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Philosophy BS

John T. Sanders, Program Director
(585) 475-2465, jts@rit.edu

http://www.rit.edu/philosophy

Program overview

Most of the skills required for student and career success—how to learn, how to apply that learning in professional and personal environments, and how to communicate that knowledge—are central to philosophical training. Philosophy students are taught to evaluate complex problems, identify and examine underlying principles, investigate issues from diverse perspectives, and communicate clearly in both written and oral forms.

The philosophy major provides a thorough grounding in the three main areas of philosophy (history, value theory, and reasoning/epistemology), as well as a four-course specialization within philosophy. Students combine philosophy with a core competence (or even a double major) in another discipline, encouraging them to creatively pursue cross-disciplinary relationships. The major concludes with a senior thesis integrating philosophy with a field of application.

Curriculum

Students develop skills through a core of philosophy courses which cover the history of philosophy, value theory, and reasoning/epistemology. Students choose four courses in an area of philosophical specialization. Examples of approved areas include: philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophy of science and technology, applied ethics, philosophy of the social sciences and political philosophy, philosophy of art and aesthetics, history of philosophy, or philosophy of law. Students also complete a professional core of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in a professional/technical discipline outside of philosophy, which complements their studies. Philosophy electives, general electives, and liberal arts courses complete the curriculum.

Senior thesis

Building on their philosophy specialization and their professional core, students investigate a particular question in depth through research. Students choose a faculty member to serve as a primary adviser and to help identify a subject topic. The finished thesis is discussed and examined by a committee including two other faculty members.

Philosophy, BS degree, typical course sequence

Course Sem. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
PHIL-201 Ancient Philosophy 3
  Professional/Technical Core Courses 6
  LAS Foundation 1: First Year Seminar† 3
  LAS Perspective 1, 2, 7A 9
PHIL-203 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL-204 Introduction to Logic 3
  LAS Foundation 2: First Year Writing 3
  YearOne 0
  Wellness Education* 0
Second Year
PHIL-202 Foundations of Moral Philosophy 3
  Program Electives 9
  Professional/Technical Core Courses 6
  LAS Perspective 3, 4, 5‡, 7B 12
Third Year
  Program Electives 6
  Free Electives 6
  Professional/Technical Core Course 3
  LAS Electives 6
  LAS Perspective 6 3
  Specialization Course 3
  LAS Immersion 1 3
Fourth Year
  Specialization Courses 9
PHIL-416 Seminar in Philosophy 3
  LAS Immersion 2, 3 6
  LAS Electives 9
PHIL-595 Senior Thesis in Philosophy 3
Total Semester Credit Hours 120

Please see New General Education Curriculum–Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) for more information.

(WI) Refers to a writing intensive course within the major.

* Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing bachelor's degrees are required to complete two Wellness courses.
† The First Year Seminar requirement is replaced by an LAS Elective for the 2014-15 academic year.

‡ Students will satisfy this requirement by taking either a 3- or 4-credit hour lab science course. If a science course consists of separate lecture and laboratory sections, student must take both the lecture and lab portions to satisfy the requirement.

Specializations

Philosophy of mind and cognitive science

This specialization covers the philosophical issues involved in studying intelligence, cognition, identity, consciousness, rationality, creativity and emotion, especially as such concepts and categories are invoked by computer and cognitive scientists, and as they are applied in relation to natural and artificial systems.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-302    Symbolic Logic
   PHIL-404    Philosophy of Mind
   PHIL-407    Philosophy of Action
   PHIL-414    Philosophy of Language
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*
Philosophy of science and technology

This specialization examines the concepts, methodologies, and philosophical implications of science and technology, and explores the underlying theories, practices, and consequences of science and technology and their role in shaping societies and their values.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-302    Symbolic Logic
   PHIL-307    Philosophy of Technology
   PHIL-310    Theories of Language
   PHIL-314    Philosophy of Vision and Imaging
   PHIL-402    Philosophy of Science
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*
Applied ethics

This specialization examines the ethical underpinnings of different professions as well as the ethical presuppositions and implications of technology, engineering, science, management, and other disciplines. Attention is also given to ethics education within the professions and to the role professional ethicists can play in different professional and organizational settings.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-304    Philosophy of Law
   PHIL-305    Philosophy of Peace
   PHIL-306    Professional Ethics
   PHIL-308    Environmental Philosophy
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*
Philosophy of social sciences and political philosophy

This specialization examines philosophical issues arising from social and political life as well as the disciplines that study them.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-304    Philosophy of Law
   PHIL-305    Philosophy of Peace
   PHIL-308    Environmental Philosophy
   PHIL-309    Feminist Theory
   PHIL-403    Social and Political Philosophy
   PHIL-405    Philosophy of Social Sciences
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL 449    Special Topics*
Philosophy of art and aesthetics

This specialization examines how different philosophical frameworks conceive of the various arts and crafts and the forms of creative experience and production with which they are engaged; explores the relationship between aesthetic perception and other forms of experience and judgment, between art and society, between art and ethics, and between art and technology.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-303    Philosophy pf Art/Aesthetics
   PHIL-313    Philosophy of Film
   PHIL-314    Philosophy of Vision and Imaging
   PHIL-413    Philosophy and Literary Theory
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*
History of philosophy

This specialization explores the development and connection of philosophical ideas, concepts, and movements throughout time through an in-depth analysis of major transformative moments and figures, and examines how philosophical positions result from an ongoing conversation with previous thinkers.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-311    East Asian Philosophy
   PHIL-312    American Philosophy
   PHIL-406    Contemporary Philosophy
   PHIL-408    Critical Social Theory
   PHIL-409    Existentialism
   PHIL-410    Medieval Philosophy
   PHIL-412    Nineteenth Century Philosophy
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*
Philosophy and law

This specialization prepares students for law school and other advanced studies by focusing on the skills and topics important to the study of the law. The courses provide an examination of the theoretical and ethical foundations of the law and an understanding of the logical and epistemological skills useful in evaluating and constructing legal arguments. In addition, a grounding in these topics and skills is valuable in a range of professions outside the legal field.

Course
Electives
Choose four of the following
   PHIL-302    Symbolic Logic
   PHIL-304    Philosophy of Law
   PHIL-306    Professional Ethics
   PHIL-310    Theories of Knowledge
   PHIL 403    Social and Political Philosophy
   PHIL-401    Great Thinkers*
   PHIL-416    Seminar in Philosophy*
   PHIL-449    Special Topics*

* These courses are eligible only when their topic is relevant. Permission to include these courses in a specialization must be approved by the department.

Additional information

Advising

Each student is assigned a faculty adviser who assists in planning course schedules, professional/technical core requirements, and a philosophy specialization area.

Faculty

The philosophy department’s faculty are outstanding teachers. They are active scholars, publishing regularly in journals, editing and authoring books, and organizing and delivering papers at conferences at RIT and elsewhere in the United States and abroad.

[arrow] Click to view program requirements in the Quarter Calendar

Quarter Curriculum - For Reference Only

Effective fall 2013, RIT will convert its academic calendar from quarters to semesters. The following content has been made available as reference only. Currently matriculated students who began their academic programs in quarters should consult their academic adviser for guidance and course selection.

Program overview

Most of the skills required for student and career success—how to learn, how to apply that learning in professional and personal environments, and how to communicate that knowledge—are central to philosophical training. Philosophy students are taught to evaluate complex problems, identify and examine underlying principles, investigate issues from diverse perspectives, and communicate clearly in both written and oral forms.

The philosophy program provides a thorough grounding in the three main areas of philosophy (history, value theory, and reasoning/epistemology), as well as a four-course specialization within philosophy. Students combine philosophy with a core competence (or even a double major) in another discipline, encouraging them to creatively pursue cross-disciplinary relationships. The program concludes with a senior thesis integrating philosophy with a field of application.

Curriculum

Students develop skills through a core of philosophy courses, which cover the history of philosophy, value theory, and reasoning/epistemology. Students choose four courses in area of philosophical specialization. Examples of pre-approved areas include the following: philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophy of science and technology, applied ethics, philosophy of the social sciences and political philosophy, philosophy of art and aesthetics, history of philosophy, or philosophy of law. Students also complete a professional core of courses designed to provide foundational knowledge in a professional/technical discipline outside of philosophy, which complements their studies in the program. Philosophy electives, general electives, and liberal arts courses complete the program's curriculum.

Seminar in philosophy

This course is an examination of a selected area or topic of philosophy at an advanced undergraduate level.

Senior thesis

Building on their philosophy specialization and their professional core, students will investigate a particular question in depth through research. Students choose a faculty member to serve as a primary adviser and to help identify a subject topic. The finished thesis is discussed and examined by a committee including two other faculty members.

Philosophy, BS degree, typical course sequence (quarters)

CourseQtr. Cr. Hrs.
First Year
0509-456 Ancient Philosophy 4
0509-457 Modern Philosophy 4
0509-476 Ethical Theory 4
  Professional Core or Free Electives 8
  Liberal Arts* 16
  Mathematics and Science Requirement‡ 12
1105-051, 052 First-Year Enrichment 2
  Wellness Education† 0
Second Year
  Philosophy Core Courses 12
  Professional Core or Free Electives 12
  General Education Electives 8
  Liberal Arts* 8
  Mathematics and Science Requirement‡ 8
  Wellness Education† 0
Third Year
  Philosophy Specialization 12
  Professional Core or Free Electives 8
  Program Electives 12
  Liberal Arts* 12
  General Education Electives 4
Fourth Year
0509-450 Seminar in Philosophy 4
0509-595 Senior Thesis 4
  Philosophy Specialization 4
  Professional Core or Free Elective 4
  Program Electives 12
  General Education Electives 12
Total Quarter Credit Hours 184-186

* Please see Liberal Arts General Education Requirements for more information.

† Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information.

‡ Please see Mathematics and Science General Education Curriculum for more information.

Additional information

Advising

Each student is assigned a faculty adviser who will assist in planning course schedules, professional/technical core requirements, and a philosophy specialization area.

Faculty

The philosophy department’s faculty are outstanding teachers. They are active scholars, publishing regularly in journals, editing and authoring books, and organizing and delivering papers at conferences at RIT and elsewhere in the United States and abroad.