Miami University
Department of Philosophy

Hall Auditorium | PHONE: 513.529.2440 | FAX: 513.529.4731

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things."
-Descartes

The Philosophy Major

Learning Outcomes
Students will learn fundamental critical thinking skills, including how to:

  1. Read, understand, and evaluate complex philosophical texts (including for arguments, presuppositions, perspective, and purpose)
  2. Formulate a thesis by identifying, developing, and clearly presenting their own perspective on a problem, question, idea, or text, and making clear its context and significance
  3. Support their thesis with appropriate evidence (argument and exegesis), using philosophical sources to support and situate their interpretation of a text and/or stand on an issue
  4. Organize and effectively communicate their ideas to both philosophical and non-philosophical audiences

Who Should Major In Philosophy?
Philosophy is the study of the most basic ideas and ideals through which we understand ourselves and our world. As the pursuit of truth or, in its original Greek meaning, the love of wisdom, philosophy asks about who we are, the nature of the universe, and what it means to lead a good life. The philosophy major provides students with the opportunity to study some of the most important texts and arguments of human thought, and to reflect on the nature of such values as truth, beauty, justice, and freedom. Students of philosophy gain insight into the origin and development of fundamental concepts, and they learn to think and argue well, negotiate diverse perspectives, evaluate conflicting claims to truth, analyze ideas, and reason clearly. Because the major emphasizes effective communication, especially understanding and developing arguments, and writing meaningfully and with clarity, philosophy majors are well prepared with skills that are not only essential to most careers, but also the foundation of engaged and responsible citizenship. Philosophy is an ideal major for any student interested in examining, responding to, and being challenged by ideas, arguments, and theories concerning the fundamental questions of human meaning.

Requirements For The B.A. In Philosophy
The Department of Philosophy is in the College of Arts and Science. Philosophy majors must meet:

  • The Miami Plan for Liberal Education Requirements
  • The General Requirements of the College of Arts and Science
  • The College of Arts and Science Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts Degree
  • Other "Undergraduate Academic Requirements" set forth in the Student Handbook

To complete the major in philosophy students must take a total of 35 philosophy credits, including:

  • PHL 301 (Ancient Philosophy)
  • PHL 302 (Modern Philosophy)
  • PHL 245 (Writing Philosophy)
  • PHL 404 (Capstone)
  • Two 400 level seminars (excluding the capstone and/or independent studies)
  • An additional 12 credits of philosophy (with no more than one 100 level course and two 200 level courses)

Language
The Philosophy Department has no foreign langauge requirements of its own for the major; however, the College of Arts and Science has a foreign language requirement that you must meet.

The most important foreign langauges for the study of Western philosophy are German and French. These are generally required in graduate programs leading to a Ph.D. degree. A philosophy major contemplating graduate work might, therefore, find it advantageous to take French or German. Depending upon a specialized interested in Ancient or Medieval Philosophy, Greek and Latin are recommended as alternative, or additional, langauges worth studying. If interested in Eastern Philosophy, Chinese or Japanese might be best. The major's advisor is available to provide advice on the appropriate foreign language.

For more information, please contact the Chief Departmental Advisor.