Philosophy Major

Philosophy Major

Philosophy

Major

Philosophy is the original home of critical thinking, rigorous analysis, and systematic argumentation. Its work demands clarity, objectivity, sound reasoning, fairness, and good writing. The study of philosophy builds conceptual skills exportable to any branch of the Army and to all professions, skills essential to leadership.

The philosophy major pushes cadets to investigate the very nature of human knowledge; the relationship between mind and matter; and fundamental principles of the kind that underlie religion, science, and politics. The study of philosophy also has a significant cultural dimension. It challenges cadets to understand attitudes, beliefs and arguments from other societies. West Point's philosophy major is designed to ensure breadth and to encourage depth. Majors will learn to do the following:

  • analyze and construct philosophical arguments
  • show competency in logic and other core areas of philosophy
  • become familiar with major historical areas, figures, and problems of philosophy
  • understand philosophical ideas within their historical and cultural contexts
  • think and write in a rigorous and precise manner
  • use critical thinking skills to provide original or innovative approaches to philosophical problems
  • apply philosophical methods in a variety of contexts at the personal and social levels
  • apply philosophical methods across disciplinary boundaries to a broad range of issues in the modern world 

The intellectual skills and experience the philosophy major fosters are beneficial to the Army and will be an asset to any branch. This major offers an honors track. 

To learn more about this area of study, visit the Department of English and Philosophy.

Required Courses

PY300 PHILOSOPHICAL METHODS

PY305 LOGICAL REASONING

Philosophy Core Area Course (Choose 1)

PY310 REALITY AND KNOWLEDGE

PY320 ETHICS

 

Sample Electives

PY325 MILITARY ETHICS 

PY326 CYBER ETHICS 

PY329 TOPICS IN ETHICS 

PY330 POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY 

PY345 PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION 

PY350 PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE 

PY355 PHILOSOPHY OF MIND 

PY360 ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY 

PY369 EASTERN THOUGHT 

PY370 17TH & 18TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY 

PY375 KANT & 19TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY 

PY380 20TH CENTURY PHILOSOPHY 

PY390 INTER-DEPARTMENT SEMINAR 

PY395 SPECIAL TOPICS IN PHILOSOPHY 

PY495 INDEPENDENT STUDY: PHILOSOPHY 

XH400 INTERCOLLEGIATE SEMINAR

 

This major offers an honors track. 

 

To learn more, view the full Philosophy Major Curriculum.

Philosophy majors have a number of enrichment opportunities including: Philosophy Forum guest lectures, travel to competitions and part of the Philosophy Ethics Debate Team, attendance of the Mid-Hudson Philosophy Society Annual conference, participation in the  Ethics of War Annual Conference Partnership with Villanova University, presentations at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs Panel , as well as the opportunity to present work at various undergraduates conferences or in journals. 

To learn more about enrichment for this area of study, visit the Department of English and Philosophy or the center associated with this department/area of study.