Philosophy major ponders during a lecture in Bakeless Center

Philosophy (B.A.)

Learn how to think, not what to think. More than any other discipline, philosophy explores the core issues of the Western intellectual tradition. It's the ultimate transferable work skill. Let's begin the onward journey!

Degrees & Offerings
  • B.A.
Department
College
Program Contact
Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Professor
illustration of Carver Hall

Why do we believe what we believe?

What should we do ... and why?

Philosophy encourages critical and systematic inquiry into fundamental questions of right and wrong, truth and falsehood, the meaning of life, and the nature of reality, knowledge and society. Philosophy encourages you to formulate questions and follow arguments. Philosophy provides an excellent preparation for law school and other professional programs, as well as a solid foundation for a career in business, teaching, writing, or public service.

As a philosophy major, you will ...

  • generate ideas on a variety of problems
  • formulate and solve problems
  • uncover assumptions and suggest alternatives
  • distinguish subtle differences without overlooking similarities
  • analyze, develop and formulate logical arguments
  • make knowledgeable decisions
  • examine various angles of topics
  • write and speak clearly and effectively
  • interpret and assess various thoughts and theories

Courses and Curriculum

A total of 30 semester hours is required for a major in philosophy. The following courses are required.

Logic requirement

PHIL.270 Logic

Historical requirement

PHIL.321 Plato and Aristotle

PHIL.324 Descartes to Kant

Choose one of the following two courses:

PHIL.328 Existentialism

PHIL.329 20th Century Philosophy

Elective Courses for the Philosophy Major

Six elective courses must also be selected in addition to the required courses for this degree program. Two courses must be from the 300 or above level sequence.

  • PHIL.110 Critical Thinking
  • PHIL.111 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL.290 Medical Ethics
  • PHIL.292 Contemporary Moral Problems
  • PHIL.295 Business Ethics
  • PHIL.297 Ethics
  • PHIL.403 Philosophy of Science
  • PHIL.404 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • PHIL.405 Philosophy of Law
  • PHIL.406 Philosophy of Religion
  • PHIL.407 Contemporary Political Philosophy
  • PHIL.408 Feminist Philosophy
  • PHIL.418 Contemporary Philosophy of Mind
  • PHIL.419 Theory of Knowledge
  • PHIL.420 Metaphysics
  • PHIL.477 Philosophy of Ecology

Requirements for the Philosophy Minor

A total of 18 semester hours is required for a minor in philosophy. Required courses:

PHIL.111 Introduction to Philosophy

PHIL.297 Ethics

Choose one of the following two courses.

PHIL.270 Logic

PHIL.110 Critical Thinking

Choose three elective courses, including one from:

PHIL.321 Plato and Aristotle

PHIL.324 Descartes to Kant

PHIL.328 Existentialism

PHIL.329 20th Century Philosophy

or a 300 level or above course

PHIL.110 Critical Thinking (3) — Designed for students to learn how to think critically. Emphasis is on the construction and evaluation of arguments. Surveys several forms of argument including inductive, deductive, analogical, and legal reasoning.

PHIL.111 Introduction to Philosophy (3) — Presents reflective inquiry into selected problems of general philosophic interest. Considers the types of knowledge, individual and social values, the nature of reality, and the existence of God.

PHIL.270 Logic (3) — Reviews methods and principles of reasoning with applications to contemporary debates. Examines informal fallacies, the syllogism, predicate calculus, sentential calculus, quantification, and induction.

PHIL.290 Medical Ethics (3) — Investigates moral issues that arise in such medical contexts as human experimentation, death and dying, medical care and its distribution, genetic engineering, and the definition of health and illness.

PHIL.292 Contemporary Moral Problems (3) — Investigates some of the major contemporary (and perennial) moral problems: abortion and the rights of the fetus; pornography and its control; crime and its punishment; obedience to laws; discrimination based on race and sex; decision-making procedures; social justice; drugs, suicide, and euthanasia; freedom and its limits.

PHIL.295 Business Ethics (3) — Review of moral canons in relation to business practice. Moral concepts are applied in analyzing situations. Utilitarianism, Kantianism, and contemporary Egalitarianism are introduced as aids in decision making. General principles and concrete cases considered.

PHIL.297 Ethics (3) — Studies ethical theory focusing on such issues as ethics as a branch of knowledge, egoism vs. altruism, and role of intentions and consequences in moral judgments. Reviews theories such as relativism, utilitarianism, and Kantianism. Investigates concepts of "rights" and "justice."

PHIL.321 Plato and Aristotle (3) — Studies the origins of Western philosophy in ancient Greece. Examines Plato's philosophical writings in light of pre-Socratic speculation on one hand and in terms of Aristotle's criticisms and developments on the other.

PHIL.324 Descartes to Kant (3) — Examines the writings of the 17th and 18th century philosophers: Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, and others. Topics include: the nature of reality, the sources and limits of knowledge, the relation between mind and body, and the possibility of a rational basis for religious belief.

PHIL.328 Existentialism (3) — Studies the writings of philosophers and theologians such as Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Sartre, and Tillich. Major themes include human subjectivity, human freedom, alienation, and meaning.

PHIL.329 20th Century Philosophy (3) — Examines 20th century philosophical movements. Emphasizes the relation between language and philosophy, particularly views about truth, free will, the nature of morality and religion, and the nature of mind.

PHIL.403 Philosophy of Science (3) — Analyzes the logic of inquiry in the natural and social sciences; the nature of scientific explanation, problems of causality, measurement, prediction, and verification. Considers case studies, such as evolutionary theory.

PHIL.404 Philosophy of the Social Sciences (3) — Examines philosophical problems in the social sciences including objectivity, classification, explanation, the nature of laws, and the nature of social facts.

PHIL.405 Philosophy of Law (3) — Examines the theoretical background of the law and legal systems. Encourages students to develop their own views about the proper use of the law. Topics include the concepts of "law" and "legal system," limits of the law, and justification of punishment.

PHIL.406 Philosophy of Religion (3) — Presents a critical analysis of the origins and nature of faith. Emphasizes types of religion, evidence supporting religious belief, and problems in and challenges to religion.

PHIL.407 Contemporary Political Philosophy (3) — Studies the nature of the good and just state, the limits and powers of the state. Investigates competing theories of neo-Aristotelianism, utilitarianism, contractarianism, libertarianism, Marxism, and anarchism. Addresses questions concerning the obligations of an individual citizen to the state.

PHIL.408 Feminist Philosophy (3) — Explores the major trends in feminist philosophy including liberal, Marxist, socialist, radical, and psychoanalytic approaches. Explores such questions as whether women's experience differs from men's, and the extent to which male domination informs woman's experience. Considers recent feminist attempts to articulate an emancipating standpoint.

PHIL.418 Contemporary Philosophy of Mind (3) — Explores the philosophical foundations of the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science. Topics discussed include contemporary scientific solutions to the mind-body problem, the possibility of artificial intelligence, and the nature and success of cognitive explanations in psychology.

PHIL.419 Theory of Knowledge (3) — Inquires into the problem of knowledge, certainty, and skepticism. Reviews theory of perception; discusses concepts of meaning and truth. Prerequisite: some philosophy course other than PHIL-110 or PHIL-270.

PHIL.420 Metaphysics (3) — Explores recent work in ontology, particularly the problem of existence, realism/anti-realism, abstract objects, events, substances, secondary qualities, dependent particulars, and the theory of parts and wholes. Prerequisite: some philosophy course other than PHIL-110 or PHIL-270.

PHIL.470 Independent Study in Philosophy (3-6) — Provides for individual study of a particular philosophical problem under the guidance of the staff. Emphasizes independent research on topics selected by the student and the faculty member. Course may be taken twice. Prerequisite: 6 semester hours of philosophy. See section on Independent Study on page 10.

PHIL.471 Seminar (3) — Studies selected problems in philosophy.

PHIL.476 Philosophy and Aesthetic Experience (3) — Examines the experience of aesthetically appreciable natural and artifactual objects and phenomena from a variety of relevant perspectives.

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Bloomsburg Because

Clubs and Organizations

Philosophy Club

We promote the free exchange of ideas. We discuss papers the club members are writing, as well as published articles. We also watch films with philosophical content, hear speakers, and generally get together to argue. Our faculty advisor is Kurt Smith, professor, ksmit4@bloomu.edu.

The Husky Difference

Liberal Arts graduates take a moment to celebrate during winter commencement
GRE Performance
According to the National Institute of Education, philosophy majors record the highest verbal reasoning score and analytical writing score of any major, and the highest quantitative score of any humanities or arts major.
College of Distinction
College of Distinction
Bloomsburg has earned national recognition as a College of Distinction, honored for its quality and high-impact practices leading to a personalized education catered to students’ interests.

Careers

Studying philosophy gives you the ability to organize complex subjects into relatable, understandable systems. This skill can help large businesses with complex structures stay organized while maintaining a clear mission and drive. One of the most directly-applicable philosophy skills is research. Philosophy graduates understand how to find information on a given subject and how to evaluate sources, while being able to utilize the information for the benefit of a company or organization.

Potential Job Opportunities

  • Business
  • Data Analyst
  • Financial Services
  • Health Care
  • Journalist
  • Lawyer
  • Marketing
  • Non-Profit Professional
  • Paralegal
  • Professor
  • Public Policy

Top Skills Employers are Looking For

  • Intellectual
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Research

Philosophy Contacts

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