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Ergo | Summer 2012

Undergraduate Program Updates

With outstanding skill, E. J. Coffman continues to oversee the undergraduate program.

Some highlights:

  • In summer 2010, there were approximately forty philosophy majors. In summer 2011, there were approximately sixty. As of this summer, there are approximately seventy-five philosophy majors. The department is well on its way to its goal of 100 majors by summer 2014. Beyond the intrinsic merits of the discipline, this remarkable growth in the undergraduate major is primarily a function of an exciting and demanding curriculum delivered by an outstanding faculty.
  • The curriculum for the major now includes a required course in formal logic, a “metaphysics and epistemology” distribution requirement, and a total of thirty hours of coursework, only six of which may be at the 200 level (the required logic course and one other three-hour course). These changes provide students with greater exposure to core philosophical issues and to instruction from tenure-line faculty.
  • The curricular improvements continue. We will launch two new concentrations this fall within the major, one in legal and political philosophy and the other in philosophy of science and medicine. These new concentrations emphasize well-defined, integrated areas of study within the discipline of special interest to the many students aiming for careers in a variety of legal, medical, scientific, and policy professions. Each can be pursued also as an honors concentration.
  • The department is also undertaking to offer a wider range of special topics and honors courses, especially at the 200 level, to entice as wide a range as possible of the best and brightest to the study of philosophy. In 2012–2013, Adam Cureton will teach a special topics honors class on disability and respect for persons. And Matt Pamental will teach a special topics honors class on American pragmatism and a special topics course on animal ethics.
  • The Philosophy Club continues to meet regularly for philosophical discussion. It meets once a month with a featured faculty member for informal and wide-ranging conversation about the discipline.
  • Philosophy undergraduates continue to pursue sponsored research projects, including summer projects, under faculty supervision and present their work. For example, Laura Cutshaw and Matthew Reese each presented papers at regional philosophy conferences this past year.

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