2011-2012 Academic Catalog 
    Feb 21, 2024  
2011-2012 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Philosophy Minor

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Undergraduate Program

The Philosophy Department offers an undergraduate major in philosophy, a concentration in ethics and public policy, two minors in philosophy and a variety of elective courses, which nonmajors may take to broaden their education and fulfill Program of Liberal Studies requirements. The department also offers core or elective courses for concentrations in law and society, peace studies, ethics and public policy, and environmental science and policy.


Visiting Faculty

C. Wesley DeMarco, Ph.D.



Directed Readings, Individual Research, Tutorials

For significant independent research, the department offers individual Directed Research, Directed Readings, and Advanced Independent Study in Philosophical Topics, all falling under the course heading PHIL 299 . Students interested in these possibilities should consult with individual members of the philosophy faculty.


Capstone Seminar

The philosophy major culminates in the Capstone Seminar. Each semester the department will designate one of its seminar offerings as the Capstone. These will provide an in depth engagement with a central topic, figure, or movement in philosophy, and will involve serious opportunities for independent study by participating students. Capstone courses will also be open to non-capstone students. At the end of the second semester of the prior year, all majors will be informed which two seminars, one designated for each term, will be Capstone seminars for the coming school year. Majors must take the Capstone during their senior year; students taking it for Capstone credit should register for the ‘Capstone’ section of the seminar.

Internships, Research Apprenticeships

Students are encouraged to apply for a research apprenticeship with an individual philosophy professor. Research apprentices work closely with their mentor on the mentor’s scholarly research, sometimes co-authoring a published article. Some recent topics have been: environmental ethics; privacy in law and ethics; and statistical stylometry and ancient philosophy. Philosophy faculty also sponsor off-campus undergraduate internship experiences. Students interested in these opportunities may inquire at the department or through the internship office.


Honors Thesis

Undergraduate majors are encouraged to complete an Honors thesis.  Majors intending to pursue graduate study should especially consider this opportunity. Honors thesis students engage in advanced individual research on a selected philosophical problem, guided by a faculty thesis adviser and a thesis committee composed of two additional faculty members. For complete requirements and further information, see the catalog entry on Honors.

Professional Organizations

The department has the Massachusetts Alpha Chapter of the national philosophy honor society, Phi Sigma Tau. In addition to awarding membership to academically exceptional majors, the society also sponsors speakers and colloquia, as well as trips to regional philosophy conferences.

The department is a founding member of the Boston-area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy. The organization sponsors lectures and seminars at the various member college campuses.


Departmental Publications

The international philosophical journal, Idealistic Studies, is edited by Gary Overvold. Founded by Robert N. Beck, Idealistic Studies is a leading interdisciplinary journal focusing on issues of contemporary European philosophy and idealism. The journal provides a forum for writing that recognizes whether by advocacy or criticism, the defining significance of consciousness and mind in the concerns of philosophy and other expressions of high culture.


Department Prizes and Awards, and Student and Honor Societies

Each year, the department inducts its best junior and senior philosophy majors into Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honor society. At the spring honors convocation, the department awards one or more prizes to exemplary graduating seniors and the David Saltman Prize for excellence in philosophy. At the Fall convocation, the department confers a prize for the best work in logic.

The Philosophy Club, a student organization, sponsors lectures, colloquia and informal educational and social activities for all interested Clark students.

Program Minor

Students pursuing a minor in philosophy at Clark can choose one of two tracks. Each track requires six courses in philosophy and is designed to develop students’ intellectual skills and to familiarize them with the fundamental methods of philosophical inquiry. Each track begins with a foundation in critical thinking and practical ethics.

The Great Issues-minor track emphasizes a grounding in the history of philosophy. This track engages the student in the fundamental philosophical questions with which human beings have been perennially concerned: for example, Does God exist? How ought I to live? What is knowledge? Do human beings have free will? Can political authority be legitimated? Is there life after death?

The Enriched-minor track emphasizes advanced work in courses related to students’ majors. This track engages students in the fundamental philosophical questions, which their own major fields raise but do not answer: for example, What is a mind? What is a person? What is the nature of a profession? What is science? What is justice?

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