Are you the type who likes to question authority? Ever wonder whether the script of your life has already been written? Is an afterlife compatible with modern science?

Philosophy is a discipline having two hearts: one is to encourage reasoned and critical thinking; the other is to explore the nature of goodness and living well as humans. Thus a student of philosophy has the ability to tackle any job or career that prizes reasoned and ethical interpretative skills, as well as the ability to create text and discourse; that is, philosophy majors are highly flexible and employable.

Our department explores contemporary philosophical questions through the lens of the history of philosophy. We have broad research and teaching interests in the Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, and a variety of topics in American Pragmatism, Analytic Philosophy, and Continental Philosophy.

We are home to the Symposium of Living Philosophers - a unique undergraduate educational experience, where students have the opportunity to take a yearlong seminar on the work of one of the central figures in contemporary philosophy. Students have the opportunity to work directly with the featured philosopher, as well as with a variety of guest lecturers from universities around the country. Featured philosophers have included: Richard Rorty, Michael Walzer, John Caputo, Anthony Appiah, and Judith Butler.

Our students achieve an understanding of the central figures and texts in the history of philosophy, the four traditional theories of ethics together with an understanding of the nature of justice, and the formal techniques used to evaluate arguments. They are taught to carefully read, comprehend and compress written material, to compare and contrast a range of positions on a given topic, to defend a specific position on a topic, and to write clearly and in an organized fashion. And they develop the ability to apply philosophical positions and arguments to other academic disciplines and to matters of public interest.

Program Highlights

  • Exploration of contemporary philosophical questions through the lens of the history of philosophy.
  • Students achieve an understanding of the central figures and texts in the history of philosophy, the four traditional theories of ethics together with an understanding of the nature of justice, and the formal techniques used to evaluate arguments.
  • A focus on teaching students to carefully read, comprehend and compress written material, to compare and contrast a range of positions on a given topic, to defend a specific position on a topic and to write clearly and in an organized fashion.
  • Development of the ability to apply philosophical positions and arguments to other academic disciplines and to matters of public interest.
  • Faculty with broad research and teaching interests in the Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, a variety of topics in American Pragmatism, Analytic Philosophy, and Continental Philosophy.
  • Home to the Symposium of Living Philosophers, a unique undergraduate educational experience where students have the opportunity to take a yearlong seminar on the work of one of the central figures in contemporary philosophy. Students then work directly with the featured philosopher, as well a variety of guest lecturers from universities around the country. Featured philosophers have included: Richard Rorty, Michael Walzer, John Caputo, Anthony Appiah and Judith Butler.

Requirements for the Major (33 credits)

Choose one of the following (Only one of these may count towards the major.)

  • PHIL101 - Philosophy and the Human Being 3 credits

OR

  • PHIL103 - Reason and Argument 3 credits

AND

  • PHIL155 - Symbolic Logic 3 credits
  • PHIL210 - Ethics 3 credits
  • PHIL290 - Greek and Roman Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL294 - Early Modern Philosophy 3 credits

AND One History of Philosophy course (3 credits) from

  • PHIL342 - Medieval Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL346 - Late Modern Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL348 - Existentialism 3 credits
  • PHIL350 - Phil Influences on Theology 3 credits
  • PHIL400 - Philosophy of Language + Mind 3 credits
  • PHIL420 - Classic American Philosophy 3 credits
  • PHIL440 - Contemp Continental Philosophy 3 credits

AND

  • PHIL450 - Great Figures in Philosophy 3 credits

AND a Philosophy Seminar

  • PHIL490 - Seminar in Philosophy 3 credits

OR

  • PHIL491 - Symposium Living Philosophers 3 credits

If the student chooses the PHIL 491 Seminar, it must be taken for two semesters. The student earns three credits per semester, six total over the one year

Philosophy electives (9 credits) Electives should be chosen in consultation with departmental advisor.

Recent Graduate/Professional Schools

  • Albany Law School
  • Albany Medical School
  • MA Program in Environmental Policy, Lehigh University
  • MA Program in Philosophy, Boston College
  • MA Program in Philosophy, Colorado State University
  • Washington & Lee University School of Law
Program taught in:
  • English

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This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
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