Philosophy Department Mission Statement

The mission of the Philosophy Department at Lafayette College is to provide its students—both those who major and minor in philosophy and those who do not—with high quality education in Western philosophy.

To that end, the department offers a broad range of courses while emphasizing the techniques and concerns of the Anglo-American analytic tradition. These courses include inquiries into the nature of reality (metaphysics), our abilities to know something about it (epistemology), and a range of the normative questions arising in ethics, social and legal philosophy, and aesthetics.

Our majors are knowledgeable about the history of Western Philosophy, and are consistently exposed to that which distinguishes our efforts in all our courses: the identification and evaluation of arguments, both those presented by famous figures in that tradition, and others whom we see fit to consider.

Training in philosophy emphasizes effective skills in critical reading, writing, and speaking. Through the evaluation of important readings on the topics and questions of philosophy, and through writing assignments that are constructively criticized, philosophy majors become proficient in all these skills.

Philosophy majors at Lafayette College complete their education with a reasonably extensive knowledge of certain important figures, fields, and problems, and are able to engage in careful reflection on the methods and content of philosophical investigation.

Requirements for the Major
Ten courses in Philosophy including 101, 102, 214 and 216; two electives in Metaphysics/Epistemology/Logic/Language; two electives in Value Theory; and two Philosophy electives. At least two of the six electives must be at the 300-level or above.

Requirements for the Minor
At least six courses from among the offerings of the department. The department strongly recommends that students pursuing the minor take a course in logic and one in the history of philosophy. Students with an interest in the minor should consult with a member of the department.

Course Categories
Metaphysics/Epistemology/Logic/Language: 200, 220, 225, 230, 236, 300, 320

Value Theory: 240, 145, 250, 260, 270, 340, 345, 350, 360

History of Philosophy: 214, 216, 218, 310

Students wishing to major in philosophy and another subject should discuss with their advisers the possibility of courses in other departments or programs counting toward both majors.