Philosophy

Overview

The philosophy major is ideal preparation for any career or field of advanced study. Our program develops critical and analytical thinkers, adept at clearly communicating the many facets of human inquiry. Philosophy is a strong foundation in matters of utmost personal, social, and global consequence.

Philosophy gets at the very heart of what it means to live. Ethics, justice, the rationality of religion, and the application of philosophy in our lives are some of the many areas covered in our program. Because of the existential nature of philosophy, it is an ideal second major that may heighten a
student’s understanding of their primary field.

Our courses rigorously engage pressing, relevant philosophical and ethical questions from Western and non-Western traditions. From diverse thinkers, both past and present, students develop skills in understanding complex theories and arguments. They develop their own informed and well-justified arguments and positions on philosophical issues that affect their own lives and the lives of their local, national, and global communities.

Outcomes

Students of philosophy gain knowledge and understanding of what influential past and present philosophical thinkers argued from a variety of philosophical traditions. Based on this understanding, students develop their own arguments and positions on important issues confronting society, as well as personal existential, ethical, religious, political, and vocational questions.

Philosophy’s focus is on critical thinking. It rigorously asks why about common assumptions and disputed philosophical beliefs and develops skills to evaluate answers rigorously. Skills for evaluating abstract theories and explanations are applied to practical issues of the day with an emphasis on ethics, social justice, racial identity and racial injustice, questions about religious diversity, and knowledge claims from all fields and practices.

Above all, an emphasis is placed on developing the ability to clearly and persuasively communicate and argue positions on controversial and debated issues. These skills are relevant and valuable for studying any subject matter and for engaging profound issues of personal concern.

Major Course of Study Requirements

The major requires 32 semester hours in philosophy plus six hours of cognate electives, which are philosophically relevant courses in other disciplines.

There are four required courses in philosophy: HPHI 202 Critical Thinking, HPHI 310 Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, HPHI 311 Modern Philosophy, and HPHI 312 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. Students are encouraged to enter this history of philosophy sequence as soon as they declare the major since these courses are offered in rotation. The speech requirement for the major may be met with one of the following courses: HCOM 253 Public Speaking, HCOM 353 Interpersonal Communication, HCOM 360 Interracial Communication, HCOM 354 Intercultural Communication, HCOM 355 Argumentation and Debate.

In addition to course requirements, philosophy majors are required to write a research paper during their senior year under the direction of an instructor and according to the program’s regulations.