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Undergraduate: Philosophy

  • Program Overview

    Philosophy (PHI)

    Philosophy examines the presuppositions and the conceptual foundations of all human activities, whether practical or theoretical. It is concerned with forms of knowledge (science, belief, self-examination); forms of human interaction (society, political life, morality, religion, justice); our practical relation to the environment (nature, technology, economics); and our creative productivity (art, literature). It has been interdisciplinary from its inception. The study of philosophy provides the knowledge and skills to reflect upon, analyze, and examine ourselves and the world we inhabit, and is the record of humanity’s quest to understand itself. It also provides the skills that enable life-long learning and versatile professional development.

    A major in philosophy gives students access to the fruits of 2,500 years of thought on matters of ultimate concern. It encourages and provides the means of thinking effectively about timeless questions through a study of important writings on these topics. A successful student of philosophy is equipped to engage in intellectual conversation on a range of topics of both classical and contemporary concern. The study of philosophy encourages breadth and depth of understanding and promotes the ability to think and write cogently and rigorously.

    Philosophy majors prepare themselves for a wide range of professional and business occupations that value highly developed skills of analysis, comprehensive thinking, and communication. Students majoring in Philosophy commonly pursue careers in law, medicine, business, technology, public service, teaching, editing and publishing, and academia. In addition to its focus on the liberal art curriculum, the Department of Philosophy offers courses in feminism and gender studies, computation and consciousness, philosophy of science, technology and the environment, and non-Western Philosophies.

  • Degrees and Requirements

    Requirements for the Major and Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

    Requirements for the Major in Philosophy (PHI)

    The major in Philosophy leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree. Philosophy courses are distributed among three categories indicated, in parentheses after the title of the course. Courses offered for the major must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

    Completion of the major requires 36 credits.

    1. PHI 108 Logical and Critical Thinking or PHI 220 Introduction to Symbolic Logic (Students who expect to pursue graduate study in Philosophy should choose PHI 220)
    2. PHI 300 Ancient Philosophy and PHI 306 Modern Philosophy
    3. PHI 458 Speak Effectively Before an Audience (upper-division speaking requirement)
    4. PHI 459 Write Effectively In Philosophy (upper-division writing requirement)
    5. PHI 395 Junior Seminar
    6. PHI 401 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 402 Analysis of Philosophic Texts
    7. 21 additional credits of Philosophy coursework. Note that no more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.

    Philosophy majors must achieve an evaluation of S (Satisfactory) in PHI 458 Speak Effectively Before an Audience and PHI 459 Write Effectively in Philosophy, which separately may be taken in conjunction with PHI 395 Junior Seminar and/or another 300-level philosophy course that calls for public speaking to satisfy the speaking requirement (SPK) or calls for intensive writing to satisfy the upper-division writing requirement (WRTD), respectively. Students who wish to satisfy these requirements must inform the instructor of their intention to do so no later than the third week of the semester. The student's essays and public speaking will be appraised for the advanced writing and public speaking skills, respectively, appropriate to Philosophy majors in addition to the appraisal for the course. A student must satisfy the upper division speaking and writing requirements in order to register for PHI 401 Individual Systems of the Great Philosophers or PHI 402 Analysis of Philosophic Texts.

    Note:

    1. No more than two 100-level philosophy courses may be used to satisfy major requirements.
    2. Please note that Philosophy course descriptions are very general and that precise topics can vary even between sections. More detailed up to date information may be found at www.stonybrook.edu/philosophy

    Honors Program in Philosophy

    To qualify for the honors program, a student must be a junior or a senior in the major with an overall g.p.a. of at least 3.00 and a g.p.a. in philosophy of 3.50. The student must maintain this average throughout participation in the honors program. To seek honors, a student must plan a program prior to the first semester of the senior year with a faculty advisor and the director of undergraduate studies. The program consists of three courses at the 300 level or higher, concentrated on related aspects of a central problem. At least one of the courses should be PHI 495, the Philosophy Honors Thesis course under the direction of the advisor and lead to the completion of an honors thesis. This paper is reviewed by the advisor and one other member of the Philosophy faculty and by a faculty member from outside the Department. The senior paper is then the focus of an oral examination. Honors are awarded upon passage of the examination.

    Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy (PHI)

    The minor in Philosophy requires 18 credits, which must include at least nine credits in upper-division courses. The minor must be approved by the director of undergraduate studies. Students anticipating a minor may select one of the following emphases: history of philosophy; logic, science, and technology; moral, political, and legal issues; literature and the arts. Students pursuing the Political Theory/Philosophy track in the Political Science major may fulfill the Philosophy minor with 15 PHI credits, counting two of their upper-division POL electives in place of one PHI course. Alternatively, a student may design a minor in Philosophy tailored to his or her own interests, subject to approval by the director of undergraduate studies. Courses offered for the minor must be passed with a letter grade of C or higher. No more than one 100-level course can be counted toward satisfying the minor requirements.

    Undergraduate Research Tracks in Philosophy

    Occasionally, Undergraduate Research tracks are offered in Philosophy. These tracks afford students special opportunities to do sophisticated and concentrated research on a particular topic in philosophy while still undergraduates. Seven courses are required over a three-year period. The first five courses provide important skills and background. In the third year, the research team, which consists of a faculty member and a small group of students, spends two semester-long research courses on a philosophical project of professional caliber, doing work that may even lead to publication. More specific information on available Under-graduate Research tracks, including particular topics and the courses designed for them, are available from the Undergraduate Office.

    Study Abroad

    Philosophy majors and other interested students who would like to spend a semester two abroad should consult the Depart­ment's director of undergraduate studies. With the permission of the Department, Philosophy majors may also use credits from other study abroad programs to satisfy major requirements.




  • Sequence

    Sample Course Sequence for the Major in Philosophy

    A course planning guide for this major may be found hereThe major course planning guides are not part of the official Undergraduate Bulletin, and are only updated periodically for use as an advising tool. The Undergraduate Bulletin supersedes any errors or omissions in the major course planning guides.  

    FRESHMAN

    FALL Credits
    First Year Seminar 101 1
    WRT 101 3
    PHI 100
    3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    Elective
    3
     Total 16
     
    SPRING Credits
    First Year Seminar 102 1
    WRT 102  3
    PHI 264 3
    SBC 3
    SBC 3
    Elective 3
     Total 16
     
    SOPHOMORE

    FALL Credits
    PHI 220 3
    PHI 200
    3
    SBC 3
    Elective 3
    Elective
     3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    PHI 377  3
    PHI 206 3
    SBC 3
    Elective 3
    Elective
     3
     Total 15
     
    JUNIOR

    FALL Credits
    PHI 395 and PHI 459 3
    Upper-division Philosophy elective 3
    Elective  3
    Upper-division SBC  3
    Upper-division SBC  3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    Upper-division Philosophy elective 3
    Upper-division elective 3
    Upper-division elective 3
    Elective 3
    Elective 3
     Total 15

     

    SENIOR

    FALL Credits
    PHI 368  3
    PHI 401  3
    SBC  3
    PHI 458 0
    Upper-division elective  3
    Elective  3
     Total 15
     
    SPRING Credits
    PHI 372
    3
    Upper-division elective  3
    Elective   3 
    Elective  3
     Total 12

     

  • Contact

    Philosophy (PHI)

    Major and Minor in Philosophy

    Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Sciences

    Chair:  Robert Crease

    Director of Undergraduate Studies:  Harvey Cormier

    Assistant to the Chair: Alissa Betz

    Undergraduate Coordinator:  Lisa-Beth Platania

    Office: 213 Harriman Hall

    Phone: (631) 632-7570

    Website:  http://www.stonybrook.edu/philosophy/

    Minors of particular interest to students majoring in Philosophy: Art History (ARH), Studio Art (ARS), Biology (BIO), Computer Science (CSE), English (EGL), History (HIS), Journalism (JRN), Linguistics (LIN), Mathematics (MAT), Physics (PHY), Political Science (POL), Religious Studies (RLS), Women's and Gender Studies (WST)

     

     

     

     

  • Courses
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