Bachelors (BA) in Philosophy

Overview

The philosophy major offers a 39-40-semester-hour course of study that is designed to prepare students to think well and communicate clearly. A classic liberal arts major, philosophy prepares students for a wide variety of options in graduate school, including history, law, law enforcement, literature, philosophy and theology. Skills in critical thinking and clear communication also prepare students well for careers in business and industry. Most important, philosophical skills are central to the active life of the mind. Students are required to obtain a minimum grade of C- in all courses taken for the major. A minimum of 21 semester hours must be upper-division courses.

Degree Outcomes

Graduates with a BA in philosophy will:

  • Understand important concepts, theories and skills of philosophy and describe how they interact with the content of disciplines outside of philosophy
  • Demonstrate effective writing skills in philosophical essays and in on-the-job internship situations
  • Apply critical skills from the philosophy curriculum to make decisions and solve problems
  • Analyze, evaluate and integrate ideas from a variety of sources both in written essays and speech
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Major Requirements

Complete the following:

This course is designed to introduce students to what it means to think and live philosophically. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different topic through which to explore how philosophy be a tool for interpreting, understanding and interacting with the world. Not only that, we will also examine how philosophy can shape the way in which we live out our lives. Each course includes some reading of Plato and at least one other major philosophy in the tradition. Examples of different variations of this course include: "God, Freedom and Evil", "Simplicity", "Socrates and Plato", "Land and Humans", and "Virtue and Faith".
Ethics consists of an analysis of the ethical theories and systems by which persons make judgments and choices, with special attention to contemporary moral issues and the modern revival of virtue theory.
Logic involves a study of Aristotelian forms of deductive reasoning, including the syllogism, inductive reasoning, fallacies, and some aspect of symbolic logic, including Venn diagrams and truth tables. Its goal is to facilitate sound thinking that is both creative and critical.
This course seeks to overcome the opposition between spirituality and the intellectual life. We will examine ways in which spirituality can deepen and undergird the intellectual life, as well as finding ways that a reflective, deep thinking life can nurture and strengthen one¿s spirituality. We will not only examine these relationships abstractly, but will attempt to put into practice patterns of integrating mind and spirit.
What is the good life, how do we know things, if we do, and what is reality? Many proposed answers to these questions can be traced to those in the past whose thought is classified as philosophical. This course studies the trajectory of thought in the Western world from the Pre-Socratic thinkers through William of Ockham. Readings include both original sources and contemporary interpretations.
What is the good life, how do we know things, if we do, and what is reality? Many proposed answers to these questions can be traced to those in the past whose thought is classified as philosophical. This course continues to study the trajectory of thought in the Western world begun in History 1. The course begins with Ockham and continues through to current times. Readings include both original sources and contemporary interpretations.
Taken by each senior philosophy major, this course is designed to allow each student to pursue his or her chosen track (pre-law, social justice, graduate school) in greater depth. This is comprised of some common reading among the entire cohort, a practicum related to one¿s chosen track, and student-led discussion based on research done related to each person¿s chosen track. For example, a pre-med philosophy student might do a practicum at a hospital, while researching medical ethics, and leading a seminar session on that research. It is meant as a culminating course shared with all the other senior philosophy students.

Complete the following:

Colloquim courses
Offered each spring, meets every other week during Spring term, requires retreat over MLK Jr. weekend—Friday evening until Sunday noon. Includes discussion of a selected text, carefully read and evaluated over the retreat. Includes bi-weekly discussions of and preparations for practicum/field experience, GRE, and presentations of faculty research. All faculty will attend when possible. Additional course fee required.
Offered each spring, meets every other week during Spring term, requires retreat over MLK Jr. weekend—Friday evening until Sunday noon. Includes discussion of a selected text, carefully read and evaluated over the retreat. Includes bi-weekly discussions of and preparations for practicum/field experience, GRE, and presentations of faculty research. All faculty will attend when possible. Additional course fee required.
Offered each spring, meets every other week during Spring term, requires retreat over MLK Jr. weekend—Friday evening until Sunday noon. Includes discussion of a selected text, carefully read and evaluated over the retreat. Includes bi-weekly discussions of and preparations for practicum/field experience, GRE, and presentations of faculty research. All faculty will attend when possible. Additional course fee required.

Choose one of the following:

This course gives students the opportunity to explore the work of a particular contemporary philosopher in depth. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation picks a different philosopher for careful reading and criticism. Students are encouraged to incorporate insights gained from such study into their own beliefs and manner of life. May be repeated for credit under different topics. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing as a philosophy major, or permission of the instructor.
This course examines a chosen philosophical problem by comparing the contributions of several contemporary influential thinkers who have addressed it. There are a number of different variations of this course. Each variation focuses on a different persistent philosophical topic (sometimes called ¿perennial questions¿ in philosophy). Students are expected to incorporate critical reflection on the chosen topic into their own beliefs and manner of life. Students may repeat the course, for credit, with a different subtitle. Prerequisite: Junior or Senior standing as a philosophy major, or permission of the instructor.

Specialization Tracks (12-13 hours) - choose one

Students must choose one of the specializations below and take the courses associated with it. Possible electives to meet the total 12-13 semester hours are listed below the tracks.

Complete the following:

This course addresses the scientific concepts, practices, and motivations underlying natural resource availability and human resource use and management. Content will be delivered through lectures, activities, discussions and research projects and will emphasize an ecological understanding of resource cycling and human-environmental interactions, highlighting the mechanisms underlying current environmental problems and the role of Christian communities in addressing these problems. Three lectures and one laboratory per week.
This course seeks to develop an understanding of how humans are affected by their relation to the land and how land is affected by humans. We will examine how this relationship between humans and land affects who we are, how we know, and how we live ethical lives. We will examine this at a theoretical level, but also at the practical level of where we live, how we live, what we eat, and how we engage our local and global economies.

Complete the following:

An introduction to philosophical issues in the arts, such as art and morality, the nature of creativity, aesthetics, and the relation of the arts to worldviews.
This course explores questions crucial to the virtue tradition: What is a good life? What are virtues? How do virtues contribute to a good life? What is the role of natural law and divine commands in understanding virtues? How does the study of moral philosophy contribute to living well? This course in ethical theory examines the history of the virtue tradition as represented by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume and Kant as well as the tradition¿s revival by contemporary philosophers, including Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics.

Complete the following:

A study of great political thinkers and issues from Socrates to the present. Students are encouraged to understand and evaluate these thinkers in their historical contexts, and to consider them as philosophers whose insights are relevant for contemporary debates. (Identical to HIST 280 and PHIL 280.)
What is the nature of religion? Is there a God? What evidence is there for the existence of God? What role does reason play in faith? Does the existence of evil rule out God's existence? What is religious experience? Does it provide grounds for rational religious belief? This course is a general introduction to the philosophy of religion and some of the problems falling under that title.
A general study of the role of law and the legal profession in American life, and a survey of the major topics addressed by the law. Attention also is given to the values promoted by our legal system and the Christian's interaction with it.

Complete the following:

What is the nature of religion? Is there a God? What evidence is there for the existence of God? What role does reason play in faith? Does the existence of evil rule out God's existence? What is religious experience? Does it provide grounds for rational religious belief? This course is a general introduction to the philosophy of religion and some of the problems falling under that title.

Choose one of the following:

A course in which a variety of moral topics and issues are taken up and considered in some detail. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics
This course explores questions crucial to the virtue tradition: What is a good life? What are virtues? How do virtues contribute to a good life? What is the role of natural law and divine commands in understanding virtues? How does the study of moral philosophy contribute to living well? This course in ethical theory examines the history of the virtue tradition as represented by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume and Kant as well as the tradition¿s revival by contemporary philosophers, including Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics.

Choose one of the following:

A study of principles, structure, bonding, reactions, and energy as related to carbon chemistry. The laboratory stresses materials, equipment, and skills in synthesis, purification, and identification of representative groups of organic compounds. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisites: CHEM 211 General Chemistry I and CHEM 212 General Chemistry II.
Mechanics, thermodynamics, electricity and magnetism, wave motion and optics, and modern physics, using algebraic methods for analysis. Three lectures and one lab per week. Additional course fee is required. Prerequisite: MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics.
The class is a study of limits limits of functions, applications of derivatives, and an introduction to integration. Prerequisite: MATH 190 Precalculus Mathematics or equivalent.

Complete the following:

Complete the following:

A study of classic and contemporary defenses of the Christian faith, including theistic/atheistic arguments, postmodern assessments of religious belief, issues surrounding the doctrine of the resurrection, the miraculous and religious diversity.
As an introduction to Christian theology, this course considers the basic doctrines of the Christian faith and their application to contemporary living.

Choose one of the following:

A course in which a variety of moral topics and issues are taken up and considered in some detail. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics
This course explores questions crucial to the virtue tradition: What is a good life? What are virtues? How do virtues contribute to a good life? What is the role of natural law and divine commands in understanding virtues? How does the study of moral philosophy contribute to living well? This course in ethical theory examines the history of the virtue tradition as represented by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume and Kant as well as the tradition¿s revival by contemporary philosophers, including Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics.

Complete the following:

Choose one of the following:

A course in which a variety of moral topics and issues are taken up and considered in some detail. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics
This course explores questions crucial to the virtue tradition: What is a good life? What are virtues? How do virtues contribute to a good life? What is the role of natural law and divine commands in understanding virtues? How does the study of moral philosophy contribute to living well? This course in ethical theory examines the history of the virtue tradition as represented by philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Hume and Kant as well as the tradition¿s revival by contemporary philosophers, including Alasdair MacIntyre and Robert Adams. Prerequisite: PHIL 180 Ethics.

Choose one of the following:

Comprised of a survey of feminist theory plus detailed readings of several feminist works in philosophy, with attention to feminist theological thought.
This course seeks to develop an understanding of how humans are affected by their relation to the land and how land is affected by humans. We will examine how this relationship between humans and land affects who we are, how we know, and how we live ethical lives. We will examine this at a theoretical level, but also at the practical level of where we live, how we live, what we eat, and how we engage our local and global economies.
A critical study of major social philosophers from Comte to the present. Required for sociology majors. (Identical to SOCI 373) Prerequisite: SOCI 150 Principles of Sociology or PHIL 150 Introduction to Philosophy.
This course is designed expose students to the ways that gender theory, including feminism, womanism, anti-sexism, and masculinism, has developed over the years, and how that theory is applied to literature.

Choose one of the following:

Focusing centrally on Jesus' teachings about peacemaking, this course deals with the biblical treatment of peacemaking, including the prophetic and apocalyptic visions of the kingdom, and the interpretations of these teachings by the early church. Attention also will be given to what it means to work for peace in today's world, as co-laborers with Christ. Prerequisite: BIBL 100 Bible Survey or BIBL 102 Literature of the New Testament.
A study of great political thinkers and issues from Socrates to the present. Students are encouraged to understand and evaluate these thinkers in their historical contexts, and to consider them as philosophers whose insights are relevant for contemporary debates. (Identical to HIST 280 and PHIL 280.)
A survey of the major developments in U.S. political theory from the Puritans to the present. The relationship between Christianity and American political theory is given special attention. (Identical to HIST 300 and PHIL 300.)

Complete the following:

PHIL 475 Field Experience  3 hours required in an appropriate social service setting.

Complete the following:

Coursework determined in consultation with department.  12 hours required

The track must include a methodology course and an upper-division content course.