Philosophy Program Requirements

These requirements are from an excerpt from the University Academic Catalog, which outlines the requirements for a student to earn the distinction of being a Castleton University graduate. The complete catalog is available online.

The purpose of the Philosophy Program is to provide a foundation in philosophy and its highly effective skills of reasoning. Philosophy is the study of problems about the nature of reality, knowledge, and value. The questions of philosophy and the attempts to solve them, as presented in the writings of many of the world's most valued thinkers, constitute the core of the human drive to understand ourselves and our place in the world. Students can study major philosophical figures: Plato, Aristotle, St. Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, Mill, Nietzsche, Sartre, Wittgenstein, Quine, and more. The curriculum also introduces them to major philosophical and religious traditions: metaphysical dualism, materialism, nihilism, theism, existentialism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

At the same time, Philosophy trains its students to think more clearly and critically. That concentrated training in critical thinking is one of the best preparations for entry into any professional career. Many philosophy majors go into education in order to teach and do continued research in philosophy; but many more use philosophy as preparation for careers in the law, medicine, business, communication, and the arts. Those are increasingly common careers for philosophy majors.

Educational Objectives:

  1. The student will read philosophical works with understanding and critical reflection.
  2. The student composes an exposition of a philosophical problem or position describing how it is addressed by two to three philosophers from different historical periods.
  3. The student engages in philosophic discourse by asking questions and offering responses that indicate understanding of a position's implications and presuppositions.

Complete these required courses (12 cr):

Code Course Credits

PHI 1030

Introduction to Logic

An examination of the principles of good reasoning through a study of deductive logic, inductive logic, and informal fallacies.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Every semester

3

PHI 3011

History of Philosophy I

An historical survey of western philosophy from the pre-Socratics to the sixteenth century. Problems and theories in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy are studied through the writings of the Pre-Socratics, followed by Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics and Epicureans, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Bacon, and Hobbes.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Previous course in Philosophy or consent of the instructor.

Periodically

3

PHI 3012

History of Philosophy II

A continuation of PHI 3011 from the seventeenth-century to the present. Philosophers studied include Spinoza, Descartes, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Mill, Nietzsche, Marx, Russell, and Wittgenstein, Quine, and Rorty.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Previous course in Philosophy or consent of the instructor.

Periodically

3

PHI 4510

Seminar in Philosophy

OR PHI 4620 - Senior Thesis in Philosophy 3 cr

An opportunity for faculty and advanced students in philosophy to concentrate on specific figures, issues, or periods in philosophy. Examples are Contemporary Philosophy, Seminar in Plato, Seminar in Existentialism, or Philosophy in Literature.

Prerequisite: previous course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

3

And complete one course in Value Theory (3 cr):

Code Course Credits

PHI 1040

Introduction to Ethics

This course is an introduction to philosophical problems about the nature of moral value, conduct, and character. Topics include problems in the nature of moral judgment and moral knowledge, theories of morally right action, and the practice of moral decision-making. Students will study selections from Aristotle, Mill, Kant, Nietzsche, Rawls, etc.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Fall

3

PHI 2060

Business Ethics

This course is an introduction to ethical problems in business. Included is a survey of theories of economic justice and the ethical implications of socialism and capitalism. Central moral problems include problems regarding hiring, firing, reverse discrimination, employer and employee rights and responsibilities, truth in advertising, responsibilities to the environment, and the responsibilities of multi-national conglomerates.

This course fulfills the Social and Behavioral Understanding Frame of Reference.

Periodically

3

PHI 2120

Social and Political Philosophy

This course is a study of philosophical problems about society and politics. Problems to be addressed include: What is the nature of a good society? What is the purpose of government? What are justice, equality, and liberty? Thinkers to be studied include Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Mill, Marx, Nozick, and Rawls.

This course fulfills the Social and Behavioral Understanding Frame of Reference.

Periodically

3

PHI 3020

Medical Ethics

This course is a study of current ethical problems in medicine and health care. Topics include ethical problems about the doctor-patient relationship, problems at the end of life, the beginning of life, and problems concerning the health care system. Specific issues to be discussed may include abortion, euthanasia, new reproductive technologies, the rights and responsibilities of patients, doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals, and justice and the health care system.

This course fulfills either the Social and Behavioral Understanding Frame of Reference or the World Views Frame of Reference.

Spring

3

PHI 3160

Environmental Ethics

This course is a survey of ethical issues involving humans and the natural environment. Central problems are: Of what moral value is, or what moral responsibilities do humans have toward, the natural world? Animals? Future generations? Are the ethical issues at odds with economic issues? Current ethical theories or movements to be studied include the Land Ethic, Deep Ecology, Biocentrism, and Ecofeminism.

This course fulfills the Social and Behavioral Understanding Frame of Reference.

Spring, even years

3

And complete one course in Metaphysics and Theory of Knowledge (3 cr):

Code Course Credits

PHI 3040

Philosophy of Mind

A study of philosophical problems concerning the nature of the mind, including the mind-body problem.

Prerequisite: previous course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

3

PHI 3050

Philosophy of Science

This course is a survey of philosophical problems in science including the nature of scientific method, scientific law, prediction, and explanation.

This course fulfills the Scientific and Mathematical Understanding Frame of Reference.

Periodically

3

PHI 3110

Metaphysics

This course is an examination of some traditional and current problems in metaphysics, including theories of the nature of reality- materialism, idealism, dualism- the problem of universals, the nature of causality, time and space, and theories of human nature.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Previous course in Philosophy or consent of the instructor.

Periodically

3

PHI 3220

Theory of Knowledge

A study of philosophical problems about the nature of knowledge, belief, and truth.

Prerequisite: previous course in philosophy or consent of instructor.

3

And complete one course in World Philosophy (3 cr):

Code Course Credits

PHI 2010

Comparative Religions

This course is a study of several major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and perhaps some African and Native American religious traditions. The philosophies of Taoism and Confucianism will also be considered. Special attention is given to religious ideas about the divine or spirituality, the nature of reality, human nature, and the proper life for humans.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: Previous course in Philosophy or consent of instructor.

Fall

3

PHI 2110

Asian Philosophies

This course is a survey of the major philosophical traditions of Asia, to include Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto, and Zen Buddhism. Included is an introduction to their mythology, art, music, and ritual as these exemplify philosophical ideas.

Periodically

3

PHI 3170

Western Faiths

This course is a survey of the three major monotheistic religions of the West: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Particular attention will be given to the sects or divisions within Islam.

This course fulfills the World Views Frame of Reference.

Prerequisite: PHI 2010 Comparative Religions is recommended, though not required.

Spring

3

And complete 5 additional Philosophy courses (15 cr)

(Credits required for the major: 36 cr)

PHILOSOPHY PRE-LAW PATHWAY

The Pre-Law Program in Philosophy allows highly focused students to earn a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy in just three years at CU and then a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in just two years at Vermont Law School

To be prepared to succeed in law school, Philosophy majors should follow this course of study:

Complete these core courses (15 cr):

PHI 1020 - Critical Thinking

PHI 1030 - Introduction to Logic

PHI 3011 - History of Philosophy I

PHI 3012 - History of Philosophy II

PHI 4510 - Seminar in Philosophy -OR- PHI 4620 - Senior Thesis in Philosophy

And complete any three of these electives (9 cr):

PHI 1040 - Introduction to Ethics

PHI 2120 - Social and Political Philosophy

PHI 2740 - Selected Topics in Philosophy

PHI 3020 - Medical Ethics

PHI 3160 - Environmental Ethics

(or-with the approval of your PHI advisor-any other applied ethics/philosophy course)

And complete four additional Philosophy courses (12 cr)

To participate in the 3+2 program, students must consult in their first year with the Philosophy Coordinator, Professor Brendan Lalor.

For more details about the Pre-Law program, see the Law Degree page.

And complete the University's Gen Ed requirements

Click here for General Education Requirements.