Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor Vogt, Chair; Professor Brown, Charles A. Dana Professor Hyland, Brownell Professor Lloyd∙, and Professor Wade; Associate Professors Marcano and Ryan; Assistant Professors Ewegen and Theurer; Affiliated with the Philosophy Department: Professor Smith
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 and life.
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. (Note: the senior thesis does not count toward the required four upper-level courses.) They must also achieve a departmental average (based on all philosophy courses taken) of at least A-.
For more details on the department’s faculty, requirements, and sources, visit our Web site at www.trincoll.edu/Academics/MajorsAndMinors/Philosophy/.
The departmental offerings are divided into five categories:
The Writing Intensive Part II requirement is fulfilled by one of the following courses: PHIL 281, 283, or 288.
Cognate courses—A 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 especially recommended.
A student 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.
Equally 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 take those.
We require 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.
Study away—The 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 offerings.