Skip to main content

Academic Program

Beardsley Hall

The Philosophy Department offers several kinds of courses, all designed to engage students in philosophical practices:

  • There are courses and seminars to introduce students to the major systematic works of the history of Western philosophy: works by Plato and Aristotle (Ancient Philosophy); Descartes, Hume and Kant (Modern Philosophy); Hegel and Marx (Nineteenth Century Philosophy); Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger, de Beauvoir (Existentialism); Russell and Wittgenstein (Contemporary Philosophy).
  • There are courses and seminars that consider arguments and conclusions in specific areas of philosophy: Theory of Knowledge, Logic, Moral Philosophy, Metaphysics, Aesthetics, and Social and Political Philosophy.
  • There are courses and seminars concerned with the conceptual foundations of various other disciplines: Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Philosophy of Psychology, and Philosophy of Religion.
  • There are courses and seminars on meaning, freedom, and value in various domains of contemporary life: Values and Ethics in Science and Technology, Feminist Theory, and Post-Modernism.

Members of the Philosophy Department emphasize the engagement of philosophy with other disciplines and recognize that philosophical inquiry is naturally related to concerns in other areas of study. They attempt to make these relations explicit, and so course and seminars are designed to be accessible to a broad range of students, not just those who intend to major in Philosophy. Various courses and seminars in philosophy appear in concentrations in Women's Studies, German Studies, Medieval Studies, Interpretation Theory, and Environment Studies.

With prior approval from the Chair, a student may take philosophy courses abroad for a semester or year and have them count both toward a major and as part of an Honors Program. Courses abroad do not, however, always fit neatly into a philosophy major and are not always suitable for full course credit. Full consultation with the Chair about study abroad is essential for constructing a viable program.