College of Arts and Sciences
Degree BA, Philosophy
Department Chair Melanie Shepherd, PhD
Mark Painter, Professor of Philosophy, BA Evergreen State College; MA University of North Texas; PhD University of Missouri
George William Shea, IV, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BS Towson University; MA Georgia State University; PhD Duquesne University
Kriszta Sajber, Visiting Assistant Professor of Philosophy, BA Reed College; MA, PhD The State University of New York Stony Brook
Melanie Shepherd, Associate Professor of Philosophy, BA Hanover College, PhD The Pennsylvania State University
Matthew L. Swanson, Associate Professor of Philosophy, BA, MA, PhD University of Missouri
This program presents philosophy as an integral life activity growing out of a deep and passionate concern with life and its meaning and the recognition that the traumatic changes that mark an age and affect all people involve philosophical issues. In its academic mode, philosophy is noted for cultivating those dispositions and aptitudes requisite for critical thinking and sound judgment. In this function, it provides the strongest preparation for rational living and intelligent participation in contemporary discussions about issues such as freedom, justice, personal authenticity, morality, and political legitimacy.
Philosophy majors must maintain a 2.00 (C grade) average overall and in the major. They are required to complete 24 credits in philosophy beyond the six credits that satisfy core requirements: PHL 206 Logic , two 300-level historical courses (from PHL 320 , PHL 330 , PHL 340 and PHL 350 ), a 400-level seminar (from PHL 411 , PHL 412 , and PHL 413 ), PHL 490 Capstone , and three additional courses, of which one must be 300-level or higher.
A large number of free electives allows students flexibility in personalizing their studies. Majors can, with approval of their advisors, either select from various minors and areas of concentration, pursue double majors, or select clusters of advanced courses from different disciplines in pursuit of more integrated understanding.
Program Goals and Outcomes
Students majoring in Philosophy will:
- Develop and apply the skills necessary to critically analyze philosophical and ethical arguments.
- Develop and apply the skills necessary to effectively write about philosophical arguments.
- Understand the main historical figures and movements in philosophy.
- Develop the ability to deal responsibly with social and political issues.
- Develop the ability to appreciate the cultural contexts of philosophical ideas.
- Develop the skills necessary to speak publically about philosophical ideas in a clear, responsive, articulate manner with respect for divergent opinions.
The Philosophy major program goals are realized in the following student learning outcomes:
- Students will critically analyze philosophical and ethical arguments in terms of content, logical structure and reasoning.
- Students will be able to write a coherent philosophical argument.
- Students will demonstrate a comprehensive and clear understanding of the main historical figures and movements in philosophy.
- Students will value the cultural, social, and political contexts of philosophical ideas in written and oral presentations and discussions.
- Students will speak publically about philosophical ideas in a clear, responsive, articulate manner with respect for divergent opinions.
The pre-law specialization was developed in accordance with the Association of American Law Schools, which recommends that prospective law students have a broad liberal arts background. The program represents sound preparation for the Law School Admission Test and the graduate study of law.
The program has been carefully designed to develop ability in expression and analytical comprehension, to afford basic information about human institutions and values, and to cultivate the ability to think creatively and critically with thoroughness and independence.
Pre-law students must fulfill the general and specific requirements of the university and of the philosophy major for retention in the program and for recommendation to law school.
Pre-law students should register with the pre-law director, Brian F. Carso, JD, PhD, who can provide advice on course selection and information concerning the Law School Admission Test (LSAT) and law schools.