The Philosophy Major is designed to cultivate an understanding of the major philosophical fields of study (including logic, ethics, metaphysics and epistemology), their methods, and their histories. The philosopher is interested in articulating rational principals; thinking critically about one’s life and society; espousing and defending moral stances; comprehending the intellectual underpinnings of political systems; making well-informed philosophical statements about truth, beauty and love, good and evil, and the nature of the material world; debating human nature and the nature of the soul; and discussing “how we know what we know.”
The Philosophy Major allows students to create and analyze complex philosophical stances and synthesize these ideas with major schools of thought within both the Western and Eastern philosophic traditions.
To this end, Philosophy Majors are required to take 45 credit hours—a total of 15 courses—in four major areas:
1) Overview of Philosophy
2) Metaphysics and Epistemology
3) The History of Philosophy
4) Moral and Political Philosophy
This program sequence has been designed around the following goals: 1) to provide Philosophy Majors with an understanding of the fundamental underpinnings of philosophy as an academic disciple; 2) to offer students the opportunity to identify and debate life’s philosophical “deep questions” concerning death, religion, language, science, the human mind, and the nature of knowledge; 3) to help students synthesize the history of ancient, medieval, and modern philosophy; 4) to hone the student’s ability to evaluate philosophical claims concerning politics, justice, and political resistance; happiness; human nature; art; love; and beauty; and 5) to engage the philosophical and ethical complexities of contemporary life in law, medicine, business, and social movements.
Most fundamentally, after completing the Philosophy Major, the student will be able to seek, identify, analyze, evaluate, and synthesize philosophical answers to “life’s deepest questions.”
The questions this program of study engages critically include:
1) Is there or is there not a divine creator and what does this mean for the purpose and meaning of life?
2) What is the nature of the human being? Do we have a soul—and if so, is it eternal? Or are we only biological entities that cease to exist upon death?
3) What is the nature of goodness and value in our lives, our cultures, and political structures? Does ignorance, evil, or a lack of moral certitude inevitably erode life, culture, and politics?
4) What is the ultimate structure of the material world (“the real”) and how does the human mind perceive “the real?”
5) What can be known, how does this differ from belief, and how do we know what we know?
6) What is justice and do we have a moral imperative to struggle to make our personal actions, our medical practices, and our social, legal, business, and political institutions more just? How does one go about seeking a more just world?
You will be required to take 15 courses to complete this major.
NOTE: At present, we do not yet have enough courses available or in development to make Philosophy a full area of study. We will in the future offer additional courses such that you may elect to become a “Philosophy Major.”