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Since its founding, Johns Hopkins has been home to many great American philosophers, including Charles Peirce, John Dewey, and Arthur Lovejoy. The Philosophy Department introduces students both to the history of philosophy and its place in Western civilization and to contemporary theoretical work on philosophical problems. Students learn how to analyze difficult texts and to sharpen their ability to think about complex problems. Topics of systematic study include metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, logic, philosophy of science, moral philosophy, bioethics, political philosophy, and aesthetics. Many students combine a major in philosophy with another subject to help them develop philosophical perspectives on their own fields of interest, and the department also offers a minor in bioethics, a program designed to provide students with an understanding of the fundamental moral and philosophical issues raised by the practice and advancement of the biomedical sciences.
Overview of the Undergraduate Curriculum
Philosophy majors begin their studies with introductory classes such as Philosophic Classics or Philosophic Problems. Upper-level coursework is distributed across five categories: ancient philosophy; modern philosophy; logic, philosophy of science, or philosophy of mathematics; philosophy of mind, theory of knowledge, philosophy of language, or metaphysics; and ethics, aesthetics, or political philosophy. Philosophy majors are also required to take an undergraduate seminar, preferably during their junior year.
Students with an overall G.P.A. of 3.0 and a philosophy G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher are invited to write a seniors honors thesis. Those who earn an A- or better on the thesis are awarded honors.
Philosophy and classics double major Grady Stevens ’13 used his Dean’s Undergraduate Research Award to examine the evolution of the concept of justice in Greek thought from the fifth through the fourth centuries BCE. To read more about the project, visit the award’s website.
Students majoring in philosophy have studied abroad in a variety of places, including Athens, Greece; Oxford, England; and Cambridge, England.
Related Student Groups
Prometheus (Johns Hopkins undergraduate philosophy journal)