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Philosophy & Humanities

College of Arts & Sciences

 

i think therefore i am a philosophy major

Philosophy is quite unlike any other field. It is unique both in its methods and in the nature and breadth of its subject matter. Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field of study or endeavor. No brief definition expresses the richness and variety of philosophy. It may be described in many ways. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles of conduct. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other individuals and other cultures; it enhances one's ability to perceive the relationships among the various fields of study; and it deepens one's sense of the meaning and variety of human experience. 

The purpose of Philosophy is to understand and evaluate our most basic beliefs and values and to integrate them into a coherent view of ourselves and the world through attempting to reason clearly and critically about all areas of experience--science, religion, art, politics, and morality.  The department offers courses in core areas such as ethics and political philosophy, metaphysics and epistemology, logic, and the history of philosophical thought, as well as specialized courses such as philosophy of law, philosophy of science, existentialism, bioethics, philosophy of art, philosophies of feminism, and environmental philosophy.

The Philosophy Department offers three concentrations within the philosophy major. Students may choose a traditional philosophy concentration, a religious studies concentration, or a justice, ethics, and law concentration.

Philosophy makes us more critical, it shows us that what we take for granted may be false—or only part of the truth, and it develops important abilities, including:

  • the ability to reason clearly
  • the ability to distinguish between good and bad arguments
  • the ability to think and write clearly
  • the ability to see the big picture
  • the ability to look at different views and opinions

These skills are highly prized by employers and by graduate / professional schools. They are never outdated and are broadly transferable.  Philosophy educates the whole person, developing skills that allow us to engage critically and meaningfully in personal and civic, as well as professional endeavors.

The traditional philosophy concentration offers students the opportunity to take the widest range of philosophy classes.  In addition to the history of philosophy and ethical theory, students are required to take contemporary philosophy and at least one course in logic and reasoning.  Students round out their program with philosophy electives chosen in consultation with their advisor.  The course of study culminates with the capstone senior seminar, in which students write and present a senior research paper.


Requirements:

A total of 120 credits is required for graduation. In addition to the General Education Requirements, philosophy majors must meet B.A. or B.S. degree requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences. The choice of B.A. or B.S. degree should be made in connection with a student's second major, if there is one. Students whose second major is in the humanities should choose the B.A. degree, while students with a second major in the sciences should choose the B.S. degree. A student's interest in pursuing studies in philosophy at the graduate level is also relevant to the choice of B.A. or B.S. degree. (See below.) A minor is required of all philosophy majors, except those pursuing a double major. Philosophy students should be aware that most upper-division philosophy courses, excluding those required for the major, are offered only once every other year.

A minimum of 33 credits in Philosophy are required for the major.  At least 24 of these credits must be upper division.  Religious Studies courses do not count toward the Philosophy Major, with the exception of RELI 3230.  Required coursework includes:

PHIL 3010 History of Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 3030 History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL 4017 Ethical Theory
PHIL 4950 Senior Seminar
Choice of  
     PHIL 4077 Contemporary Continental Philosophy 
     OR  
     PHIL 4087 Topics in Analytic Philosophy
Choice of  
     PHIL 2030 Practical Reasoning 
     OR  
     PHIL 3050 Symbolic Logic
Plus 15  additional credits  in Philosophy

Click here  for Philosophy Major check sheet.

A Suggested Course Sequence  for the Philosophy Major, B.A. Degree can be found here.

A Suggested Course Sequence  for the Philosophy Major, B.S. Degree can be found here.

Students interested in graduate school in Philosophy – Students who are considering graduate school in philosophy should take seriously their degree at ETSU as preparation for that course of study. The decision to pursue the study of philosophy in graduate school should ideally be made in the junior year, and faculty in the department should be notified so that they can provide advice specific to the student's area of interest. In general, graduate schools will prefer that students have received a B.A. in philosophy, have studied a language or languages relevant to the discipline, and that they have taken symbolic logic. Students interested specifically in the philosophy of science or related areas may find it beneficial to receive a B.S. degree. Excellent performance in the core courses required by the department will be expected, as well as evidence of some focus in one's area of interest in electives and extra-curricular efforts (e.g. presenting work at an undergraduate philosophy conference, participation in the philosophy club, independent work, etc.).


Transfer Students – Transfer students seeking a Philosophy Major must complete a minimum of nine hours in Philosophy at ETSU with at least a "C" average.
Graduate Study – The department offers some graduate work in philosophy. Further information on graduate programs is contained in the Graduate Catalog.

 

The study of religious thought and ideas has been a part of university education since its beginning in Europe in the 11th century. For many centuries, the focus of this endeavor was the study of theology, philosophical issues raised by theological inquiry, and the study of religious texts and the languages in which they were written. Historical inquiry and the philological study of religious texts assumed a more central role in the study of religion and university education in the Renaissance and Reformation in Europe (especially in the 15th and 16th centuries). The emergence of religious liberty, science-modeled methods of inquiry in the study of history and culture, and in-depth encounter with religious traditions in other regions of the world in the 18th and 19th centuries gave rise to religious studies as a university field alongside theology and biblical studies. Religious studies came to incorporate many of the contributions of social scientific approaches to the study of religion, along with emergent methods of inquiry that made no demands or assumptions about scholars' and students' own religious backgrounds, views, or religious identities.

The program in religious studies at ETSU is an interdisciplinary program hosted by the Philosophy Department. The program also includes faculty and courses from a broad range of departments in fields which contribute to the academic study of religions, including the departments of History, English, Anthropology & Sociology, and Appalachian Studies. The program sponsors an interdisciplinary minor in religious studies, structured to reflect broadly recognized best practices in the field appropriate in a public university.

Students in the religious studies concentration take a mix of philosophy courses and courses in religious studies.  All students take classes in the history of philosophy, ethical theory, and philosophy of religion, along with at least one class in western and non-western religions.  Students round out their program with guided electives chosen in consultation with their advisor.  The course of study culminates with the capstone senior seminar in which students write and present a senior research paper.

For more information on the Religious Studies Program, including interdisciplinary faculty and course descriptions, click here.

Requirements:

A total of 120 credits is required for graduation. In addition to the General Education Requirements, philosophy majors must meet B.A. or B.S. degree requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences. The choice of B.A. or B.S. degree should be made in connection with a student's second major, if there is one. Students whose second major is in the humanities should choose the B.A. degree, while students with a second major in the sciences should choose the B.S. degree. A student's interest in pursuing studies in philosophy at the graduate level is also relevant to the choice of B.A. or B.S. degree. (See below.) A minor is required of all philosophy majors, except those pursuing a double major. Philosophy students should be aware that most upper-division philosophy courses, excluding those required for the major, are offered only once every other year.

A minimum of 33 credits are required for the Philosophy Major with Religious Studies Emphasis, of which 24 must be upper-division.  Required coursework includes:

PHIL 3010 History of Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 3030 History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL 4017 Ethical Theory
PHIL 4047 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 4950 Senior Seminar
One 3000+ course in Western Religion
One 3000+ course in Non-western Religion
Plus 12 additional credits from PHIL, RELI, or the approved list of guided electives

Click here to print the Philosophy Major with Religious Studies Emphasis check sheet.

A Suggested Course Sequence  for the Religious Studies Concentration, B.A. Degree can be found here.

A Suggested Course Sequence  for the Religious Studies Concentration, B.S. Degree can be found here.

Many students major in philosophy with a religious studies concentration, or minor in religious studies as a way to prepare for seminary or divinity school. (The MDiv - Master of Divinity - is the standard professional degree for students preparing for a career requiring ordination to the ministry or rabbinate.) The American Association of Theological Schools advises students to major in any humanities or social science field. While previous study in the area of religious studies and philosophy is recommended, it is not required for admission to programs of professional study leading to the MDiv. RELI 3240 ("Hebrew Scriptures") and RELI 3250 ("Greek Scriptures") are relevant for students interested in the Christian and Jewish traditions. Students aiming to apply to university divinity schools, or whose interest in the study of religions is primarily academic (as opposed to vocational) are strongly advised to earn a B.A. degree with at least a minor in religious studies, including SOAA 3800 ("Religion, Society, and Culture"). It is also important to complete at least 6 hours in German, French, or in a classical language at the 3000 level.

Transfer Students - Transfer students seeking a Philosophy major must complete a minimum of nine hours in Philosophy at ETSU with at least a "C" average.
Graduate Study - The department offers some graduate work in philosophy. Further information on graduate programs is contained in the Graduate Catalog.

 

Ethics and political philosophy are core areas of philosophy, and the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration enables students to combine courses in ethics, applied ethics, and justice issues across the curriculum to constitute a more focused program of study.  The Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration equips students to exercise ethical leadership across a wide range of fields and professions by preparing them to apply the highly developed critical thinking skills that philosophy emphasizes and a variety of theoretical perspectives about ethics, justice, and the law to specific topics.  It is designed to complement other majors as a double major and meets the needs of students in pre-professional areas such as pre-law or pre-med.

Students in the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration take courses in the history of philosophy, ethical theory, and logic, and round out their program with guided electives in normative theory and applied electives, chosen in consultation with an advisor.  The course of study culminates with the capstone senior seminar, in which students write and present a senior research paper.

Requirements:

A total of 120 credits is required for graduation. In addition to the General Education Requirements, philosophy majors must meet B.A. or B.S. degree requirements in the College of Arts and Sciences. The choice of B.A. or B.S. degree should be made in connection with a student's second major, if there is one. Students whose second major is in the humanities should choose the B.A. degree, while students with a second major in the sciences should choose the B.S. degree. A student's interest in pursuing studies in philosophy at the graduate level is also relevant to the choice of B.A. or B.S. degree. (See below.) A minor is required of all philosophy majors, except those pursuing a double major. Philosophy students should be aware that most upper-division philosophy courses, excluding those required for the major, are offered only once every other year.

A minimum of 30 credits are required for the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration of the philosophy major.  Please note that although the electives approved for this concentration include courses from other departments, 24 credits must be in Philosophy.  Required coursework includes:

PHIL 3010 History of Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 3030 History of Modern Philosophy

PHIL 4017 Ethical Theory
PHIL 2020 Introduction to Ethics
PHIL 3050 Symbolic Logic
PHIL 4950 Senior Seminar
6 credits from the list of Theoretical Electives
6 credits from the list of Applied Electives

Theoretical Electives (choose two)

  • PHIL 3110 Philosophies of Feminism
  • PHIL 3120 Existentialism
  • PHIL 3140 Environmental Philosophy
  • PHIL 3150 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL 4107 Classical Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 4127 Modern Political Philosophy
  • PHIL 4137 Marxism
  • PSCI 3130 American Political Thought
  • PSCI 3150 Democratic Theory
  • PSCI 4030 Black American Political 

Applied Electives (choose two)

  • PHIL 3130 Bioethics
  • PHIL 4147 Health Justice
  • PHIL 4177 Global Justice
  • CDST 4017 Ecofeminism: Nature, Gender, Culture
  • CJCR 3300 Criminal Justice Ethics
  • CJCR 4670 Race, Gender, and Crime
  • MGMT 3320 Management and Social Responsibility
  • PSCI 3000 Peace, Security, and Development
  • PSCI 3200 Law and Judicial Process
  • PSCI 3230 American Constitutional Law
  • PSCI 3750 International Law and Organizations
  • SOCI 4257 Power, Wealth, and Poverty
  • SPCH 4366 Communication Ethics
  • WMST 2110 Sex, Gender, and Body
  • WMST 3330 Feminist Thought and Practice
  • HUMT 4950 Interdisciplinary Humanities Seminar

Click here to see the course check list for the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration of the Philosophy Major.

A Suggested Course Sequence for the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration of the Philosophy major, B.A. degree can be found here.

A Suggested Course Sequence for the Justice, Ethics, and Law concentration of the Philosophy major, B.S. degree can be found here.

Students interested in graduate school in Philosophy – Students who are considering graduate school in philosophy should take seriously their degree at ETSU as preparation for that course of study. The decision to pursue the study of philosophy in graduate school should ideally be made in the junior year, and faculty in the department should be notified so that they can provide advice specific to the student's area of interest. In general, graduate schools will prefer that students have received a B.A. in philosophy, have studied a language or languages relevant to the discipline, and that they have taken symbolic logic. Students interested specifically in the philosophy of science or related areas may find it beneficial to receive a B.S. degree. Excellent performance in the core courses required by the department will be expected, as well as evidence of some focus in one's area of interest in electives and extra-curricular efforts (e.g. presenting work at an undergraduate philosophy conference, participation in the philosophy club, independent work, etc.).


Transfer Students – Transfer students seeking a Philosophy Major must complete a minimum of nine hours in Philosophy at ETSU with at least a "C" average.
Graduate Study – The department offers some graduate work in philosophy. Further information on graduate programs is contained in the Graduate Catalog.

 

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