Philosophy

At RWU, our Philosophy students learn to think critically and build logical arguments: about our assumptions and values as a society, about the positions of history’s major philosophers and about the nature of knowledge itself. The writing, reading and problem-solving skills you develop through discussions, debates and your senior thesis will lay a foundation for success in fields like law and academia.

The Philosophy Major

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The philosophy major develops skills in careful reading, critical thinking, and clear, effective writing which enable the student to engage in the activity of philosophy. This program introduces students to the discipline, acquaints them with the world’s major philosophic figures and the problems with which they wrestled, and encourages majors to pursue their own avenues of philosophic inquiry. Each student’s program culminates with a senior thesis which demonstrates the student’s ability to analyze and critically evaluate an important philosophical issue.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS

Majors pursuing the Bachelor of Arts in philosophy must satisfy University Core Curriculum requirements and the College speech requirement, COMM 210. In addition, philosophy majors must successfully complete the 12 courses listed below and a sufficient number of electives to total 120 credits. Majors are encouraged to apply electives toward a minor or second major.
 
PHIL200Ethics 
PHIL205Logic 
PHIL251Ancient Philosophy 
PHIL253Modern Philosophy 
PHIL310Special Studies in Philosophy 
PHIL333Epistemology 
PHIL366Metaphysics 
PHIL480Senior Seminar I 
PHIL481Senior Seminar II 
and three Philosophy electives

The Philosophy Minor

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PHIL200Ethics 
PHIL205Logic 
PHIL251Ancient Philosophy 
PHIL253Modern Philosophy 
PHIL333Epistemology 
or
PHIL366Metaphysics 
One Philosophy elective

Student Learning Outcomes

All Students completing the Philosophy program will demonstrate the following:

  1. Read with comprehension philosophical texts relevant to the specific courses;
  2. Define key terms of the philosophical vocabulary relevant to the particular course;
  3. Analyze texts, draw inferences, and support claims using internal evidence;
  4. Practice critical reading and thinking;
  5. Distinguish different areas of philosophy and philosophical methodology;
  6. Understand some of the diverse assumptions and values that shape our experiences and/or attitudes of the world;
  7. Write cogent analytical and critical essays tied to textual evidence, explaining a philosopher’s position, presenting the philosopher’s arguments, exposing weaknesses in the arguments; five pages for lower level and intermediate courses; ten pages for advanced courses.
  8. Use secondary sources appropriately in reinforcing and extending arguments.

These outcomes while not specifically enumerated in the course catalog, are realized and achieved through the course requirements in the major as listed on pages 189‐190 of the University Catalog (2011‐2012). The first two are key outcomes for the gateway course, Introduction to Philosophy. The third outcome is derived from the goals of the Phil 103, Logic. The fourth and fifth outcomes are the focus of Phil 203 through Phil 401‐the topic/theme specific courses. Eight of those courses are required for the major. The last two outcomes are the focus of the two‐semester senior seminar.

A headshot of Virgina Albert

Passion and Drive

Virgina Albert, RWU Class of 2017 Philosophy

Recent graduate Virgina Albert, like many RWU students, shows great passion for working on community issues and using her education to positively impact the lives of individuals and families.

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