Specialization in Philosophy

The Specialization in Philosophy provides students with an overview of the history of philosophy and ethics. Through this specialization, students sharpen their critical thinking and argumentative skills, while gaining insight into the history of ideas on issues from politics and morality to the meaning of life. The 15 credit specialization requires that students take Introduction to Philosophy and Ethics, along with three other courses of their choice from the philosophy curriculum. Given the focus of the STU department on applied ethics, students will leave with a particular ability to engage in sophisticated ethical reasoning.

Career Opportunities

It is not for naught that philosophy majors score higher than any other Humanities major on the LSAT (the law school entrance exam), GMAT (the business school entrance exam), and the GRE (the standard graduate school entrance exam). The critical thinking and communication skills learned in the discipline of philosophy provide an excellent basis for professional success in areas as diverse as Law or Business, Media or the Arts. In a world where technologies and careers change as quickly as new aps are developed, the skills of philosophy continue to pay off since they allow application amidst shifting contexts.

Curriculum (Course Sampling)

This course introduces students to basic ideas of critical thinking and elementary logic, including informal fallacies and the structure of deductive and inductive arguments.

Introduction to Philosophy
This course introduces students to the discipline of philosophy through the examination of key figures in its history and philosophical theories about basic questions in philosophy. Among other things, this addresses questions about what humans can know (epistemology), about ultimate reality (metaphysics), and about what humans should do (ethics).

Classically, the field of ethics is divided into (1) metaethics, which concerns the study and meaning of the origin of ethics, (2) normative ethics, which concerns the specific views proposed for determining the rightness and wrongness of action or ethical goodness, and (3) applied ethics, which looks at ethics applied to specific domains and questions. In this course, students will be introduced to all of these areas of ethics and become familiar with main views in Catholic ethics.

PHI 321 Contemporary Philosophy
After a brief survey of Kant and Hegel, this course will focus on the development and main trends of contemporary Western philosophy since the mid-19th century in areas from metaphysics, epistemology, and aesthetics, to ethics and political philosophy.

PHI 340 Survey of Political Philosophy
This course provides an historical introduction to the discipline of philosophy particularly as relevant to questions of politics and governance. It explores a set of interrelated questions about political philosophy such as: What legitimizes the exercise of state power? How much state power is legitimate? What are the rightful aims of the state? What does justice require of individuals and of states?