialism or in analytic philosophy).

Students are encouraged to consider spending one or two semesters studying abroad. Study abroad offers a valuable opportunity to enrich oneself and gain perspective on the field of philosophy.

The Major

Students who major in philosophy must complete at least 10 courses (30 credits) in philosophy, including the following:
1. One course in logic; for example:
110 Introduction to Logic
310 Intermediate Logic
511 Modal Logic
2. One course in ethics; for example:
160 Introduction to Ethics
164 Medical Ethics
562 History of Ethics
563 Ethical Theory
3. Four courses in the history of philosophy; for example:
320 History of Ancient Philosophy
321 History of Modern Philosophy
329 Medieval Philosophy
330 Continental Rationalism
331 British Empiricism
332 Kant
335 Contemporary Analytic Philosophy
336 Existential Philosophy

Note: PHIL 398W, taken in conjunction with either PHIL 320 or PHIL 321, fulfills the Junior Year Writing requirement.

For the Departmental Honors Program a student must, in addition to meeting these major requirements, maintain a high grade point average, complete an advanced course in logic and two departmental honors courses, and write an honors thesis. For details, consult the Director of Undergraduate Studies.

Career Opportunities

Almost all professional philosophers are teachers of philosophy in colleges and universities. To prepare for college teaching one must do graduate work toward a Ph.D. Even with a Ph.D., one’s prospects for teaching philosophy in a college or university are likely to be somewhat limited.

A philosophy major is excellent preparation for law school, and for any vocation or professional school that rewards clear thinking and analytical ability.

The Minor

Requirements

Students must complete a minimum of five courses (15 credits) including three courses above the 100 level. Normally, students organize their study so as to focus on one area within philosophy. A student planning to minor in philosophy should consult the undergraduate adviser.

 

Philosophy | Courses | Faculty