Advising for the Philosophy Major

Students interested in philosophy can get a sense of the discipline by taking one of our introductory courses, tailored to their individual interests:

  • PHIL 100:  Introduction to Problems in Philosophy
  • PHIL 102: Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL 103: Philosophy in the 21st Century (3 credits)
  • PHIL 105: Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • PHIL 115: Food Ethics
  • PHIL 120: Introduction to Biomedical Ethics

A good, additional choice for a student’s first year in the program is PHIL 150: Symbolic Logic, since it satisfies a requirement for the major and introduces students to a variety of tools for assessing arguments, which are foundational for more advanced coursework. Symbolic Logic also meets Lawrence University’s Quantitative (Q) General Education Requirement for the Bachelor’s degree.

In addition to the logic requirement, students must take two courses in the history of philosophy and one course each in the distribution areas of epistemology, ethics, and metaphysics. A complete listing of the current courses falling under each of these distributions is available here.  Courses in the history of philosophy are particularly good gateways to more advanced coursework, since philosophy has a long history and these courses will serve to familiarize students with some of the discipline’s ongoing debates.

Because philosophy consists in a variety of methods of analysis that—in true liberal arts fashion—can be and have been fruitfully applied to a variety of other academic disciplines, our major requirements count up to two courses in a second major towards the philosophy degree.

Students who want to major (or minor) in philosophy should add a faculty advisor from the Philosophy Department as soon as possible, since this advisor will be better able to help the student refine their interests and select courses that develop them. Philosophy faculty advisors of double majors will also be in a good position to help students understand the connections between philosophy and their other major.

Students interested in philosophy should talk with a department member about getting on the philosophy mailing list. They are also encouraged to participate in meetings of the Philosophy Strange Thing, which meets weekly in the Strange Lounge of Main Hall during terms I and II. Here, students can engage in casual discussions of philosophical issues of contemporary and enduring interest.

For more information, contact the department chair: Mark Phelan, Associate Professor of Philosophy.