The Department of Philosophy offers several different courses of study at the undergraduate level—two different majors and two different minors. The descriptions you’ll find via the links below are those contained in the UNC Smartcatalog:
- a traditional major in philosophy
- a minor in philosophy
- a major with an emphasis in ethics and public policy
- a legal studies minor, a minor designed to complement any regular pre-law major with a minor in legal studies.
Students who declare the traditional major must complete a year’s work in the history of philosophy and one semester each of ethics, theory of knowledge (epistemology), and metaphysics. Students who declare either the minor in philosophy or the emphasis in ethics and public policy must complete the same work in the history of philosophy and in ethics, and may, if they wish, do work in the other three central subdisciplines as well. However, as metaphysics and epistemology are to some extent highlighted in the history sequence and as logic is at least touched on in nearly all our courses, neither minors nor those who have chosen, within the major, the emphasis in ethics and public policy are required to take course work in these last three areas.
Of course almost every area of human activity gives rise to problems and questions that call out for philosophical analysis, and courses that take up such problems and questions make up much of the rest of philosophy curriculum. Philosophy of Religion and Social and Political Philosophy are good examples, and three of our variable content courses—PHIL 300 (Topics in Philosophy), PHIL 310 (Topics in Ethics and Public Policy), and PHIL 495 (Advanced Seminar)—provide opportunities for still more offerings of this sort.
Majors with an emphasis in ethics and public policy are required to take the following courses in this category—all of which can be counted as electives by students in either the traditional major or the philosophy minor:
- PHIL 220: The Nature of Legal Reasoning
- PHIL 305: Ethics in Theory and Practice
- PHIL 355: Social and Political Philosophy
Recent offerings in PHIL 300, PHIL 310, and PHIL 495 have included courses in the philosophy of law, the philosophy of art, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of sex, existentialism, post-modern philosophy, bioethics, personal identity, and experimental philosophy. Coming sections of these courses will include in fall 2012 a section of PHIL 300 on Ryle's Concept of Mind, a section of PHIL 310 on environmental ethics, and a section of PHIL 495 on Kant's Three Critiques; and in spring 2013, a section of PHIL 300 on Aquinas, a section of PHIL 300 on Personal Identity, and a section of PHIL 495 the topic of which is still to be announced.
The advanced seminar is required of all majors—both those who have declared the traditional major and those who have declared the emphasis in ethics and public policy—and, in addition, a suitable section of PHIL 300 is required of all students declaring an emphasis in ethics and public policy. Beyond this, sections of both courses are available to both majors and minors as electives.
Students interested in the traditional major in philosophy, the philosophy major with an emphasis in ethics and public policy, or the philosophy minor may consult with any of the members of the philosophy faculty or specifically with Tom Trelogan, the Chair of the Department. Students interested in the minor in legal studies should contact Paul Hodapp, the director of the legal studies minor.