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Claremont McKenna College    
 
    
 
  Oct 16, 2017
 
2011-2012 Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy and Public Affairs Major


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Philosophy and Public Affairs Major and Requirements


The major in philosophy and public affairs requires twelve courses distributed as follows:

  1. Introductory course in ethics or political philosophy, for example PHIL 033 CM - Political Philosophy , PHIL 034 CM - Moral and Political Issues  or approved substitute
  2. PHIL 095 CM - Fundamentals of Logic , or the equivalent. Students are advised to take this early in their course of study, although this is not required
  3. Overview course in ethical theory or political philosophy numbered 100 or above, to be approved in advance by the Coordinator of the major
  4. One course from the Ethics, Political Philosophy, and Value Theory group
  5. One course from either the History group or the Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind group
  6. One course from any philosophy group, numbered 100 or above
  7. Five courses in government and/or economics; students are urged to take courses in which they learn about issues that complement their philosophical education and to which philosophical analysis can usefully be applied.
  8. PHIL 198 CM - Senior Seminar in Philosophy , to be completed in the senior year

Senior Thesis in Philosophy and in Philosophy and Public Affairs


The senior thesis is a general education requirement and the capstone of a student’s undergraduate education. Students must complete a senior thesis in at least one of their majors, under supervision of a faculty member who teaches within that major, unless granted a special exception.

Students who select a two-semester, two-unit thesis complete a thesis research course in the first semester and the senior thesis in the second semester. The senior thesis and the thesis research course may not be counted as courses in the major.

If PPA majors choose to write a thesis in PPA, they must work with a philosophy professor and should expect to produce a thesis with substantial philosophical content. They may do interdisciplinary work, though they may not write theses that are solely in government or economics.

Special Options for Majors


Dual Majors


Students who wish to supplement another major with substantial philosophical study are encouraged to complete a dual major. Students with a dual major in philosophy must take at least seven courses in philosophy distributed as follows:

  1. An introductory course numbered 59 or below
  2. PHIL 095 CM - Fundamentals of Logic , or the equivalent. Students are advised to take this early in their course of study, though that is not required.
  3. One course from the History of Philosophy group
  4. One course from the Metaphysics, Epistemology, and Philosophy of Mind group
  5. One course from the Ethics, Political Philosophy, and Value Theory group
  6. One course from any area, numbered 100 or above.
  7. PHIL 198 CM - Senior Seminar in Philosophy , to be completed in the senior year

Students with a dual major including philosophy are encouraged to write their senior thesis on a topic in philosophy. For further information, see Senior Thesis in Philosophy above.

Please note the restrictions on honors in the major for students with a dual major under Honors in Philosophy below. For further information on dual majors and the requirements for the other discipline of the dual major, please check the appropriate sections of this catalog.

As noted above, PPA may not be taken as a dual major, since it already involves interdisciplinary work in philosophy, government, and/or economics.

Honors in Philosophy


To be eligible for honors in philosophy, students must complete a major in philosophy, earn a grade point average of 10.50 or better in major courses, and must be voted honors by the members of the department.

Students with a dual major including philosophy who wish to be considered for honors in philosophy will only receive honors if they:

  • Have completed all requirements for a full major in philosophy and are granted honors, or
  • Qualify and receive honors in both disciplines of their dual major. See Academic Honors at Graduation  for details.

Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for the Philosophy Program


Learning Goals


After an education in philosophy, students should have learned to:

  1. engage with theoretical problems in philosophy, including central problems from philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, broadly construed.
  2. engage with historical texts and historical ideas in philosophy.
  3. engage with practical problems, including problems that involve ethical and political decision-making.
  4. write prose that is both effective and engaging.

Student Learning Outcomes


Students majoring in philosophy will have learned:

  1. Engagement with theoretical problems in philosophy, including central problems from philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, broadly construed
    1. Students will be able to extract theoretical positions from texts and conceptualize them in precise ways.
    2. Students will understand important criticisms of those positions given by other philosophers.
    3. Students will be able to offer their own views on theoretical problems and offer persuasive reasons for those views.
  2. Engagement with historical texts and ideas in philosophy
    1. Students will be able to clearly state what the views of historical figures were, the philosophical reasons or arguments they offer for their views, and how these views relate to the figures’ broader philosophical position.
    2. Students will be able to interpret historical figures and evaluate the figures’ philosophical positions, drawing upon textual evidence, analysis of the philosophical arguments, the ideas of the time, and/or modern insights into the same subject matter.
    3. Students will be able to engage with and evaluate the arguments of historical figures and offer persuasive reasons for their own views.
  3. Engagement with practical problems, including problems that involve ethical and political decision-making
    1. Students will understand practical and ethical problems, including the complexities surrounding them.
    2. Students will understand why thinkers have offered different solutions to the problems.
    3. Students will develop their own solutions to ethical and practical problems and be able to offer reasons for their solutions.
  4. Writing that is effective and engaging
    1. Students will be able to clearly and effectively present a philosophical thesis.
    2. Students will be able to present the ideas of others in a rigorous, informative, and fair manner.
    3. Students will be able to justify their thesis with compelling argumentation.

General Education Requirement Information


Philosophy requirement: all CMC courses numbered 59 and below fulfill the College’s general education requirement in philosophy. These courses vary in content. They may have a broad or narrow focus, and they may concentrate on the history of philosophy or specific philosophical topics. However, all general education courses have the following in common:

  • they teach philosophical methods, including the skills of interpreting and evaluating arguments in a rigorous fashion;
  • they apply these philosophical methods to multiple questions, problems, and topics; and they show how the methods can be applied to further topics outside the class;
  • they discuss the value of applying philosophical methods to problems of all sorts. In particular, they discuss the way in which critical enquiry helps us find the truth, understand our own way of seeing the world, and engage in thoughtful deliberation with others.

With the approval of the department chair, students who take a Freshman Humanities Seminar (FHS  010 CM ) taught by a member of the Department of Philosophy may satisfy the general education requirement in philosophy with any CMC philosophy other than PHIL 095 CM - Fundamentals of Logic  or PHIL 198 CM -Senior Seminar in Philosophy .

Philosophy majors: for the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in philosophy must take designated courses in three of the four fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in three of the four fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Philosophy majors with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional general education course in those categories. For further information, see Academic Policies & Procedures .

Philosophy and Public Affairs majors: Because PPA is an interdisciplinary major, special rules apply to its general education requirements. Students must take a total of six general education courses in the humanities and social sciences. These may be satisfied by taking either (1) three courses in the social sciences—including GOVT 020 CM  and ECON 050 CM —and three in the humanities, or (2) four courses in the social sciences and two in the humanities. PPA majors may count one philosophy course numbered 59 and below as a general education course in the humanities; they may not use ECON 050 CM  or GOVT 020 CM  for the PPA major. For further information, including information on dual majors, see Academic Policies & Procedures .

Study Abroad


All CMC students have the opportunity to apply for study abroad during the sophomore or junior year. Students planning to study philosophy abroad should consult with the department chair to determine which off-campus courses will be accepted by the department.

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