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Chair, Professor Daniel Cohen
“Philosophy,” as William James put it, “is an attempt to think without arbitrariness or dogmatism about the fundamental issues.” One of the core disciplines of the liberal arts, philosophy provides a unique perspective on basic human activities such as the pursuit of knowledge, the creation of aesthetic value, the regulation of social and political interaction, and the search for meaning. Philosophy involves the pursuit of conceptual clarity by critically examining the assumptions and conceptual frameworks that underlie other disciplines and everyday thought. Colby’s program features a sequence of courses dealing with the history of philosophical thought, as well as courses treating the major subfields of philosophy.
Requirements for the Major in Philosophy
To complete the major in philosophy, a student must take a minimum of 10 courses, at least three of which must be at or above the 300 level and no more than two of which may be at the 100 level. Those courses must include Ancient Philosophy 231; Modern Philosophy 232; one course in logic, either 151 or 158; one course in metaphysics and epistemology chosen from 239, 253, 274, 317, 318, 338, 353, 373, 376, 377; one course in values chosen from 211, 234, 236, 238, 311,328; one course in diversity (“diversity” here includes non-Western and non-canonical philosophy) chosen from 213, 215, 253, 264, 265, 266, 311, 360; and four additional courses in philosophy, only one of which can be from 483/484, 491/492 and none from 277/278. In addition to the 10 courses, students must enroll in two semesters of the philosophy colloquium series (201 and 202). Students should consult the department about special topics course offerings (297, 298, 397, 398) that may satisfy the area requirements in logic, values, diversity, and epistemology/metaphysics.
Honors in Philosophy
Students majoring in philosophy may apply during their junior year for admission to the honors program. Permission is required; guidelines are established by the department and posted at www.colby.edu/philosophy. Successful completion of the work of the honors program and of the major will enable the student to graduate “With Honors in Philosophy.”
Requirements for the Minor in Philosophy
To complete the minor in philosophy, a student must take a minimum of six courses in philosophy, at least one of which must be at or above the 300 level. The six courses must include one course in the history of Western philosophy selected from Philosophy 231, 232, 352, 353, 355, 374, 378; one course in metaphysics and epistemology chosen from 239, 253, 274, 317, 318, 338, 353, 376, 377; one course in values chosen from 211, 234, 236, 238, 311, 328; and three additional courses, no more than one of which may be at the 100 level.