Competencies to be developed by the study of Philosophy

A. General Intellectual Competencies

1.    To read difficult texts with understanding, and to summarize them and explain them to others.

2.    To determine what does and does not follow from what: to detect common fallacies.

3.    To write about difficult problems with clarity and logical cogency (Note: Many philosophy courses require more writing than courses in other disciplines).

4.    To understand the methods of both the natural and formal sciences.

5.    To synthesize the results of more specialized disciplines so as to arrive at a coherent world view. Philosophy majors would, for example, be expected to be competent to discuss the merits and faults of such theses as materialism, naturalism, and determinism and to draw out their consequences for various conceptions of human freedom.

6.    To gain facility in solving problems ofreasoning of the sort frequently found on professional school entrance examinations. (Note: Quite a few philosophy majors opt to take our pre-law tutorial instead of senior seminar. An important part of the education we provide is preparation for law and other professional schools).

B. Philosophical Intellectual Competencies

1.    To gain an understanding of the history of Westem philosophy and other philosophical traditions.

2.    To gain some familiarity with current thinking in major areas of philosophy such as ethics, philosophy of language, etc.

C. Values

1.    To both appreciate the diversity of cultures and values and to develop appropriate standards of conduct.

2.    To understand the basis of our political life and enable people to make wise and well-grounded political choices.