Philosophy Major/Minor

There’s nothing that trains the mind like studying the major themes of human existence and knowledge that philosophers have grappled with for centuries.

The philosophy major provides a comprehensive survey of the major figures and themes in the history of philosophy and opportunities to explore specific topics in depth. Students grow in their ability to reason logically, problem-solve, and clearly explain their ideas.

Career Options

A background in philosophy is an excellent preparation for a variety of career and vocational pursuits, including teaching/education, theology, law, different forms of Christian ministry/service, publishing, writing and editing, and healthcare.

High School Preparation

High school courses that will provide good preparation for the philosophy major include Comparative Government and Politics, English Literature, European and World History, Computer Science, Philosophy, and Trigonometry.

Enhance Your Experience

Students majoring in philosophy sometimes pursue a second major or minor in subjects such as mathematics, psychology, English, history, or the multidisciplinary medieval and renaissance studies minor.

Philosophy Minor

Philosophy minors find it supplements most any major in the liberal arts. A minor in philosophy will provide foundational problem-solving and communication skills helpful to any student's post-graduate career. 

Degree Requirements

A. All of the following:

PH102 Logic (3 cr.)

This course presents an introduction to contemporary symbolic logic as well as to traditional deductive and inductive logic.

PH253 History of Ancient Philosophy: Thales – Aristotle (4 cr.)

This course, the first of four sequential courses in the history of philosophy, is a survey of Greek philosophy from its origins in the thought of Presocratic poets and philosophers to its later development in the dialogues of Plato and writings of Aristotle. Through the close reading of primary sources in their historical context and through a wide variety of other exercises, students gain an appreciation for the major texts, themes and problems that have shaped the Western philosophical tradition. Students also begin to develop a facility with the various tools and terms with which philosophers in the Western tradition have worked.

PH300 Moral Theory (3 cr.)

The course begins with a thorough examination of the foundations of natural law ethics and consequentialist ethics. The instructor links those theories of morality with explicit assumptions regarding human nature. Central texts in the course are Saint Thomas Aquinas' Prima Secundae and John Stewart Mill's Utilitarianism.

PH354 History of Medieval Philosophy: Augustine – Ockham (4 cr.)

In this course, the second of four history of philosophy courses, students study the development of philosophy in the Middle Ages through its contact with Christianity. The goals of this course are to examine the following themes and philosophical problems: the relation of faith and reason, spirituality and philosophy; human knowledge and contemporary theories of art, an examination of selected figures and movements in art history, and an analysis of the vital interrelationship between the two disciplines of philosophy and art.

PH355 History of Modern Philosophy: Bacon – Hegel (4 cr.)

In this course, the third of four history of philosophy courses, students study the major philosophical movements of the early modern period beginning with the rise of inductive natural science. Students then examine rationalism, empiricism, Kant's critical philosophy, and Hegel. The central epistemological theme of the course reflects the modern conviction that before other sciences may be studied with profit, the possibility and modes of human knowledge must be determined.

PH358 History of 19th and 20th Century Philosophy: Kierkegaard – Wittgenstein (4 cr.)

This course, the fourth of four history of philosophy courses, is an examination of the post-Kantian philosophy focusing on selected major movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as idealism, phenomenology, existentialism, and British analytic and ordinary language philosophy. Readings may include Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, James, Foucault, Wittgenstein, MacIntyre, and John Paul II, among others.

PH400 Metaphysics (3 cr.)

This course examines critically the classic and contemporary concepts of being-in-the-world, its causes, its effects, and its modalities and relations.

PH402 Senior Thesis (3 cr.)

This course is taken in the second semester of the senior year and is an opportunity to work closely with a faculty member in the philosophy department on a written thesis.

B. Three additional philosophy courses.

PH345 Philosophy of the Person (3 cr.)

e human person (e.g., the Platonic, the Aristotelian–Thomistic, the Judeo–Christian, the Hobbesian and that of other modern thinkers). It considers such fundamental issues as the existence and nature of the human soul; whether human beings are innately good, innately evil, both or neither; in what sense, if any, human beings are rational; and the nature and basis of human freedom.

A. The following course:

PH102 Logic (3 cr.)

This course presents an introduction to contemporary symbolic logic as well as to traditional deductive and inductive logic.

B. Five additional philosophy courses

Five additional philosophy courses chosen by the student in consultation with a member of the philosophy department, of which one of the following is strongly recommended:

PH253 History of Ancient Philosophy: Thales – Aristotle (4 cr.)

This course, the first of four sequential courses in the history of philosophy, is a survey of Greek philosophy from its origins in the thought of Presocratic poets and philosophers to its later development in the dialogues of Plato and writings of Aristotle. Through the close reading of primary sources in their historical context and through a wide variety of other exercises, students gain an appreciation for the major texts, themes and problems that have shaped the Western philosophical tradition. Students also begin to develop a facility with the various tools and terms with which philosophers in the Western tradition have worked.

PH358 History of 19th and 20th Century Philosophy: Kierkegaard – Wittgenstein (4 cr.)

This course, the fourth of four history of philosophy courses, is an examination of the post-Kantian philosophy focusing on selected major movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, such as idealism, phenomenology, existentialism, and British analytic and ordinary language philosophy. Readings may include Hegel, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, James, Foucault, Wittgenstein, MacIntyre, and John Paul II, among others.