Majors & Minors

Major Student Learning Objectives - Students graduating with a Philosophy major from Agnes Scott College will be able to:

  • explain the main positions, arguments, principles, and theories of major figures in the history of philosophy (such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Mill, and Rawls), as well as main features and tenets of important movements in the history of philosophy (such as Greek eudaimonism, Roman Stoicism, German rationalism, British empiricism, and contemporary contractarianism);
  • explain the most influential and important positions, arguments, principles, theories, and movements within the major systematic areas of philosophy, such as metaphysics, epistemology, logic, and ethics;
  • identify the thesis (or conclusion) and main argument in a philosophical text;
  • sketch or reconstruct an argument and analyze and evaluate an argument in a philosophical text;
  • distinguish valid from invalid arguments, strong from weak arguments, sound from unsound arguments;
  • use correct inference rules in arguments;
  • recognize, compare, and assess arguments for competing positions;
  • generate, compare, and assess various solutions to philosophical problems;
  • construct their own philosophical arguments;
  • present and argue for their own theses in philosophy papers;
  • explain the views and theories of others accurately, fairly, and completely;
  • raise and respond to objections in clear and systematic ways;
  • demonstrate an understanding of how philosophy illuminates and provides tools for addressing the major social and moral problems of our time.

The requirements for the major in philosophy embody two goals. The first is that the student engages with the ideas of the major philosophers through close study of primary sources. The second is that the student develops and hones techniques of critical analysis and argument construction. In fulfilling the requirements, the philosophy major gains a thorough grounding in the key areas of the discipline and develops critical and creative philosophical skills.

Requirements for the Philosophy Major

  • Logic: one course (103)
  • Metaphysics and Epistemology: two courses (among 217, 230, 210/310, 225/325)
  • Ethics: one course at the 200-level or above (among 212, 304, 318)
  • History of Philosophy: two courses (among 206/306, 208/308, 209/309)

The minimum number of courses for the major is nine.  At least two courses must be taken at the 300-level.
Depending on topic, 280 and 380 may count toward a specific requirement within the major.
Students may count Political Science 207 toward the major in philosophy.

Requirements for the Philosophy Minor

  • Metaphysics and Epistemology: one course (among 217, 230, 210/310, 225/325)
  • Ethics: one course (among 212, 304, 318)
  • History of Philosophy: one course (among 206/306, 208/308, 209/309)

The minimum number of courses for the minor is five. At least one course must be taken at the 300-level.
Depending on topic, 280 and 380 may count toward a specific requirement within the minor.
Students may count Political Science 207 toward the minor in philosophy.