The Philosophy Department at Amherst College promotes the following:

  • familiarity with the central figures and texts in the history of philosophy, both ancient and modern;
  • familiarity with, and thoughtful reflection upon, contemporary philosophical topics and practices;
  • the ability to read, analyze, and articulate arguments in primary philosophical texts and in classroom discussion, and to provide a fair and balanced evaluation of them;
  • the ability to communicate clearly, precisely, and cogently in speech and writing;
  • the ability to offer original arguments in support of philosophical positions; and
  • the ability to anticipate and even welcome objections to one’s views, and to respond to these objections reasonably, imaginatively, and respectfully.

Students who complete the philosophy major will reach a high level of mastery in all these areas. In addition, they:

  • will acquire a broad understanding of the work of major figures in the history of philosophy from ancient Greece to the twentieth century;
  • will develop a deeper and more detailed understanding of a major historical figure or movement;
  • will become conversant with essential questions and ideas in the core areas of philosophy such as ethics, aesthetics, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of language;
  • will engage intensively with cutting-edge philosophical investigations; and
  • will learn basic formal logic and how to apply logical techniques in philosophy and elsewhere.
Tags:  Philosophy Major