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Spelman College Academics

Philosophy Major

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).

Core Courses (Required)

Every philosophy major must complete the following eight (8) core courses:

  • PHI 200: Practical Reasoning or PHI 201: Formal Logic
  • PHI 220: Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHI 230: History of Western Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval
  • PHI 231: History of Western Philosophy: Modern
  • PHI 383 Epistemology or PHI 384: Metaphysics
  • Two courses from:
    PHI 304: Ethics, PHI 381: Aesthetics, PHI 382: Social and Political Philosophy
  • REL 111: Introduction to the Study of Religion

Elective Courses

Every philosophy major must complete three elective courses.

NOTE FOR FIRST-YEAR FALL 2020 STUDENTS: One of these electives must be PHI 421 Directed Reading, PHI 431 Special Topics, or PHI 490/491 Honors Thesis.

  • PHI 240: African American Philosophy
  • PHI 250: Caribbean Philosophy
  • PHI 295: Bio-Medical Ethics
  • PHI 325: Native American Philosophy
  • PHI 326: Philosophy of Sex and Domination
  • PHI 375: Taoism – Chinese Philosophy
  • PHI 391: Honors Seminar in Philosophy and Literature
  • PHI 392: On the Origins of Postmodernism
  • PHI 400: Latin American Philosophy
  • PHI 421: Directed Reading
  • PHI 431: Special Topics
  • PHI 431-A: Ecological Aesthetics, Ethics and Praxis
  • PHI 431-B: Introduction to Neurophilosophy
  • PHI 490/491: Honors Thesis


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.


Contact Us

Philosophy and Religious Studies
Shana Singleton
Administrative Assistant

College Bulletin