Students completing the major in Philosophy should acquire knowledge of the profound questions that philosophers explore, and demonstrate that knowledge by recognizing, creatively applying and effectively using it. Specifically, graduating philosophy majors should understand:
The main outlines of contemporary philosophical terrain, including the traditional sub-disciplines or branches of philosophy and key philosophical concepts and terms from philosophical arguments or theories;
The history of philosophy as global, multi-traditional, and inter-relational—including the nature of the philosophical enterprise as essentially contested;
Key philosophical texts, varying in accord with a student’s emphasis in the program, along with relevant critical perspectives on those texts;
The distinctive differences in philosophical methods and modes of discourse, and assumptions on which philosophical theories and arguments rest.
Students who complete the major in Philosophy should be able to acquire skills, which require practice and may be demonstrated through application in a range of contexts and in a wide variety of assignments. Graduating philosophy majors should be able to:
Critically read a philosophical text, effectively employing various philosophical methodologies;
Develop a philosophical orientation on important philosophical questions;
Communicate philosophical ideas in writing, debate and oral or visual presentations, with clarity, precision, and incisiveness, in expository, narrative, analytical, and argumentative modes.
There are also dispositions which, we believe, will be developed in students who successfully complete the Philosophy major. Graduating majors in philosophy should display:
A taste for philosophical discussion and an examined life, including critical receptivity toward alternate viewpoints and arguments, with a sense of connectedness to other thinkers;
Adherence to high standards in constructing and communicating intellectual positions, rejecting specious reasoning, vacuousness, deceptive argument and other affronts to sound reasoning.