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Undergraduate Catalog 2014-2015

PHILOSOPHY (PHIL)

College of Arts and Humanities
1121 Skinner Building, 301-405-5689
www.philosophy.umd.edu
lgilman@umd.edu
Chair: C. Morris (Chair)
Professors: J. Bub (Distinguished University Professor), P. Carruthers, L. Darden (Distinguished Scholar Teacher), M. Frisch, P. Greenspan, J. Horty, S. Kerstein, J. Levinson (Distinguished University Professor), C. Manekin, P. Pietroski (Distinguished Scholar Teacher), G. Rey, A. Stairs (Associate Chair)
Associate Professors: S. Dwyer, J. Maffie (Visiting), D. Moller
Assistant Professors: E. Eaker (Director of Undergraduate Studies), A. Lyon, E. Pacuit, R. Singpurwalla, A. Williams
Affiliate Professors: J. Segal (Res Assoc)
Adjunct Professors: R. Rynasiewicz (Adjunct Prof)
Adjunct Associate Professors: J. Mattingly, M. Silberstein
Professors Emeriti: J. Brown, C. Cherniak, R. Martin, S. Odell, F. Suppe

The Major

The study of philosophy develops students' reasoning and expository skills and increases their understanding of the foundations of human knowledge and value. The department views philosophy as an activity rather than a body of doctrine and students can expect to receive training in clear thinking, inventive synthesis, and precise expression. For some, this will serve as preparation for graduate studies in philosophy. However, philosophical skills are useful in professions such as law, medicine, government, business management, and in any field that demands intellectual rigor. The department offers a wide range of courses, including several that deal with the philosophy of various disciplines outside philosophy itself.

Program Objectives

All philosophy programs aim to: (1) equip students with an understanding of a range of philosophers and philosophical problems, while encouraging as deep a critical engagement with those philosophers and problems as is feasible in the time available; (2) promote respect for the norms of: clarity; careful analysis; critical reflection; rational argument; sympathetic interpretation and understanding; and impartial pursuit of truth; (3) promote independence of thought and a critical and analytical approach, not only to theories and concepts, but also to the assumptions on which they are based; (4) equip students with the core skills involved in: careful reading, comprehension and compression of textual material; clear thinking; sound argumentation; and the clear and well-organized expression of ideas; (5) provide excellent teaching which is informed and invigorated by the research activities of faculty; (6) facilitate an awareness of the application of philosophical thought to other academic disciplines or to matters of public interest, encouraging students to apply philosophical skills more widely where appropriate.

Program Learning Outcomes

By the end of the program of study:
  1. Students should be competent in formal techniques, including, but not limited to, formal logic.
  2. Students should be able to present critically, yet sympathetically, philosophical views that differ from their own.
  3. Students should be able to write clearly and in an organized fashion (appropriate to the content and context, and appropriate for a graduating major).
  4. Students should be able to make out a reasoned case in support of their views (appropriate to the content and context, and appropriate for a graduating major).

Requirements for the Major

The requirements for a major in Philosophy are as follows:

A total of at least 36 hours (twelve courses) in philosophy, not counting internship courses (PHIL 386). For a course to count toward a student's major, the grade in the course must be "C-" or above. For students who matriculated in September 2012 or later, the average of all grades counted toward the major must be 2.0 or greater. Therefore, grades of "C-" will have to be balanced with higher grades. (C- counts as 1.7 toward the GPA.)

The twelve philosophy courses must be distributed as follows:

  • at least six courses numbered 300 or above, of which at least two must be numbered 400 or above
  • at least one course in logic at any level
  • at least two courses numbered 200 or above in the history of pre-twentieth century philosophy
  • at least two courses numbered 200 or above in value theory (including aesthetics and political philosophy as well as ethics)
  • at least two courses numbered 200 or above in metaphysics or epistemology (including philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion, as well as metaphysics and theory of knowledge)
Supporting Courses15 credits

Fifteen hours in a supporting area; the courses do not all have to be in the same department, but they should reflect a coherent program of study. The supporting area must be chosen in consultation with a departmental advisor. For further information, students should consult the undergraduate handbook on the philosophy department's website.

Requirements for the Minor

Requirements for the Minor

A total of at least 18 hours (six courses, at least three of which must be at least 300 level or above) in philosophy, not counting internship courses (PHIL 386). For a course to count toward a student's minor, the grade in the course must be "C-" or above. For students who matriculated in Septmeber 2012 or later, the average of all grades counted toward the minor must be 2.0 or greater. Therefore, grades of "C-" will have to be balanced with higher grades. (C- counts as 1.7 toward the GPA.) Candidates for the minor must satisfy the following distribution:

  • at least one course numbered 200 or above in the history of pre-twentieth century philosophy
  • at least one course numbered 200 or above in value theory (including aesthetics and political philosophy as well as ethics)
  • at least one course numbered 200 or above in metaphysics or epistemology (including philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion, as well as metaphysics and theory of knowledge)

Advising

Philosophy Majors must be advised each semester before registration. philadv@umd.edu

Honors Program

The Philosophy Honors Program allows exceptional students the opportunity to work closely with a member of the Philosophy faculty on a project, typically a 30-40 page philosophical paper (i.e., “Honors Thesis”), during the final two semesters of his/her undergraduate career. The two semesters of independent study with the faculty advisor culminate in the student presenting and defending the Honors Thesis before a committee consisting of 2-3 faculty members in addition to the advisor.

Successful students will graduate with Honors in Philosophy. Requirements and Procedures

  • A prospective honors student should normally have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and a GPA of 3.75 in philosophy classes with no grade below a C in any philosophy course.
    • A prospective honors student should find a willing faculty advisor in the spring semester before the senior year.*
    • The student must present a proposal to the prospective advisor at the end of the spring semester.*
    • The proposal will typically include a list of proposed readings, a clear and appropriately narrow topic, and a projected position to be defended in the Honors Thesis.
    • This proposal will then be submitted to the Undergraduate Affairs Committee for approval.
  • If the proposal is approved, the student will enroll in 498F (3 credits) the following semester and the student and advisor will agree on a schedule for meetings and the work expected by the end of the semester.
  • At the end of the semester, the advisor will evaluate the student’s progress and will decide whether the student should continue work on the Honors Thesis for another semester.
  • If, at the end of the first semester, the advisor judges that the project should not continue, the student will be given a grade for 498F but will not enroll in 498G in the subsequent semester and will not receive an Honors degree.
  • If, at the end of the first semester, the advisor thinks the project should continue, the student will enroll in 498G (3 credits) and the student and advisor will agree on a schedule of meetings and a timeline for completion of the Honors Thesis.
  • The student, in consultation with the advisor, will arrange an examining committee of at least 2 faculty members in addition to the advisor. The student will present and defend the Honors Thesis before this examining committee. The faculty advisor determines the grade for 498G but the committee determines whether the student graduates with Honors.

*or, for students graduating in December, the semester prior to the student’s next to last semester

Student Societies and Professional Organizations

The Philosophy Club holds weekly meetings during the semester to discuss philosophical topics of interest to members.

Scholarships and Financial Assistance

The Office of Student Financial Aid (OSFA) administers all types of federal, state and institutional financial assistance programs and, in cooperation with other university offices, participates in the awarding of scholarships to deserving students. For information, visit: www.financialaid.umd.edu .

Awards and Recognition

The W.E. Schlaretzki Prize is given to the most outstanding graduating senior each year. The Joseph and Beth Duckett Scholarship is given to the most outstanding junior.

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