​Why Study Philosophy?

Philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, and value. These are questions that everyone asks: What am I? Do I have free will? How can we distinguish good from bad or right from wrong? Can we be sure that any of our beliefs are true? Philosophers examine answers to these questions systematically and critically. Philosophy is also very effective in developing the student's ability to reason clearly, to distinguish good from bad arguments, to navigate through a complicated maze of questions, and to use intelligence and logic in situations often ruled by emotions. Students who have taken a large number of philosophy courses excel in entrance exams to graduate and professional schools. The thinking skills you will develop in your philosophy classes will give you the kind of analytic ability sought by employers in many professions.

Philosophy at CMU

The Philosophy area offers a variety of courses that both make students aware of fundamental philosophical issues such as those about moral and other values, but at the same time strengthen their critical powers and enable them to evaluate better their own beliefs as well as those of other people. Some coursework in this area can benefit students no matter what their field of study. A major in philosophy is recommended, not only for graduate work in this area, but also as an excellent preparation for law school.

A minor in philosophy is recommended to complement many other majors. A number of philosophy courses are related to specific disciplines including: Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Art, Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Religion, Philosophy of Literature, Business Ethics, and Ethics in Health Professions. Courses in the history of philosophy provide a valuable supplement to courses in the History Department.


Philosophy Major

B.A.; B.S. degrees

Required Courses (21 hours)

PHL 100 - Introduction to Philosophy 3(3-0)
PHL 140 - Introduction to Logic 3(3-0)
PHL 200 - History of Philosophy: Classical Period 3(3-0)
PHL 218 - Ethical Theory 3(3-0)
PHL 302 - History of Philosophy: Modern Period 3(3-0)
PHL 320 - Theory of Knowledge 3(3-0)
PHL 490 - Senior Seminar 3(3-0)

Electives (12 hours)

At least six hours must be chosen from the following:
PHL 225 - Foundations of Cognitive Science 3(3-0)
PHL 325 - Philosophy of Mind 3(3-0)
PHL 340 - Intermediate Logic 3(3-0)
PHL 390 - Philosophy of Science 3(3-0)
PHL 405 - Major Philosophers 3(3-0)
PHL 410 - Philosophy of Law 3(3-0)
PHL 418 - Advanced Moral Philosophy 3(3-0)
PHL 422 - Political and Social Philosophy 3(3-0)
PHL 426 - Feminist Theory 3(3-0)
PHL 480 - Philosophy of the Arts 3(3-0)
Other electives are to be chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor. Philosophy majors planning to go to graduate school in philosophy are encouraged to take PHL 340.

Total: 33 semester hours

Philosophy courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis may not be applied toward a philosophy major.


Philosophy Minor

B.A.; B.A.A.; B.S.; B.S. in B.A. degrees

Required Courses (20 hours)

A minor in philosophy consists of 20 credit hours in philosophy. The program will be designed to fit the individual needs or interests of the students. Students are encouraged to consult a department advisor.
Philosophy courses taken on a Credit/No Credit basis may be applied toward a philosophy minor.

Total: 20 semester hours