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Spelman College Academics

Philosophy Major

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The courses in philosophy are offered in order to help all students appreciate and interrogate philosophical inquiry in the Western world and writings of peoples of African descent and people of color around the globe-especially women. Students will also be exposed to the philosophical thought of women of African descent and the contributions of Black women to the discipline of philosophy.

The program in philosophy emphasizes the development of analytical skills, critical thinking, and interdisciplinary approaches to philosophical inquiry. The major prepares students for graduate study in philosophy as well as for professional study and careers (e.g., law, journalism, medicine, diplomacy, and diverse social justice and creative projects).


A major in philosophy consists of 44 hours (11 courses) in philosophy. These courses are writing intensive. 

Core Courses
• PHI 171 Introduction to Philosophy (4)
• PHI 230 and 231 History of Western Philosophy (8)
• PHI 181 or 201 (Logic) (4)
• PHI 421 Directed Reading and Independent Study in Philosophy (4)

In addition to the core courses, students must complete one course in four distinct areas.

• Area I: Post-Continental or Non-Western Philosophy (4)
• Area II: Metaphysics or Theory of Knowledge (4)
• Area III: Value Theory (4)
• Area IV: Women and Gender (4) • Electives (8) TOTAL: 44


A student who has successfully completed a major in philosophy will be able to 

1. understand, analyze, and critically evaluate a wide range of philosophical issues and texts in the history of philosophy globally. 
2. recognize conceptual subtleties and linguistic nuances in philosophical texts. 
3. engage the philosophical thought and critical interventions of peoples of African descent and people of color-especially women. 
4. engage in philosophic practice within analytic, Continental, African derived and indigenous traditions of philosophy.
5. recognize informal logical fallacies as well as criteria for well-formed definitions. 
6. understand and utilize tools of formal logical analysis, including derivations and truth tables. 
7. use her critical skills as an engaged and independent thinker. 
8. express herself clearly, cogently, and critically in her written and oral work.

Phi Sigma Tau

Phi Sigma Tau is the international Philosophy honor society. Its essential purpose is to promote ties among students in philosophy and philosophy departments in accredited institutions nationally. Phi Sigma Tau is instrumental in developing and honoring academic excellence as well as philosophical interests among its members. It awards distinction to its members with high scholarship and promotes interest in philosophy among the general collegiate public.



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Philosophy and Religious Studies
Administrative Assistant
Kwajalyn Brown