Program of Study (CAS Bulletin)

Philosophy (2016 - 2018)

Major in Philosophy

A major in philosophy requires ten 4-point courses (40 points) in the department. These ten courses must include the following:

  • One (and only one) introductory course (PHIL-UA 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7)
  • Logic (PHIL-UA 70)
  • History of Ancient Philosophy (PHIL-UA 20)
  • History of Modern Philosophy (PHIL-UA 21)
  • Ethics (PHIL-UA 40) or Nature of Values (PHIL-UA 41) or Political Philosophy (PHIL-UA 45)
  • Epistemology (PHIL-UA 76) or Metaphysics (PHIL-UA 78) or Philosophy of Science (PHIL-UA 90)
  • Philosophy of Mind (PHIL-UA 80) or Philosophy of Language (PHIL-UA 85)
  • One topics course (PHIL-UA 101, PHIL-UA 102, PHIL-UA 103, or PHIL-UA 104)
  • The remaining two courses may be chosen from any departmental offerings, except introductory courses.

All students must begin with one of the introductory courses. Satisfactory completion of any one course at the introductory level is a prerequisite for all of the other courses required for the major, except Logic. It is recommended that those considering a major take Logic as soon as possible.

No credit toward the major is awarded for a course with a grade lower than C.

Joint Major in Language and Mind

This major, intended as an introduction to cognitive science, is administered by the Departments of Linguistics, Philosophy, and Psychology. Ten courses (40 points) with a grade of C or higher are required (four in linguistics, one in philosophy, four in psychology, and one additional course).

The linguistics component consists of these four courses (16 points):

  • Language and Mind (LING-UA 3, formerly 28)
  • Two courses chosen from the following:
    • Introduction to Semantics (LING-UA 4)
    • Phonological Analysis (LING-UA 12) [Prerequisite: Sound and Language (LING-UA 11), offered only in the fall]
    • Grammatical Analysis (LING-UA 13)
  • One course chosen from the following:
    • Introduction to Semantics (LING-UA 4)
    • Psycholinguistics (LING-UA 5)
    • Patterns in Language (LING-UA 6)
    • Sound and Language (LING-UA 11)
    • Form, Meaning, and the Mind (LING-UA 31)
    • Propositional Attitudes (LING-UA 35)
    • Neural Bases of Language (LING-UA 43 or PSYCH-UA 300)
    • Linguistics as Cognitive Science (LING-UA 48)
    • Learning to Speak (LING-UA 54)
    • Introduction to Morphology at an Advanced Level (LING-UA 55)

The philosophy component is any one of the following three courses (4 points):

  • Minds and Machines (PHIL-UA 5)
  • Logic (PHIL-UA 70)
  • Philosophy of Language (PHIL-UA 85)

The psychology component consists of four courses (16 points):

  • Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences (PSYCH-UA 10)
  • Cognition (PSYCH-UA 29)
  • One course from:
    • The Psychology of Language (PSYCH-UA 56)
    • Language Acquisition and Cognitive Development (PSYCH-UA 300)
    • Neural Bases of Language (PSYCH-UA 300)
    • Speech: A Window into the Developing Mind (PSYCH-UA 300)
  • One course chosen from:
    • Perception (PSYCH-UA 22)
    • Introduction to Cognitive Neuroscience (PSYCH-UA 25)
    • Laboratory in Perception (PSYCH-UA 44)
    • Laboratory in Human Cognition (PSYCH-UA 46)
    • The Psychology of Language (PSYCH-UA 56)
    • Language Acquisition and Cognitive Development (PSYCH-UA 300)
    • Neural Bases of Language (PSYCH-UA 300)
    • Speech: A Window into the Developing Mind (PSYCH-UA 300)

The tenth course (4 points) will be one of the above-listed courses that has not already been chosen to satisfy the departmental components.

For advisement, language and mind majors should consult with the directors of undergraduate studies of the participating departments.

Minor in Philosophy

A minor in philosophy requires four 4-point courses (16 points) in the department. These four courses must include one (and only one) introductory course (PHIL-UA 1-7), and one course from each of the department’s three subject groupings:

  • Group 1: History of Philosophy
  • Group 2: Ethics, Values, and Society
  • Group 3: Logic, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Mind and Language

No credit toward the minor is awarded for a course with a grade lower than C.

Independent Study

A student may register for an independent study course (PHIL-UA 301, 302; 2 or 4 points per term) if he or she obtains the consent of a faculty member who approves the study project and agrees to serve as adviser. The student must also obtain the approval of either the department chair or the director of undergraduate studies. The student may take no more than one such course in any given semester and no more than two such courses in total, unless granted special permission by either the department chair or the director of undergraduate studies.

Honors Program for Students Graduating in and After May 2019

The following regulations apply to the class of 2019 and beyond. Honors majors graduating before 2019 will continue under the old regulations (below).

Honors in philosophy will be awarded to majors who (1) have a GPA of 3.65 or higher both in philosophy and overall and (2) successfully complete the honors program. The program requires eleven courses in philosophy, ten of which satisfy the requirements of the ordinary philosophy major. The eleventh course is a 6-credit, two-term thesis project.

The department will offer two advanced seminars: PHIL-UA 200 in the spring semester and PHIL-UA 201 in the fall. The honors program requires two of these seminars, at least one of which must be taken before the end of the junior year. (At the discretion of the director of undergraduate studies, a seminar with the same number may be taken twice, provided the topics covered are sufficiently different.) These seminars are open to all students having at least a GPA of 3.65 in philosophy and overall, whether or not they plan to apply to the honors program. The seminars introduce students to a variety of topics that are appropriate for honors theses. In the normal case, these seminars will count as electives toward the philosophy major.

Students wishing to enter the honors program must submit a thesis proposal, endorsed by a faculty thesis advisor, before the end of their junior year. In the normal case, the proposal will consist of a paper that the student plans to expand into an honors thesis. It is not required that the paper be written in an advanced seminar, although the seminars will provide opportunities for writing papers appropriate for this purpose. (The thesis advisor need not be the faculty member who taught the course in which the paper was originally written.)

Upon admission into the honors program, students are expected to read for the thesis over the summer between junior and senior years. Students then enroll in PHIL-UA 202 in the fall of the senior year (to be taught for the first time in fall 2019). This is a 6 credit course consisting of independent thesis work (under the advisor’s supervision) plus a thesis-writing discussion workshop (led by a member of the faculty). The thesis is due at the end of January term of the senior year, with oral thesis exams to be held in the first week of the spring semester.

Honors Program for Students Graduating Before May 2019

Honors in philosophy will be awarded to majors who (1) have an overall GPA of 3.65 and an average in philosophy courses of 3.65 and (2) successfully complete the honors program. This program consists of the following three 4-point courses (12 points). (Note: of these courses, only the first two may be counted toward the ten courses required for the major.)

The Junior Honors Proseminar (PHIL-UA 200) is taken in the spring semester of junior year. It introduces students to core readings in some of the main areas of current philosophy and provides an intensive training in writing philosophy. Admission to this course usually requires a GPA, both overall and in philosophy courses, of at least 3.65, as well as the permission of the director of undergraduate studies.

Next, the Senior Honors Seminar (PHIL-UA 201) is taken in the fall semester of senior year. Students develop, present, and discuss their thesis projects; they also select, and begin to meet separately with, their individual thesis advisers. Entry to this seminar requires completion of the Junior Honors Proseminar and usually a GPA of at least 3.65, both overall and in the philosophy major (or permission of the director of undergraduate studies).

Finally, Senior Honors Research (PHIL-UA 202) is taken in the spring semester of senior year. Each student continues to meet separately with his or her individual thesis adviser, producing and discussing a series of rough drafts. The final version is submitted in April. It must be approved by the thesis adviser, as well as by a second faculty reader, for honors to be awarded. The student must also finish with a GPA of at least 3.65 both overall and in the major (no exceptions).