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Courses of Study
“Philosophy,” as William James put it, “is an attempt to think without arbitrariness or dogmatism about the fundamental issues.” Colby’s philosophy program challenges students to understand what it means to live morally in an often unjust world, to deliberate rationally about knowledge, freedom and meaning, and to appreciate deeply the natural and aesthetic dimensions of our lives. Our courses provide the historical depth, cosmopolitan breadth, and multiplicity of perspectives necessary for participating in the philosophical conversation that spans human history and reaches around the globe. The Philosophy Department cultivates skills in effective writing, close reading, clear reasoning, and creative thinking, enabling students to join this ongoing conversation. Philosophy prepares students for professional careers and a lifetime of intellectual engagement in a complex and changing world.
Requirements for the Major in PhilosophyTo complete the major in philosophy, a student must take a minimum of 10 courses. Those courses must include Philosophy 151, 231, and 232; one course in metaphysics and epistemology chosen from 239, 253, 274, 316, 317, 318, 338, 353, 373; one course in values chosen from 211, 234, 236, 238, 240, 311, 328; one course in diversity (“diversity” here includes non-Western and non-canonical philosophy) chosen from 213, 215, 217, 253, 264, 265, 266, 311, 360; and four additional courses in philosophy, only one of which can be at the 100 level, and 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 PhilosophyStudents 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 PhilosophyTo 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 and no more than one of which may be at the 100 level. The six courses must include one course in the history of Western philosophy selected from Philosophy 231, 232, 352, 353, 355, 359, 374, 378; one course in metaphysics and epistemology chosen from 239, 253, 274, 316, 317, 318, 338, 353; one course in values chosen from 211, 234, 236, 238, 311, 328; and three additional courses.
Colby College reserves the right in its sole judgement to make changes of any nature in its program, calendar, academic schedule, fees, deposits, or any other matters in this catalogue.