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Major in Philosophy
Deeper questions. Sharper skills.
Searching for truth behind the noise, the reality behind the fog? Then philosophy at Clark is right for you. The philosophy major at Clark explores the fundamental questions of life, knowledge, and right and wrong. Think beyond the easy assumptions and hidden biases. Reveal truth. Investigate and logically evaluate arguments, and understand the basis for morality.
As our experienced faculty guide your learning, you’ll develop superior writing and speaking skills while you engage in deep, conceptual analysis — whether by investigating the morality of art, debating environmental ethics, or examining the relationship between science and theology. We invite you to join our thinking community in our pursuit of knowledge and truth.
Why Study Philosophy at Clark?
- At Clark, you’ll be taught, advised, and mentored by philosophers with international reputations in fields ranging from Ancient Greek philosophy to biomedical ethics.
- You’ll join a community of philosophy majors headed for careers in law, medicine, environmental policy, innovation, public health, finance, and research — many of whom are double-majoring in fields as diverse as physics, theatre arts, biology, psychology, mathematics, and political science.
- Share a dedicated intellectual home — Beck House — with fellow philosophy students and faculty members.
Professors lauded for commitment to teaching. research
English/philosophy major blends experience, writing in perfect measure
Your Will. Your Way.
The Major Path
At Clark, your first course in philosophy is likely to be a First-Year Intensive (FYI) seminar or a course in ethics, such as Personal Values, Social and Political Ethics, or Environmental Ethics. Your last course will be a dedicated capstone seminar, reserved for graduating senior philosophy majors, devoted to collaborative, individual research projects around a central theme.
In between, you’ll take two courses in the history of philosophy, one in formal logic, one in epistemology, one in metaphysics, one in ethics and social philosophy, and advanced electives on single philosophers, movements, or topics. Few of your classes will have more than 24 students, and many will be limited to 12.
You’ll also be required to complete either a second major, a minor, or a concentration.
Qualified students can join the Clark chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honor society.
Excellence in Philosophical Studies
This award is presented to two philosophy majors who have achieved excellence in philosophical studies.
David N. Saltman ’83 Undergraduate Prize for Excellence in Philosophy
Logic Prize in Philosophy
This prize is awarded annually by the Philosophy Department faculty to a Clark undergraduate student who has demonstrated exemplary work in the area of symbolic logic.
Skills you will learn include:
- Close reading of texts — the scholarly interpretation of classic texts of civilization
- Careful analysis of arguments — the formal study of symbolic logic and informal study of the principles of good evidence and persuasive arguments
- Clear and focusing writing — ensuring that we communicate difficult ideas in accessible ways
- Clarity and precision in thought — the cornerstone of philosophical methodology
- Integrating ideas — in addition to traditional philosophical subjects, philosophy engages in a wide spectrum of special topics, such as the philosophy of history, science, and art
During your junior year, you might be accepted into the philosophy honors program. Joining the program means you’ll work closely with a professor to create a thesis on a topic of your choice. Examples of recent honors theses topics are:
- Kant and Bell: Form in Modern Art
- North-South Biomedical Research: Moral Problems of Justice & Consent
- Soren Kierkegaard on Being Human
- Adherence to Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy for HIV Positive Individuals: Biological and Ethical Considerations
The LEEP difference
An education merging knowledge, action, and impact
With Liberal Education and Effective Practice, lessons begin in the classroom but never end there. Your learning includes world and workplace experiences that forge your skills and shape your path.
We’ve Got It Covered
Art and Morality
Artistic expression has long been linked with controversy. In this course, you’ll draw on examples from the arts, the media, and the political realm to examine the role of morality in the creative process.
Immerse yourself in the mind of one of the most brilliant philosophers of all time. Student of Socrates and teacher of Aristotle, Plato helped shape Athens’ Golden Age, and his works remain highly relevant today.
Reason and Political Disagreement
Can reason change someone’s mind in an emotionally charged political debate? Examine a real-world debate and engage with its participants and stakeholders to see if rational arguments can heal these divides.
The Educated Robot: Artificial Intelligence and Epistemic Values
Attempts to create a mechanistic version of the human mind raise a multitude of questions. Reflect on the nature of mind, scientific models of thinking, and knowledge-based values like wisdom and understanding.
Science, Religion and Reality
Science and religion offer two different ways of understanding reality. While assessing these approaches, you’ll develop your ability to read complex texts, write logically, think analytically, and argue cogently.
Explore what the Department of Philosophy has to offer.