Professor Barbara Fultner, Chair
Professors Anthony J. Lisska; Steven Vogel; Associate Professor Mark Moller (Dean of First Year Students); Assistant Professor Sam Cowling; Visiting Assistant Professors Jonathan Maskit, John McHugh
Departmental Guidelines and Goals
To do philosophy is to encounter some of the most fundamental questions that can be asked about human existence. Philosophical investigation leads students to recognize the otherwise unnoticed assumptions that underpin even our most ordinary ways of interacting with other persons and engaging in human projects. Such assumptions concern, for example, the nature of human knowledge, action, and value. Philosophy challenges students to move beyond uncritical patterns of thought, to recognize problems, and to exchange a more naive worldview for a more considered and justifiable one. In doing so, students learn to think in ways that are simultaneously disciplined and imaginative. Philosophy Department faculty members cooperatively approach these concerns from diverse perspectives, both in studying the works of major philosophers and in their own creative activity. Students are encouraged to join with the faculty in this inquiry and to philosophize creatively on their own. The courses and seminars in the Department are intended to develop the abilities necessary for these activities.
Typically students without previous experience with philosophy will enroll in Philosophy 101 (Introduction to Philosophy) or else in Philosophy 121 (Ethics) or 126 (Social and Political Philosophy). Students who wish to continue in Philosophy and perhaps to major or minor in it will then usually take Philosophy 200 (Philosophical Studies) as their second course. Philosophy 200 is also available, with the instructor’s consent, for students with a special interest in philosophy who have not taken any previous college-level course in the field.
A major in Philosophy requires ten courses selected in consultation with the major advisor. The ten courses must include Philosophy 200, Philosophy 231, Philosophy 232, and at least three courses numbered 300 or higher, of which at least one must be a Junior/Senior Seminar (Philosophy 431/2). Only one semester of Senior Research (Philosophy 451/452) may count as a 300 level course, and Directed Study (Philosophy 361/362) may only count as a 300 level course with the consent of the Department. No more than three courses numbered below 200 may count toward the major. In addition, all majors must participate in and pass the Senior Symposium in their senior year.
The Philosophy Department welcomes double majors and self-designed majors, and is experienced in helping students integrate Philosophy with work in other disciplines. To avoid possible scheduling problems, a student considering a major in Philosophy (or one which includes Philosophy) should consult the Department early in his or her college career.
The Philosophy Department participates in the interdepartmental major in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.
Philosophy, by its very nature, is ideally suited to assist a student in integrating and articulating knowledge gained in other areas. For this reason we attempt to tailor a student’s minor program in philosophy around the specific course of studies he or she is pursuing in his or her major subject. This means that our minor program places a premium upon departmental advising.
Each Philosophy minor is required to choose a department member as his or her Philosophy advisor. The Philosophy advisor will not replace the student’s primary academic advisor. However, the Philosophy advisor will have responsibility for guiding the student in designing the minor program in Philosophy. A minor in Philosophy requires five courses in the department. Among these courses must be Philosophy 200 and one course numbered 300 or higher.
Additional Points of Interest
Additional information about Philosophy courses and a course guide with more detailed descriptions of current courses may be obtained from the Philosophy Department, and is available on the department’s website.
The Titus-Hepp Lecture Series Each year the department sponsors a colloquium series, bringing to campus nationally and internationally known philosophers who present papers and meet with students and faculty. Recent visitors have included Hubert Dreyfus (Berkeley), Ruth Millikan (Connecticut), Peter Singer (Princeton), Martha Nussbaum (Chicago), Virginia Held (CUNY), Anthony Kenny (Oxford), Tyler Burge (UCLA), J. Baird Callicott (North Texas), Geoffrey Sayre-McCord (UNC Chapel Hill), Charles Mills (CUNY Graduate Center) and others.
Other Philosophy Activities The Philosophy Department annually publishes a national undergraduate philosophy journal, Episteme. This journal is edited and produced by philosophy majors and minors in consultation with a faculty advisor. Episteme encourages and receives submissions from undergraduate philosophy students throughout the country and internationally. In addition, philosophy students organize Philosophy Coffees, informal discussions of philosophical topics, about three times each semester. Special coffees are held annually for parents during Big Red Weekend, and during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration.