The philosophy major---Twelve
credits in philosophy, with a grade of at least C- in each, including
at least one course that satisfies the logic requirement, three
courses in the history of philosophy, and at least four upper-level
courses are required. Normally, courses in this latter category must
be taken at Trinity. Majors are strongly urged to take
PHIL 101 at an early stage of their
philosophical development. Senior majors are also required to complete
the senior exercise, for which instructions will be provided by the
department. In order to qualify for honors, students must write a
two-semester, two-credit senior thesis, and achieve a grade of A-
or better. They must also achieve a departmental average (based on
all philosophy courses taken) of at least A-.
The minor in philosophy---As
a discipline, philosophy reflects on the nature and foundations of
every other discipline. A minor in philosophy allows students to
deepen engagement with any major. The philosophy minor consists of
six courses in philosophy with a grade of at least C- in each, of
which at least three are upper level (PHIL 280
and above). Consult with any member of the department to identify
courses that offer a sound overview of the breadth of philosophy,
as well as its application to the rest of one's academic career
details on the department's faculty, requirements, and sources,
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The departmental offerings are divided
into five categories:
- Introductory courses---These
courses have no prerequisite. There is no single or best way
to be introduced to philosophy and the department offers a
number of different introductory courses. All 100-level courses
are introductory, as are courses numbered 200 through 250. If
you are in doubt as to the best course for you, see a member of
- Courses satisfying the logic requirement---either
PHIL 205. Symbolic Logic or
PHIL 255. Philosophy of Logic (a student
may not receive credit for both).
PHIL 390. Advanced Logic also satisfies
- Courses in the history of philosophy
- 281. Ancient Philosophy
- 283. Early Modern Philosophy
- 288. Modern Philosophy
- Upper-level courses---These
courses are appropriate for students who have progressed
beyond introductory level study of philosophy.
- 282. Medieval Philosophy
- 284. Hume to the 19th Century
- 305. 20th-Century Analytic Philosophy
- 306. 20th-Century Continental Philosophy
- 307 to 339.
Major figures in philosophy: Each year the department will offer
at least one course entirely devoted to a close reading, analysis
and critique of the major work of one or more important philosophers
such as Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke,
Berkeley, Mill, Hume, Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Freud, Dewey,
Heidegger, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Adorno, and Foucault.
- 340 to
These will include other historically oriented courses on topics
such as American philosophy, metaphysics of Plato and Aristotle,
and rationalism, German idealism, and the Frankfurt School.
- 350 to
Courses in topical studies: these will include courses such as
philosophy of language or philosophy of history.
- 370 to
Seminar in philosophical problems: A study of some important
philosophical problems such as the freedom of the will, the
concept of space or time, the mind-body problem, the nature
- Individualized courses---These
courses give students an opportunity to design, in conjunction
with an adviser in the department, their own course of study.
The student should see the department chair if in doubt as to
who might be an appropriate adviser for a given topic.
- 399. Independent Study---Independent,
intensive study in a field of special interest requiring a wide
range of reading and resulting in an extended paper. Normally
there will be only a few meetings with the supervisor during
the course of the semester.
- 460. Tutorial---An in-depth study of
a topic of mutual special interest to the student and teacher.
Frequent meetings (usually weekly) will provide an opportunity
for extensive and detailed discussions.
- 466. Teaching Assistantship---Work
conducted in close consultation with the instructor of a single
course and participation in teaching that course. Duties for a
teaching assistant may include, for example, holding review
sessions, reading papers, or assisting in class work. In
addition, a paper may be required from the teaching assistant.
This course may count as one of the 11 total required for the
major, but will not count as one of the six required "upper-level"
(300 and above) courses.
- 499. Senior Thesis---A two-credit
course culminating in an extended paper to be read by two or
more members of the department. It may be organized like a
tutorial or independent study. This is a required course for
all students who wish to graduate with honors in philosophy.
In order to be eligible for this course a student must have
an A- average in the major or must successfully petition the
department for an exemption.
The Writing Intensive Part II requirement
is fulfilled by one of the following courses:
PHIL 281, 283,
good philosopher should know at least a little something about
everything. Hence any course, any job, any friendship, any bit
of recreation is valuable if you reflect on it and learn from it.
But there are some courses to which students of philosophy should
give special consideration. Philosophical work often requires
slow, painstaking reading; the study of a foreign language,
particularly Greek or Latin, is usually effective in encouraging
the habit of careful attention to a text. Students who work with
a computer language may find that this provides a similar
discipline. If the student is considering graduate study in
philosophy, then some competence in French or German is
of philosophy should have a broad understanding of modern
science. Any good science course (including the behavioral
sciences) is suitable, but courses in the natural sciences
and mathematics should be given first consideration.
important is a familiarity with the humanistic culture of the
West. Most philosophers are also scholars---they are educated
people. In order to understand them, one has to have read
widely in non-philosophical books. Hence courses in literature,
history, and the arts should be elected. We recommend that the
student find out which courses require the most reading, and
no particular non-departmental courses as part of the major.
Rather, we encourage all students who are interested in a
philosophical education to talk to one or more members of
the department about their abilities and interests. We
will then be able to recommend a course of study that will
make sense for each individual.
Philosophy Department strongly recommends study abroad as an
important contribution to a philosophical education. The
Global Learning Site in Vienna is especially recommended
for its strong philosophical, language, and human rights