Philosophy

student writing

The philosophy major at St. Kate's will teach you how to think well — to distinguish a well-reasoned argument from a fallacious one, to defend and articulate your own perspective, to analyze texts of ancient and contemporary writers, and to write with clarity and precision.

Majoring in philosophy prepares you for careers that require critical thinking, precise analysis, and clear written and oral communication.

"In classes, we work together to uncover and poke at crucial assumptions." — Jeff Johnson, assistant professor

Interdisciplinary and interactive

Philosophy reflects upon matters of history, psychology, literature, theology, law, politics and science. Our courses focus on student and faculty discussion, not lecture. You'll learn how exciting ideas can be. You'll also learn to question situations, beliefs and issues you encounter in everyday life.

Choose your focus

The Philosophy major requires a total of nine courses. Two courses—PHIL 2994 and PHIL 4994—are required for the major. These are topics courses, and their focus will change from year to year; topics courses in the past have included Food Ethics, Philosophy of Sex, William Shakespeare and Philosophy, Philosophy and the Problem of Evil, Existential Ethics, Philosophy and Death, and Philosophy and Animal Minds.

Other than those two required courses, you choose the Philosophy courses that best suit your interests and possibly dovetail with another major (most Philosophy majors are double majors). For example, a student who is planning to attend law school can take Philosophy of Law, Ethics, Social and Political Philosophy, two topics courses, Ethics in Communication, Feminist Philosophy, Environmental Ethics, and Socially Engaged Philosophy. A student majoring in English could take Philosophy of Art and Beauty, Philosophic Themes in Literature, two topics courses, Philosophy and Film, Ethics in Communication, Philosophy and Women, and Critical Thinking. You have the autonomy to choose the seven courses that best fit your intellectual commitments and passion.

PHIL 2200, PHIL 2994 and PHIL 4994 are designated as Writing Intensive.

Undergraduate research

Philosophy majors must work on a senior thesis in the senior seminar course, which covers research methodology, textual analysis, construction of philosophic arguments and the practice of philosophy in the contemporary world. Students present the paper at a department colloquium attended by faculty and other philosophy majors.

Role models and mentors

Our faculty have a wide variety of intellectual interests. For example, Professor William Myers' publications have focused on ethics and political theory applied to problems of human evil. Associate Professor Anne Maloney is interested in existentialism, philosophy and literature, philosophy of women, and philosophy and film.

The faculty are also active in professional organizations and invited to speak at national conferences. Assistant Professor Jeff Johnson, past president of the Minnesota Philosophical Society, presented "What Makes Food Authentic?" at the joint meeting of the Agriculture, Food, and Human Values Society, Association for the Study of Food and Society, and Society for Anthropology of Food and Nutrition.