Learning Goals

Students who major in philosophy can expect to achieve the following learning goals:

  • They will have read some of the major texts written by many of the historically most important philosophers. For example Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Averroes, Aquinas, Hobbes, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant and others.
  • They will have read some of the very best contemporary philosophical writing. For example books and articles written by:
    • Patricia Churchland
    • Jerry Fodor
    • Harry Frankfurt
    • Carl Hempel
    • David Lewis
    • Thomas Nagel
    • Robert Nozick
    • Derek Parfit
    • Jesse Prinz
    • John Rawls
    • T.M. Scanlon
    • Elliott Sober
    • Michael Walzer
    • Bernard Williams
    • Nancy Cartwright
  • They will have mastered the fundamentals of modern formal logic.
  • They will have discussed and analyzed the positions taken in classic and contemporary texts on most of the centrally important philosophical questions. For example:
    • The existence and nature of God
    • Freedom and responsibility
    • The possibility of knowledge
    • The nature of scientific explanation
    • The foundation of morality: absolute or relative, objective or subjective
    • The obligation to obey the law
    • The nature and possibility of a just society
    • The relation of mind and body
    • The nature of human consciousness
  • They will have written many brief essays exploring and developing their own views on those questions and they will have written many longer essays in which they will have attempted to defend their own views in light of the philosophically important alternatives.
  • As a result, their abilities to read difficult texts, to analyze and clarify the arguments in those texts, to explore and defend their views in short and long form writing will have improved. And their understanding of the complexities involved in taking a responsible stand in relation to the questions that have defined the philosophical tradition for millennia will have deepened.