Courses of Study 2019-2020 
    Sep 22, 2023  
Courses of Study 2019-2020 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


In the College of Arts and Sciences .

Course Offerings  

The study of philosophy provides students with an opportunity to become familiar with some of the ideas and texts in the history of thought while developing analytical skills that are valuable in practical as well as academic affairs. It affords the excitement and satisfaction that come from understanding and working toward solutions of intellectual problems. The curriculum includes offerings in the history of philosophy, logic, philosophy of science, ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, and theory of knowledge. Any philosophy course numbered in the 1000s or 2000s is suitable for beginning study in the field. Sections of PHIL 1110 , PHIL 1111 , and PHIL 1112  are part of the first-year writing seminar program; they are taught by various members of the staff on a variety of philosophical topics, and because of their small size (17 students at most) they provide ample opportunity for discussion. Students who want a broad introduction to philosophy may take PHIL 1100 , but many students with special interests may find that the best introduction to philosophy is a 2000-level course in some particular area of philosophy; such courses have no prerequisites and are usually open to first-year students.



T. Brennan, interim chair; H. Hodes, director of undergraduate studies; R. Kamtekar, director of graduate studies; E. Atiq, C. Brittain, A. Kocurek, M. Kosch, S. MacDonald, K. Manne, J. Markovits, A. Marmor, R. Miller, S. Nichols, D. Pereboom, N. Silins, W. Starr. Emeritus: R. Boyd, G. Fine, C. A. Ginet, T. Irwin, S. Shoemaker, N. Sturgeon

The Major

Students expecting to major in philosophy should begin their study of it in their freshman or sophomore year. Admission to the major is granted by the director of undergraduate studies of the department on the basis of a student’s work during the first two years. Normally the student must have completed two philosophy courses with grades of B or better.

Requirements for the major

A minimum of eight philosophy courses taken for a letter grade


  • at least one course on ancient philosophy (PHIL 2200 , or a course with a large component on Plato or Aristotle)
  • at least one course on the history of modern philosophy before 1900 (e.g., PHIL 2220  or a course with a large component on some figure(s) in the history of philosophy before 1900)
  • a minimum of six philosophy courses numbered 2000 or above
  • a minimum of three philosophy courses numbered above 3000

Important note: the eight courses satisfying the major may NOT include:

In addition:

  • Students must take at least 8 credits of course work in philosophy or related subjects, approved by the student’s major advisor if not offered by the Philosophy Department.
  • A grade of B- or better is required for any course to count toward satisfaction of major requirements.
  • A course in formal logic (e.g., PHIL 2310 ), while not required, is especially recommended for majors or prospective majors.

The Minor

The Philosophy minor is designed for students who would like to formally pursue focused studies in Philosophy, receiving recognition for this work, along with their major in another field.

Admission to the minor is based on a student’s work in Philosophy; students would be expected to have completed two philosophy courses with grades of B or better prior to applying.

A minimum of five philosophy courses taken for a letter grade (B- or better)


  • no more than one course numbered below 2000
  • at least two must be numbered above 3000
  • at least one must be in the history of philosophy before 1900, including study of ancient or modern philosophy before 1900
  • no more than one semester of First-Year Writing Seminar (PHIL 1110, PHIL 1111, PHIL 1112) will be accepted.

Important note: PHIL courses numbered 1900-1999, 4900, 4901 (or any courses with the digit “9” in the second place) will NOT be accepted for the minor.

For more information or to apply, email


Majors in philosophy may choose to pursue honors in their senior year. A candidate for honors in philosophy has an average of B– or better for all work in the College of Arts and Sciences and an average of B+ or better for all work in philosophy. In either or both semesters of the senior year a candidate for honors enrolls in PHIL 4900  -PHIL 4901  and undertakes research leading to the writing of an honors essay by the end of the final semester. Honors students normally need to take PHIL 4900  -PHIL 4901  both semesters of their senior year to write a satisfactory honors essay. Prospective candidates should apply at the Department of Philosophy office, 218 Goldwin Smith Hall.

First-Year Writing Seminars

Consult the John S. Knight Institute for course times, instructors, and descriptions.