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Philosophical Studies

What is there? Who are we? What can we know? How should we act? What meaning, if any, is there in our lives? The philosophical studies concentration welcomes students to explore diverse approaches to these and other fundamental questions about the world and our place in it. Some philosophers address these questions by emphasizing the evaluation of arguments in accordance with deductive and inductive canons of reasoning. Others focus on the analysis of individuals in their historical and social context, as well as the political implications of various philosophical views. Religious thinkers address these questions from a standpoint of faith in a Godhead or a spiritual order of the universe. It is hoped that concentrating in philosophical studies will foster students’ appreciation of the variety, creativity, and elegance of extant responses to the above questions, and help them gain a foundation for formulating their own.


The requirements for fulfilling the concentration are:

  • 21 credits, including three credits from a course dealing with religion
  • Two 300-level courses
  • Completion of 15-19 additional credits in the program of study, as agreed upon at Moderation

At Moderation, students should seek to identify the fundamental questions that fascinate them; these will provide a framework for defining the complement to the concentration.

Sample Courses

Anthropology 214 CP Native American Religions
Anthropology 217 CP Ritual and Belief: The Anthropology of Religions
BA Seminar 300 Gödel, Escher, Bach
BA Seminar 399 Eros and Thanatos: A Study of Sexuality in the West
Literature 253 Literary Christianity
Literature 260 The Five Books of Moses
Literature 321 Literary Theory
Literature 330 The Inklings
Philosophy 203 Philosophy of Religion
Philosophy 206 CP Religions and Philosophies of East Asia
Philosophy 208 CP Buddhism: History, Teachings and Practices
Philosophy 213 Formal Logic
Social Science 302 The Foucault Effect

For detailed course descriptions, click here.

Recent Senior Theses

“Worlds, Games, and Canons: Re-imagining Fictional Semantics”
“Zeno’s Paradoxes: A Thesis without a Clever Subtitle”
“The Taxonomy and Unity of Ethical Theory”
“Olympian Twilight: An Investigation into the Treatment of Philosophical Questions in Allegorical Literature”

Faculty Contacts:

Brian Conolly, Samuel Ruhmkorff

All Faculty Teaching in Philosophy

Asma Abbas, Gabriel Asfar, Nancy Bonvillain, Christopher Coggins, Brian Conolly, Rebecca Fiske, Jamie Hutchinson, John Myers, Paul Naamon, Samuel Ruhmkorff, Maryann Tebben, Nancy Yanoshak