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  Oct 21, 2017
 
 
    
Rensselaer Catalog 2007-2008 [Archived Catalog]

Philosophy


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Philosophy is a search for understanding and wisdom through inquiry into fundamental questions regarding existence, knowledge and “how to live a good life.” Through research and reflection, philosophy seeks to answer humanity’s eternal questions: What is the nature of human consciousness? Does God exist? What is time? Space? Are numbers real? Is there only one way to reason? How are right and wrong determined? Of what does the good life consist? Does life have meaning?

Agreeing with Socrates that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” the department encourages students to develop their own philosophical understanding, helping them to think critically and creatively about their own experiences, values, and goals. The hoped for result is the development of a coherent and critical personal perspective that provides the foundation for a full and satisfying life, for the practice of responsible citizenship, and for the exercise of leadership in a changing world.

Whether working toward bachelor’s degree in philosophy alone or toward a dual degree, students must complete at least 32 credit hours of work in philosophy or in related areas approved by their adviser. These must include:

 1. At least one of either Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 1110) or Minds & Machines (IHSS 1964, PHIL 1120) or Revolutions in Thought (IHSS 19xx) or Introduction to Philosophy of Science (PHIL 2130) or Introduction to Philosophy of Religion (PHIL 2830).

 2. Introduction to Logic (PHIL 2140).

 3. Capstone Experience in Philosophy (PHIL 4990).

 4. Five additional courses in philosophy at least three of which are at the 4000 level or higher.

Each major will develop a Plan of Study in consultation with a departmental adviser in one of three general areas: Logic, Computation, and Mind, Philosophy of Science and Mathematics, or Philosophy of Human Values and Cultures. In the senior year, all philosophy majors must take PHIL 4990, Capstone Experience in Philosophy in which they will construct and carry out an in-depth investigation/activity relating to some area of philosophy and write a research report (undergraduate thesis) detailing their findings. Preparing this document will provide students with early training in thesis writing in the event that they pursue further study. Students will participate in their Capstone Experience under the guidance of a professor of their choosing or one selected based on the professor’s familiarity with the research topic.

 

First Year


Fall


  • Science Sequence Option I Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • IHSS 1964 - First Year Studies Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • Science Sequence Option I Credit Hours: 4
    (See footnote 1 below)
  • Social Science Elective Credit Hours: 4

Second Year


Fall


  • Science or Math Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Humanities Elective (2000 level) Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • Philosophy Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Social Sci. Elective (2000 level) Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Third Year


Fall


  • Philosophy Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Philosophy Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
    [same code 2000 level]

Spring


  • Philosophy Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Hum. or Soc. Sci. Elective Credit Hours: 4
    [same code 4000 level]

Fourth Year


Fall


  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Spring


  • Philosophy Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4
  • Free Elective Credit Hours: 4

Footnotes


  1. The science sequence may be selected, with the assistance of the student’s adviser, from among 1000-level introductory sequences in biology, chemistry, computer science, geology, or physics, including CSCI 1100, CSCI 1200, ERTH 1030, ERTH 1040. See the handout on the science core available from the School of Science.
  2. BIOL 1010 is not required if first major is Engineering.

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