The central topics of philosophy include the nature of reality (metaphysics); the ways we represent reality to ourselves and to others (philosophy of mind and philosophy of language); the nature and analysis of inference and reasoning (logic); knowledge and the ways we acquire it (epistemology and philosophy of science); and value and morality (aesthetics, ethics, and political philosophy). Students who major in philosophy at Amherst are encouraged to study broadly in all of these areas of philosophy.
Students new to philosophy should feel comfortable enrolling in any of the entry-level courses numbered in the 100s and 200s. Courses in the 300s are somewhat more advanced, typically assuming a previous course in philosophy, and those numbered 360 through 369 concentrate on philosophical movements or figures. Courses in the 400s are seminars and have restricted enrollments, a two-course prerequisite, and are more narrowly focused. No course may be used to satisfy more than one requirement.
All students are encouraged to participate in the activities of the Philosophy Club.