Philosophy

The Philosophy concentration offers courses covering subjects from the philosophy of religion to the philosophies of science and literature. It also provides survey courses on various periods in the history of philosophy. Concentrators can expect to strengthen their knowledge of and skills in ancient philosophy, early modern philosophy, logic, epistemology and metaphysics. Students are asked to identify an area of specialization. There is also a related, but separate concentration in physics and philosophy. 

Standard Concentration (for declarations made January 2013 to present)

10 courses total, of which no more than one may be below PHIL 0350, and at least three must be at or above PHIL 0990.

One course in Ancient Philosophy, e.g.1
Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle
Plato
Myth and the Origins of Science
One course in Early Modern Philosophy, e.g. 1
Early Modern Philosophy
British Empiricists
17th Century Continental Rationalism
Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
One course in Epistemology or Metaphysics, e.g.1
Metaphysics
Epistemology
Philosophy of Language
Philosophy of Mind
One course in Ethics or Political Philosophy, e.g.1
Moral Philosophy
Political Philosophy
The Nature of Morality
Moral Theories
One course in Logic, e.g.1
Logic
Mathematical Logic
Advanced Deductive Logic
One seminar1
A course from the PHIL 0990 series
Or any seminar at the 2000-level, which may be counted for one of the other requirements
Specialization: Three related courses from one single area of philosophy: e.g., logic and language; philosophy of science; epistemology; philosophy of mind; moral philosophy; political philosophy; ancient philosophy, etc. 13
Capstone1
Reading Course (PHIL 1990): a reading course for one semester involving one professor and one student, leading to the preparation of a substantial resarch paper on a particular topic. The Reading Course may accompany a 1000-level course being taken concurrently. In this case, the 1000-level course would provide a general overview of the topic and the reading course would consist of a deeper foray into the topic. A one-semester Reading Course may also be a first step towards writing an Honors Thesis.
Senior Seminar (PHIL 0990): Seminars aimed primarily at advanced undergraduates, on varying topics each year, requiring the completion of a substantial research paper.
Graduate Seminar (PHIL 2000-level): seminars mainly aimed at graduate students, but also open to advanced undergraduates, requiring the completion of a substantial research paper.
Honors Thesis: a piece of work expected to be more substantial than the above-mentioned research papers, typically researched and written over the course of the entire senior year (possibly starting with a relevant Reading Course in the first semester) under the supervision of a thesis advisor (possibly, though not necessarily, the specialization advisor). For honors, see below.
Total Credits10
1
  • No more than one course may fulfill both a general distribution requirement and a specialization requirement.
  • No more than two courses from departments other than the philosophy department may be counted among the ten courses required for the concentration; no more than one of these two outside courses may count toward the three specialization requirements. 
  • The specialization and the courses that will fulfill it are standardly declared at some point in the course of the Junior year. Those making a Concentration Declaration at an earlier time (e.g. at the end of their Sophomore year) may make a provisional choice of courses which can be revised at a later date with the approval of the department's
    DUS (Director of Undergraduate Studies). 
  • Concentrators who aim at a general acquaintance with the discipline of philosophy may forgo a specialization and devise an appropriately balanced program of courses beyond the requirements with the approval of the DUS.

Honors Requirements:

  • Philosophy GPA must be greater than 3.5.  (This refers to the GPA at the beginning of the senior year in all philosophy courses, and including at least six courses).
  • Thesis (see Capstone Options)

Prior Concentration Requirements

For Declarations made prior to January 2013, there was one concentration program in Philosophy with two optional tracks:

Standard Concentration (Prior to January 2013)

Eight courses in philosophy, which may not include more than one course numbered below 0350. In addition, at least one of the courses must be an undergraduate or graduate seminar.

One course in Ancient Philosophy1
Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle
Plato
Myth and the Origins of Science
One course in Early Modern Philosophy1
Early Modern Philosophy
British Empiricists
17th Century Continental Rationalism
Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
Logic
PHIL 0540Logic (or higher)1
Ethics or Political Philosophy
PHIL 0500Moral Philosophy (or higher)1
One course in Epistemology or Metaphysics1
Metaphysics
Epistemology
Philosophy of Mind
Three additional courses is philosophy3
Total Credits8

Optional tracks:

Ethics and Political Philosophy

Eight courses in philosophy, which may not include more than one course numbered below 0350. 

One course in Ancient Philosophy1
Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle
Plato
Myth and the Origins of Science
One course in Early Modern Philosophy1
Early Modern Philosophy
British Empiricists
17th Century Continental Rationalism
Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
Logic
PHIL 0540Logic (or higher)1
Three courses in ethics or political philosophy at the level of 0400 or higher3
Two additional philosophy courses2
Total Credits8

Logic and Philosophy of Science

Eight courses in philosophy, which may not include more than one course numbered below 0350.  With the approval of the concentration advisor, two appropriate science or mathematics courses may be taken instead of philosophy courses. 

One course in Ancient Philosophy1
Ancient Philosophy
Aristotle
Plato
Myth and the Origins of Science
One course in Early Modern Philosophy1
Early Modern Philosophy
British Empiricists
17th Century Continental Rationalism
Kant: The Critique of Pure Reason
A course in Logic at the level of 1630 or higher1
One course in Epistemology or Metaphysics1
Metaphysics
Epistemology
Philosophy of Mind
Three courses in philosophy of science at the level of 0650 or higher3
One additional philosophy course1
Total Credits8


Cross-listed courses may be used to fulfill the requirements of any of the concentrations above only with the approval of the concentration advisor.

Honors (Prior to January 2013)

Seniors wishing to earn honors by presenting a senior honors thesis should consult their concentration advisor during their sixth semester concerning procedures and requirements. In addition to completing the usual non-honors requirements, a student must write a thesis judged to be of honors quality by two readers and have a strong record in philosophy department courses (of which at least five must be taken for a letter grade). Honors theses are usually written during a student's final semester at Brown.