Philosophy Minor

Description. The Philosophy minor is designed to give students interested in philosophy the opportunity to do intensive work in the field and have that work recognized. Philosophy — a term derived from the ancient Greek philosophia — means “love of wisdom.” As a discipline, philosophy strives to seek thoughtful and rigorous responses to the most fundamental “Why?” questions about ourselves, the universe and our place in the universe. Areas of study include being or existence, knowledge, ethics, political philosophy and various “philosophy of . . .” issues (e.g., philosophy of law, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, etc.). Some core questions that philosophers ask range from “What is the nature of justice?” and “How should I live my life?” to “Do humans have free will?” and “What sort of justification is required for me to have knowledge?”

Learning Outcomes. Students will:

• Recognize and reconstruct arguments.
• Critically evaluate arguments.
• Appreciate different responses to a given philosophical question.
• Offer a thoughtfully defended thesis on a given philosophical question.
• Entertain and respond to challenges to one’s thesis.

Rationale. A Philosophy minor, which is noted on the student's final transcript, is extremely beneficial for students planning careers in law school or various graduate programs. A liberal arts and humanities education, according to some of the top law schools, is the best preparation for understanding, synthesizing, and evaluating the legal theory and moral reasoning employed in legal judgments. Both law schools and graduate schools place a premium on the sort of critical thinking and conceptual analysis that philosophy uniquely provides. In addition, there is statistical evidence that those who major in philosophy consistently score higher than those in nearly every other major on standardized exams such as the LSAT and the GRE.

Minor coordinator. Professor Mary Ann McClure, Department of Philosophy (212.237.8340,


• A student must complete 18 credits (six courses) in philosophy.
• PHI 231 is required (also fulfills the general education requirement for the Flexible Core: Individual & Society area).
• At least two courses must be at the 300-level or higher.
• Independent study courses, arranged between the student and a supervising faculty member, and experimental courses can be used to fill the 18-credit requirement.
• A maximum of two courses can overlap with a student's major, other minor or program.

PART ONE. REQUIRED COURSES.                      Subtotal: 3 credits

PHI 231The Big Questions: An Introduction into Philosophy

PART TWO. ELECTIVE COURSES.                       Subtotal: 15 credits
Select five

HJS 250 Justice in the Western Traditions
PHI 102 Ethical Foundations of the Just Society
PHI 105 Critical Thinking and Informal Logic
PHI 201 Philosophy of Art
PHI 202 Philosophical Issues in American Pluralism
PHI 203 Political Philosophy
PHI 204 Logic
PHI 205 Philosophy of Religion
PHI 210 Ethical Theory
PHI 214 Environmental Ethics
PHI 224/ANT 224/PSY 224/SOC 224 Death, Dying and Society: A Life Crises Management Issue
PHI 302Philosophical Issues of Rights
PHI 304 Philosophy of the Mind
PHI 310/LAW 310 Ethics and the Law
PHI 315 Philosophy of the Rule of Law
PHI 321/CRJ 321 Police Ethics
PHI 322/CRJ 322 Judicial and Correctional Ethics 
PHI 326 Topics in the History of Modern Thought
PHI 327 Nineteenth-Century European and American Philosophy
PHI 333/GEN 333 Theories of Gender and Sexuality
PHI 340 Utopian Thought
PHI 343 Existentialism
PHI 351 Classical Chinese Philosophy
PHI 354/AFR 354 Africana Philosophy
PHI 374 Epistemology
PHI 377 Reality, Truth and Being: Metaphysics
PHI 423 Selected Topics in Justice

Note: Credit toward the minor may be given for courses taken elsewhere at the College if they include substantial philosophical content. Please contact the Philosophy minor coordinator.

Total: 18 credits