Students majoring in philosophy usually begin by taking a 100-level philosophy course in their first or second year, e.g., P110 Introduction to Philosophy or P102 Critical Thinking and Applied Ethics. P110 is our basic beginning survey course. It introduces students to basic areas, figures, terms, and problems in philosophy. P102 focuses more narrowly on issues in ethics and ethical theory, one of the major areas of the discipline. There are other philosophy courses that meet the campuswide general education requirement in critical thinking, which may also be counted towards the major. These include P105 Critical Thinking and P101 Philosophy in the Public Sphere. The Common Core Phil-T190 courses (topics vary) may also be used. Although a 100-level philosophy course is not required for the major, students planning to major in philosophy are advised to begin with a course at this level.
The philosophy major gives students the opportunity to take small, focused classes that delve deeply into philosophical questions, and that show how thinking through these questions can help illuminate pressing social and individual issues in today’s world.
Minor in Philosophy emphasizes clear, critical, and logical thinking about philosophical problems by locating these problems in everyday experience and in the writings of the great philosophers.
Cognitive Science encompasses the description, modeling, analysis, and general study of cognitive (knowing, perceiving, conceiving) processes.
Religious Studies is an interdisciplinary program administered by the Religious Studies Committee. By choosing courses judiciously, a student can complete a minor in Religious Studies.
Women’s and Gender Studies provides students a coherent, but flexible, program of study examining scholarship and theory on the history, status, contributions, and experiences of women and men in diverse cultural communities.
Global climate change and environmental degradation offer both new challenges and opportunities as government, businesses, and the public look for solutions. The Sustainability Studies Program is carefully designed to help students understand and respond to these complicated issues and to lead the way in the creation of a sustainable future, while preparing them for the new jobs of the emerging green economy.
Coursework in the Major
Prospective majors should choose their philosophy courses so that, by graduation, they have taken at least 27 credit hours of coursework in philosophy. Of these 27 required credit hours, 24 must be in courses at the 200 level or above and 15 must be in courses from the following four required subject areas: (1) the history of philosophy (two courses required), (2) logic or the history and philosophy of science (one course required), (3) ethics or social and political philosophy (one course required), and (4) metaphysics or epistemology (one course required). (See the statement of degree requirements above for a listing of courses that satisfy these area requirements.) Because courses in the four required subject areas might not be offered every semester, it is important that students planning to major in philosophy not pass up opportunities to take these courses when they are offered.
The department requires that all philosophy majors in their senior year submit a portfolio of three or more papers drawn from their philosophy coursework at IU South Bend. These papers are read by a committee consisting of at least two full-time department members and then discussed with the student and other members of the department. Typically this will occur in a meeting with all graduating majors. The point of the portfolio is not just to collect and evaluate examples of a student's best work but to help the student achieve a larger perspective on his or her work in philosophy and to provide specific guidelines for further progress.