BA MAJOR & MINOR

What You’ll Study

To have an appreciation of philosophy is to understand the ambiguity and complexity at the very deepest foundations of our greatest institutions — language, nations, religions, science — even down to our very understanding of reality itself. These things all rest on assumptions about what is valuable, what is true, and what is real — issues that have always been up for grabs to the people with the most charisma, the strongest evidence, or the power of arms. At its highest, philosophy is about changing the world.

On the personal level, appreciating philosophy gives you the perspective to appreciate the work of others and to appropriately criticize your own. It gives you the power to think critically and to make strong, influential arguments.

Our Philosophy major explores a wide range of philosophical interests, with the most emphasis placed on modern through contemporary thought in the Western tradition. Our aim is to give you the tools for a well-examined life, fruitful career, and success in graduate studies, if you choose that path.

As a Philosophy major, you’ll receive a solid background in the Western philosophical tradition, and be able to choose elective courses such as:

  • Existentialism & Phenomenology
  • Contemporary Philosophy
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Eastern Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Art and Politics
  • Philosophy of Technology

Explore Classes in This Program

PHI 2890

Multiculturalism & the Politics of Identity

In this course, you’ll explore a broad range of issues concerning identity and multiculturalism relevant to the field of political philosophy. These topics include core questions about what constitutes individual and collective identity as well as a number of specific questions about the status of identity forms with respect to legal rights, social customs, and cultural recognition.

PHI 4710

Capstone Seminar in Philosophy

This course is a capstone for the Philosophy major. The first half focuses on advanced primary texts and secondary sources in a topic or historical movement, with the goal of refining your researching, writing, and oral argumentation skills at the highest undergraduate level. Possible themes include Philosophy of Language, Contemporary Continental Philosophy, American Philosophy, Analytic Philosophy, and Epistemology. In the second half of the course, you’ll research, craft, and polish your capstone thesis on philosophical material related to the theme of the course. You’ll present your research and arguments to the campus community at the Capstone Carnival in the spring.

PHI 2520

Environmental Ethics

The central focus of this course is to encourage you to develop an understanding of the relationship between humans and the non-human entities of the natural world. The course explores the major Western approaches to environmental ethics and the central issues of the ethical status of plants and animals, the holism/individualism debate and the meaning of sustainability. We’ll explore the Land Ethic, Deep Ecology, Ecofeminism and some Eastern approaches as well. Our approach will include diverse perspectives in terms of gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

Meet Our Faculty

I love the inquisitiveness of the students at Wilson - it makes fun work of our investigations and discussions of philosophical texts.

Sally Fischer, Ph.D.
Sally Fischer
Sally Fischer, Ph.D.
Jay Miller

We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.

John Dewey
Jay Miller
Jay Miller, Ph.D.
Sally Fischer