THE PHILOSOPHY MAJOR

The word "Philosophy" derives from a Greek word meaning the love of wisdom. In pursuit of wisdom students of philosophy attempt to answer fundamental questions about the nature of reality, knowledge, and value. Since antiquity, however, philosophers have reminded us that academic study alone cannot make one wise; life experience must complement the knowledge gained by study. Further, many philosophers have insisted that wisdom as a cardinal virtue cannot exist independently of the other three cardinal virtues--courage, temperance, and justice. The spirit of philosophy is accordingly summed up well by Plato's Socrates. On trial for his life and under pressure to desist from his philosophical investigations, Socrates instead proclaimed that "...for a human being the unexamined life is not worth living". He went to his death apparently content that he had served his fellow citizens and lived the life most worth living. USAFA philosophy majors will undertake their study of philosophy as part of a life of energetic inquiry aimed at developing the virtues appropriate to a leader of character. They will read and discuss primary texts from ancient times up to the present day.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: 147 Semester hours

A. 96 semester hours of Dean's academic core courses (include FYE).

B. 1 semester hour of First Year Experience

C. 5 semester hours of Director of Athletics courses

D. 3 semester hours of Academy Options

E. 42 semester hours of major's courses:

1. Philoso 311 War, Mortality, and the Military Profession

2. Philoso 370 Introduction to Symbolic Logic

3. Philoso 390 Great Philosophers

4. Philoso 401 Comparative Religion

5. Philoso 495 Special Topics for philosophy majors

6-11. Philosophy Options 1-6. Consistent with DF's emphasis on multiple purposeful pathways, each of these options can be filled in three ways:

a. "Neat": take any 3-semester hours course taught be DFPY

b." With a twist": take Pol Sci 301, 451, 463, and/or Econ 240; or with prior DFPY approval, take any 3-semester hour course taught by DF that focuses on " overlap" texts commonly read by another discipline as well as philosophy. In this case, DFPY advisors will probably look for a pairing (e.g., an English 495 on American Transcendentalism with Philosophy 382, American Philosophy, for 6 semester hours of Philosophy Option credit).

c. "With a splash": with prior DFPY approval, take any course taught be DF or academic course taught be AD (e.g., Phy Ed Aca 460) and pair it with a Philosophy 499 for 6 semester hours of Philosophy Option credit (e.g., Biology 459, Principles of Evolution, paired with Philos 499 on philosophy of biology; History 352, The History of Modern America, paired with a Philos 499 on American Pragmatism).

12. Open academic option.

13-14. Foreign language 3 and 4.

 

THE PHILOSOPHY MINOR

Philosophy is an ancient and valuable subdistrict within the vast marketplace of ideas. It is concerned with the most interesting questions in life--the questions that are most

"Philosophy" is not just another discipline. Rather, it is a special sort of rational inquiry into any discipline. Philosophers seek answers to the basic, fundamental questions which underpin any field of study. All cadets are required to take a course in philosophical ethics, which explores moral experience by attempting to answer questions such as: What is a good act? What sort of person is the best person? What is truly valuable? By what principles should life be led?  But in addition to the questions addressed in the core course about how we should live our lives, philosophers also study: principles of language and reasoning (logic); foundations of empirical discovery and other ways of knowing (epistemology); the ultimate underpinnings and structure of the self and the world (metaphysics); and the nature of art, beauty and our responses to them (aesthetics). Indeed, philosophy can expore the foundational principles of any body of knowledge and practices (e.g., the philosophy of science, the philosophy of history, or the philosophy of law).

Obviously, philosophy is not for everyone. It is not for those who want easy answers, nor is it for those who do not care about the deeper meanings of life or the purpose of their own lives. It is for those who should wish to gain a more thorough understanding of themselves as rational, reflective beings inhabiting and working in a world that sometimes allows us to glimpse its deeper meanings. It is, we believe, essential for the leaders in any group or society, particularly our Air Force.
 

THE PHILOSOPHY MINOR AT A GLANCE: The Philosophy Minor requires a minimum of 151 hours and four philosophy courses in addition to Philosophy 310. Because philosophy courses can often be used to fulfill major's requirements in other disciplines, the philosophy minor can sometimes be earned by taking only one or two additional courses.
 

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Four courses (12 semester hours) in addition to Philosophy 310 in which the student earns a grade of "C" or better. Required courses include:

   1. Phil 390: The Great Philosophers

   2. One of the following logic courses:
 
      Phil 360: Applied Reasoning
      Phil 370: Introduction to Symbolic Logic
 
   3/4. Any two additional philosophy courses not taken above