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Philosophy B.A.

Division of Humanities - Adm
Division of Humanities
  • Program Type: Baccalaureate
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2021
  • Required credits to graduate with this degree: 120
  • Required credits within the major: 40
  • Degree: Bachelor of Arts
The philosophy program provides an environment in which students receive rich, well-rounded instruction in philosophy, whose pursuit is essential to a liberal arts education. Program Student Learning Outcomes UMM's philosophy curriculum offers coursework in all major subfields of philosophy including the history of philosophy, metaphysics and logic, epistemology, and values. As a field of study, philosophy is at the core of a liberal arts education, as its skills encourage independent thought and interdisciplinary, integrated inquiry. Specifically, UMM's philosophy program offers students the opportunity to: Explore philosophy's fundamental questions and proposed answers; Cultivate their own philosophical powers, which include creativity, sensitivity, intellectual courage, open-mindedness and critical-mindedness, logical rigor, and analytical precision; Join the great conversation by contributing their own considered insights; Hone their ability to speak and write effectively.
Program Delivery
This program is available:
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Admission Requirements
For information about University of Minnesota admission requirements, visit the Office of Admissions website.
General Requirements
All students are required to complete general University and college requirements. For more information, see the general education requirements.
Program Requirements
Students are required to complete 2 semester(s) of any second language. with a grade of C-, or better, or S, or demonstrate proficiency in the language(s) as defined by the department or college.
No grades below C- are allowed. Courses may not be taken S/N, unless offered S/N only. A minimum GPA of 2.00 is required in the major to graduate. The GPA includes all, and only, University of Minnesota coursework. Grades of "F" are included in GPA calculation until they are replaced.
Required Courses
PHIL 1101 - Introduction to Philosophy [HUM] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 1801 - THINK: An Introduction to Philosophy [IC] (4.0 cr)
PHIL 1102 - Introduction to Symbolic Logic [M/SR] (4.0 cr)
PHIL 1103 - Introductory Ethics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
Core Courses
Take 12 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 3101 - Metaphysics [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3121 - Political Philosophy [SS] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3141 - Epistemology [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3151 - History of Ancient Philosophy [HIST] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3171 - History of Modern Philosophy [HIST] (4.0 cr)
Advanced Seminar
One 49xx course from the following:
PHIL 4902 - Advanced Seminar in History of Philosophy [HUM] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 4903 - Advanced Seminar in Metaphysics and Epistemology [HUM] (4.0 cr)
or PHIL 4904 - Advanced Seminar in Value Theory [HUM] (4.0 cr)
Elective Courses
Take 8 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 2112 - Professional Ethics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2113 - International and Biomedical Ethics [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2114 - Environmental Ethics [ENVT] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2121 - Philosophy of Religion [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2141 - Analytic Feminism [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2151 - Philosophy of Mind [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 2162 - Ethics of Love and Sex [E/CR] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3112 - Free Will and Moral Responsibility [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 3131 - Philosophy of Law [SS] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4000 - History of Philosophy Seminar [HIST] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4002 - Existentialism [HIST] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4100 - Contemporary Moral Debates [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4121 - Philosophy of Language [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4130 - Contemporary Issues in Philosophy [HUM] (4.0 cr)
· PHIL 4131 - Personal Identity, Proper Names, and Essences [HUM] (4.0 cr)
Additional 4xxx Elective
One additional 4xxx course exclusive of those used to meet other major requirements or electives.
Take 4 or more credit(s) from the following:
· PHIL 4xxx
 
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PHIL 1101 - Introduction to Philosophy (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1101/Phil 1801
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
An introduction to fundamental philosophical problems in areas such as metaphysics (what exists?), epistemology (what can we know? and how can we know it?), and ethics (what actions are moral and immoral? and what is the good life?), with an emphasis on developing the reading, writing, and analytical skills required for philosophical investigation.
PHIL 1801 - THINK: An Introduction to Philosophy (IC)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Course Equivalencies: Phil 1101/Phil 1801
Typically offered: Periodic Fall
How should we live our lives? What happens after death? What is the relationship between the mind and body? Does God exist? Why do bad things happen to good people? Examine classical works in philosophy that address these big questions about human nature and its place in the universe. Authors include: Plato, Aristotle, Epictetus, Lucretius, Sextus Empiricus, Descartes, and Hume. Work on the development of philosophical writing, reading, and speaking skills. prereq: new college student in their first semester of enrollment at UMM
PHIL 1102 - Introduction to Symbolic Logic (M/SR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
An introduction to formal or deductive logic, including basic concepts of logical argumentation, Aristotelian logic, symbolic translations, truth tables, and theory of deduction. Samples from political speeches, philosophical essays as well as original LSAT questions are analyzed.
PHIL 1103 - Introductory Ethics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Spring
An introduction to philosophical positions about the nature of morality, what makes right acts right and wrong acts wrong, and various applied-ethical debates, such a abortion, wage ethics, and animal rights. [Note: no cr for students who have received cr for Phil 2111]
PHIL 3101 - Metaphysics (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Explores fundamental metaphysical issues such as the nature of reality, the notion of personal identity, the relationship between language, thought, minds, and the world. Philosophical works of both classic and contemporary philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Quine, Putnam, and Kripke are discussed. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 3121 - Political Philosophy (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
An exploration of active debates in political theory and applied political philosophy. Topics such as political legitimacy, free speech (and hate speech), distributive justice, political equality and individual liberties, communitarianism, nationalism, immigration, and secession are discussed from a variety of political perspectives. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 3141 - Epistemology (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Explores historical and contemporary views on the limits, justification, and nature of human knowledge. Topics include experiential versus a priori knowledge, the nature of belief, skepticism, and different theories of justification. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 3151 - History of Ancient Philosophy (HIST)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Explores the views of philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, and the Stoics. Possible topics include ancient views on the nature and possibility of knowledge, the relationship of the soul to the body, and what the good life is for a human being. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 3171 - History of Modern Philosophy (HIST)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Explores views of philosophers such as Descartes, Leibniz, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant. Possible topics include the relationship of the mind to the body, and whether and how it is possible to have knowledge of the external world. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 4902 - Advanced Seminar in History of Philosophy (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Advanced seminar on selected topics in the History of Philosophy. Students read and discuss primary source material on a topic of common interest. Additionally, each student investigates a related topic in greater depth, writes a paper, and gives a public presentation. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 , sr status, instr consent
PHIL 4903 - Advanced Seminar in Metaphysics and Epistemology (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Advanced seminar on selected topics in the Metaphysics and Epistemology. Students read and discuss primary source material on a topic of common interest. In addition, each student investigates a related topic in greater depth, writes a paper, and gives a public presentation. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103, sr status, instr consent
PHIL 4904 - Advanced Seminar in Value Theory (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Grading Basis: A-F only
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Advanced seminar on selected topics in Value Theory. Students read and discuss primary source material on a topic of common interest. In addition, each student investigates a related topic in greater depth, writes a paper, and gives a public presentation. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103, sr status, instr consent
PHIL 2112 - Professional Ethics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
A critical examination of moral issues that arise in a person's professional life. Possible topics include affirmative action, autonomy in the workplace, ethical issues in advertising, corporate responsibility, coercive wage offers, distributive justice, and sexual harassment. Issues concerning race, gender, and women are included in selected modules.
PHIL 2113 - International and Biomedical Ethics (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
A general survey of topics in international and biomedical ethics. Topics may include: nuclear deterrence, humanitarian intervention, just war theory, famine relief, global justice, abortion, euthanasia, doctor-patient relationships, clinical trials, animal experimentation, and genetic engineering.
PHIL 2114 - Environmental Ethics (ENVT)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Even Year
Survey of fundamental theoretical debates in environmental ethics. Major positions in environmental ethics such as anthropocentrism and deep ecology are canvassed. Specific topics include: speciesism, the tension between animal rights and environmentalism, geoengineering, de-extinction, and indigenous environmental approaches.
PHIL 2121 - Philosophy of Religion (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
An exploration of philosophical debates concerning the nature of religion, the existence and nature of God, the relationship between faith and reason, and other targets of religious interest such as free will, the soul, and immorality.
PHIL 2141 - Analytic Feminism (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
A critical examination, from a variety of perspectives, of major philosophical positions of prominent feminist writers and movements. Possible topics include the nature and ethics of sexism, patriarchy, gender and gender differences, transgenderism, standpoint theory, hate speech, and relationship and parenting ethics.
PHIL 2151 - Philosophy of Mind (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
An introduction to several problems in the philosophy of mind, such as the mind/body problem, consciousness, and psychological explanation.
PHIL 2162 - Ethics of Love and Sex (E/CR)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Survey of fundamental theoretical debates about the ethics of love and sex. Topics include: competing accounts of erotic love, hookup culture, sexual consent and fraud, racial preferences, prostitution, polygamy and polyamory, BDSM and sexual dignity, sex robots, and sex ultimatums.
PHIL 3112 - Free Will and Moral Responsibility (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Spring
Explores ancient and contemporary debates about the nature of free will and it's value Possible topics include the relevance of free will to autonomy, moral responsibility, and living meaningfully. Possible topics include: whether the sciences tell us what free will is and/or whether we have it, whether free will is required for moral and/or legal responsibility, whether it is possible for non-humans (e.g. animals or AI) to have free will, and the role of free will in living an autonomous and meaningful life. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 3131 - Philosophy of Law (SS)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Critical examination of theoretical and normative issues in the philosophy of law, including the connection (if any) between the law and morality, the nature of criminal responsibility, debates over the purpose of punishment, theories of legal interpretation, etc.
PHIL 4000 - History of Philosophy Seminar (HIST)
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Every Fall
Intensive investigation of a particular philosophical problem, area, or work of a philosopher. Topics vary. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 4002 - Existentialism (HIST)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
Examination of some prominent thinkers often classified as "existentialists": Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, Sartre, and Camus. Topics include what human freedom is, what makes a life authentic (or inauthentic), what role passion and choice should play in acquiring our beliefs and values, and what difference (if any) God's existence or non-existence makes on the significance of our lives. prereq: any 1xxx or 2xxx or instr consent
PHIL 4100 - Contemporary Moral Debates (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Intensive investigation of a particular concern, theoretical or applied, being actively debated by ethicists. Topics vary, but students will leave the course prepared to contribute to the scholarly conversation on the issue. prereq: 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 4121 - Philosophy of Language (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Traditional and contemporary discussions of philosophical problems such as the nature of language, its relationships to the world, to human thought, and to truth; the nature of logical reasoning; metalogical problems. Readings from philosophers such as Frege, Russell, Quine, Putnam, Goodman, Wittgenstein, and Kripke. prereq: 1102 or instr consent
PHIL 4130 - Contemporary Issues in Philosophy (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 8.0]
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Exposure to, and critical examination of, philosophical issues of special contemporary interest. Topics may include the nature of analytic philosophy and its relationship to other philosophical traditions such as continental or feminist philosophy, the debate on realism and anti-realism, the notion of objectivity. prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent
PHIL 4131 - Personal Identity, Proper Names, and Essences (HUM)
Credits: 4.0 [max 4.0]
Typically offered: Periodic Fall & Spring
A seminar primarily devoted to the discussion of readings, i.e., Naming and Necessity by Saul Kripke and Reasons and Persons by Darek Parfit. Questions such as: How do proper names function? Are there essential features of persons or objects? What makes each of us the same particular individual over time? prereq: 1101 or 1102 or 1103 or instr consent