Mar 30, 2023  
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog 
2022-2023 Westminster College Catalog

Philosophy, B.A.

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Philosophy Mission Statement
The philosophy program mission is to instill in students the understanding that human thought and ideas have a history and contextual reality, especially in regards to the development of our Western tradition. Courses seek to clarify the conceptual ground upon which the Western tradition’s predilection for a reasoned understanding of reality was established, including a grasp of the logical nature of our tradition, the difference between an intuitive versus logical approach to comprehending reality, and the impact that this paradigmatic change, instanced by the Ancient Greeks, has had on defining Western Culture. This is accomplished primarily via an historical examination of Western Philosophy, through original works, seeking to instill the genealogical nature of Philosophic thought.

Learning Outcomes

  1. To acquire an understanding of the content and methods of the Western tradition of philosophy.
  2. To appreciate the role of logic in both philosophy and life, and to appreciate what constitutes philosophical thinking, critical thinking.
  3. To recognize how philosophy so conceived shapes moral and other values.
  4. To recognize that there are assumptions implicit in every decision and action, and to learn to uncover them.
  5. To discriminate between appearance and substance in all activities and endeavors.
  6. To present one’s position logically and in both written and oral form.

Philosophy, a critical and reflective discipline, fosters transferable skills applicable to most careers, fields of study, and personal endeavors. Philosophy may be teamed with virtually any other major in order to add depth and breadth to another discipline. Historically the most fundamental of the liberal arts, philosophy develops perspective, critical and creative thinking, rational standards of discourse, and sensitivity to value issues. Philosophy develops the individual’s sense of meaning and encourages the building of a coherent personal world-view. A minor in philosophy enhances almost any major by adding depth and breadth to a degree only somewhat less than that of the major. A member of the philosophy faculty will help students select courses best suited to each person’s needs.

Plus, all of the following, totaling at least 20 semester hours:

  1. Two History of Philosophy courses (PHI 200-209) Semester Hours: 8
  2. Two Topics in Philosophy courses (PHI 212-229) Semester Hours: 8
  3. One Ethics course (PHI 230-269) Semester Hours: 4


Majors enrolled in the All-College Honors Program will substitute a course numbered 660 or higher (totaling at least 4 SH) for PHI 601 .

Philosophy majors must take at least four other philosophy courses before taking 401, and normally take 401 before taking 601.

Courses from other disciplines that are recommended to students taking the major in philosophy are PS 221  or PS 323  and one course each in psychology, sociology, and history. Philosophy majors will also find it helpful to acquire a working knowledge of any of the following languages: Latin, Ancient Greek, French or German.

Students majoring in philosophy may choose to double major in almost any discipline from the humanities, natural sciences, or social sciences and to enter the All-College Honors Program. Pre-law, pre-medical, and pre-seminary students may find the philosophy major or minor especially useful. The critical thinking skills in which philosophers excel are receiving increasing recognition among today’s employers as a valuable asset in the ever more complex business and professional worlds.

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