The minor in Philosophy allows you to pursue fundamental questions about who we are, what we can know, how we should live, and what there is, as well as related foundational questions regarding a number of special topics. It aims to provide familiarity with central philosophical topics and to help you develop skills in identifying and critically evaluating arguments, thinking clearly and independently, writing analytically, and applying principles of logic and good reasoning.
No matter what your major is, you can add a Philosophy minor and get the benefits of the discipline, including insight into fundamental questions about reality, knowledge, ethics and human existence, and development of critical thinking, argumentation, writing and reading skills. These skills serve to complement your main area of study, whatever it might be.
The general Philosophy minor requires students to complete a minimum of 15 credit hours in Philosophy (5 courses). At least 9 credit hours must be at the 300 or 400 level, and at least one course needs to be taken in any three of the following areas: a) Logic, b) Ethics or Value Theory, c) History of Philosophy, d) Epistemology and Metaphysics, and e) Special topics. Two courses should be specific to one of the areas listed.
You can customize your minor to your intellectual interests in philosophy, or you can use the minor to develop skills and knowledge to help you with your future career. For example, if you are interested in ethics and critical thinking because you plan on pursuing public policy after your undergraduate career, you might take three classes in ethics, one in argumentation or special topics, and a history course that focuses on thinkers who focus on ethics, politics, and questions of the good life. Your minor might be made up of the following courses:
- To introduce yourself to philosophy:
PHIL-P 141 Introduction to Ethics
Philosophers' answers to ethical problems (e.g., the nature of good and evil, the relation of duty to self-interest, the objectivity of moral judgments), and the applications of ethical theory to contemporary problems.
- To satisfy your history of philosophy requirement:
PHIL-P 201 Ancient Greek Philosophy
Selective survey of ancient Greek philosophy (pre-Socratics, Plato, Aristotle).
- To satisfy your first ethics and value theory requirement:
PHIL-P 332 Feminism and Value
Selected topics from recent feminist philosophy, including the reassessment of classical philosophical texts, the construction of gender, perspectives on the good life, and the relation of private and public spheres.
- To satisfy your second ethics and value theory requirement:
PHIL-P 342 Problems of Ethics
May concentrate on a single large problem (e.g., whether utilitarianism is an adequate ethical theory), or several more or less independent problems (e.g., the nature of goodness, the relation of good to ought, the objectivity of moral judgments).
- To satisfy your special topics requirement:
PHIL-P 300 Philosophical Methods and Writing
Open only to students pursuing a philosophy major or minor. Provides intensive training in all aspects of writing clear, grammatical, well-argued and persuasive philosophical essays through a combination of lectures and tutorials.
PHIL-P 376 Leadership and Philosophy
Allegiance to a philosophical vision of "the right" and "the good" seems to be an important foundation for successful leadership. This course aims to study the connections between leadership and philosophy, by focusing on diverse and illuminating case studies of philosophically-informed leaders such as George Washington, Mahatma Gandhi, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.