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Learning goals



G1: Knowledge of the history of philosophy, including the Christian philosophical tradition and its foundational sources in Ancient and Medieval philosophy.

G2: Knowledge of the principal areas of philosophical inquiry and understanding of how a distinctly philosophical understanding applies to one or more areas of human experience.


G3: Understanding and analysis of primary source philosophical texts, ideas, and arguments.


G4: Appreciation of and engagement with ideas and concepts that are ambiguous, challenging, and that escape the narrow bounds of practicality and traditional categories of understanding.



G1. Knowledge of history of philosophy:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in classical ancient philosophy, such as knowledge, form, matter, human happiness.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in foundational Christian philosophy (from late antiquity and the middle ages) such as freedom of the will, arguments for the existence of God, the problem of evil.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of major concepts in early modern philosophy, such as mind and body, perception, causality, certainty, subjectivity.
  • Be able to explain and illustrate connections and influences between various historical philosophers studied.


G2 Knowledge of areas of philosophical inquiry and application:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of relationship and differences between main areas of philosophy.
  • Demonstrate thoughtful application of philosophical concepts to several specific areas of human experience, such as the history of ideas, cognition, culture, interpretation, social interaction, law, religion. 
  • Students in the area specific tracks (cognitive studies, continental philosophy, cultural studies, history of philosophy, philosophy and religion, pre law, social and political philosophy and ethics) should be able to clearly explain application of philosophical ideas to the main concepts of the track area that they have chosen.


G3:  Analysis.

Class discussion and written work demonstrates clear thinking and writing, and the ability to use of primary source textual evidence in:

  • Evaluation, critique, and articulation of reasons for positions in philosophical texts
  • Comparison of different philosophical texts, showing interconnections, disagreements, and shared assumptions.
  • Application of philosophical thinking to other areas of human experience and use of philosophical concepts to support claims and interpretations.
  • Articulation and defense of positions where available knowledge and evidence do not support a single conclusion and where multiple interpretations are possible.


G4:  Appreciation of and engagement with challenging and ambiguous concepts:

  • Demonstrate openness to new ideas by being able to reflect upon and re-evaluate deeply held assumptions and views.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the complexity of issues and willingness to examine issues from many different perspectives.
  • Demonstrate ability to reflect on and critically evaluate new and unfamiliar concepts. 
  • Demonstrate awareness of underrepresented voices (such as those of women, people of color, non-western and indigenous people, and the more than human world).