Philosophy Major Requirements
The major in philosophy requires 9 courses, distributed as follows:
2. Fundamentals of Logic (1 course)
3. History of Philosophy (2 courses)
Two courses from the History of Philosophy group from two different time periods and/or traditions.
6. Electives (2 courses)
Two courses from any area, numbered 100 or above.
7. Advanced Seminar in Philosophy (1 course)
Advanced Seminars are typically offered every semester with rotating topics and professors. Majors must take this at least one time, during any year they choose.
- Students may take multiple Advanced Seminars on different topics. Additional Advanced Seminars can count toward the requirement of 2 courses numbered 100 or above, or in some cases other requirements.
- Students may not count more than 3 non-CMC courses toward their philosophy major. Students who wish to count courses taken at the other Claremont Colleges or at other institutions toward their major must receive pre-approval from the department chair.
- Some higher-level CMC philosophy courses require one previous course in philosophy as a prerequisite. An FHS course taught by a member of the CMC Department of Philosophy will usually satisfy this prerequisite. Students who wish to major in philosophy may, with the prior permission of the Department Chair, be permitted to substitute a higher-level CMC philosophy course in place of the required introductory course if they have taken an FHS taught by a member of the CMC Department of Philosophy.
Senior Thesis in Philosophy
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 2-semester, 2-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.
Special Options for Majors
The dual major in philosophy requires a minimum of 7 courses. Dual majors in philosophy may waive one History of Philosophy course requirement and one elective course requirement from the full major.
Students who wish to supplement another major with substantial philosophical study are encouraged to complete a dual major.
Students with a dual major including philosophy are encouraged to write their senior thesis on a topic in philosophy.
Honors in Philosophy
To be eligible for honors in philosophy, students must:
- Earn a grade point average of 3.50 or better in major courses,
- Be voted honors by the members of the department.
General Education Requirements for Humanities Majors
For the general education requirement in the social sciences and the humanities, CMC students majoring in a field of the humanities must take designated courses in 3 of the 4 fields of the social sciences (economics, government, history, and psychology), and in 3 of the 4 fields of the humanities (literature, philosophy, religious studies, and literature in a foreign language). Majors with a dual or double major in either the humanities or the social sciences will be required to take an additional course in those categories.
Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes for the Philosophy Program
After an education in philosophy, students should have learned to:
- Engage with theoretical problems in philosophy, including central problems from philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, broadly construed.
- Engage with historical texts and historical ideas in philosophy.
- Engage with practical problems, including problems that involve ethical and political decision-making.
- Write prose that is both effective and engaging.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students majoring in philosophy will have learned:
- Engagement with theoretical problems in philosophy, including central problems from philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and epistemology, broadly construed
- Students will be able to extract theoretical positions from texts and conceptualize them in precise ways.
- Students will understand important criticisms of those positions given by other philosophers.
- Students will be able to offer their own views on theoretical problems and offer persuasive reasons for those views.
- Engagement with historical texts and ideas in philosophy
- 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.
- 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.
- Students will be able to engage with and evaluate the arguments of historical figures and offer persuasive reasons for their own views.
- Engagement with practical problems, including problems that involve ethical and political decision-making
- Students will understand practical and ethical problems, including the complexities surrounding them.
- Students will understand why thinkers have offered different solutions to the problems.
- Students will develop their own solutions to ethical and practical problems and be able to offer reasons for their solutions.
- Writing that is effective and engaging
- Students will be able to clearly and effectively present a philosophical thesis.
- Students will be able to present the ideas of others in a rigorous, informative, and fair manner.
- Students will be able to justify their thesis with compelling argumentation.