Program of Study
The Philosophy Minor provides a brief but comprehensive introduction to the study of philosophy. A sequence of courses in the history of philosophy serves as the core of the program. Students trace the emergence of Western philosophy from its origins in ancient Greece, examine the role of philosophy in shaping the modern world view, and study traditional Western and non-Western approaches to ethics. The aim of these courses is to offer an integrative approach to the study of philosophy. The basic areas of philosophy, such as ethics, metaphysics, and theory of knowledge, are presented as interconnected fields of inquiry, related to wider cultural and historical contexts. Elective courses may be chosen to extend and complete this survey of the history of philosophy, or to offer a more focused and specialized study of some area of philosophy. The minor begins with a course in logic or critical thinking, and also requires a course in theory applied to a discipline outside of philosophy, in order to demonstrate the force of philosophical thought in other academic fields.
As a complement to the student’s major field of study, the Philosophy Minor serves the following objectives:
- to introduce the student to the basic thematic areas of philosophic study (logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, etc.);
- to introduce the student to a variety of philosophical traditions, Western and non-Western;
- to foster the student’s understanding of philosophical issues related specifically to the academic disciplines, including the student’s major field of study;
- to help the student achieve greater understanding of the relations between academic fields and the importance of interdisciplinary inquiry;
- to help the student appreciate the practical applications of philosophical investigation in matters of social and personal concern;
- and overall, to enrich and broaden the student’s intellectual life.
As core values, the Philosophy Minor emphasizes the importance of critical and creative thinking, clear and coherent use of language, openness to plural approaches to problems, and the importance of multiple cultural traditions within the field of philosophy.