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Philosophy, BA/BS

The quest for an enriched life begins with expanding your mind.

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College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Danielle Walden
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Why Major in Philosophy? 

Aristotle observed that all people, by nature, desire to know. Plato observed that the key to living the best possible human life is knowing how to best live. Pursuing the study of philosophy will allow you to explore, communicate and grow in knowledge of the world around you. Your time at Belmont should nurture and expand your natural curiosity and understanding.

Practically speaking, a degree in philosophy is becoming increasingly valuable in today’s job market and presents its holder with limitless opportunities. Philosophy majors acquire skills essential for professional development and advancement, including the ability to read thoughtfully, write clearly, think critically and converse meaningfully. Philosophy majors even frequently outperform other majors on grad school entrance exams like the GMAT, GRE, MCAT and LSAT. Truly, this degree produces well-rounded students who are marketable in an ever-changing job market.

Belmont’s philosophy program is even beneficial as a second major or minor, challenging you to think more deeply about your primary area of study. Philosophy is valuable to various subjects with such sub-disciplines as Philosophy of the Mind, Business Ethics, Philosophy of Art, Political Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion.

Traditionally understood, education is a preparation for life as a whole. Belmont’s Department of Philosophy provides space for you to emerge not only with better professional credentials, but also as a better citizen, a better family member, a better neighbor and generally a better human being.

What You'll Learn 

  • Read and interpret philosophical texts
  • Understanding of philosophical and moral principles and their application in everyday life
  • Critical thinking and communication skills
  • Ability to articulate and write powerfully
  • Research methodology

Career Possibilities

  • Law
  • Political Science
  • Public Affairs
  • Education
  • Literature
  • Writing
  • Entertainment
  • Philosophy

Addison Stein

"The Philosophy Department is an incredible learning environment that is dedicated to creating academic, inquisitive and prepared young philosophers. The variety of courses offered combined with the specializations and experiences of the faculty provides a complete and engaging program that has made me not only a better philosopher but overall student. Ultimately, your professors know and care about you as an individual and use your personal interests and aspirations to relate material, motivate you towards success and make you feel a part of the community."

Addison Stein

Benjamin Brown

"The Philosophy Department at Belmont pushes students to think beyond their current views. When one decides to become a Philosophy major, one should seriously contemplate whether or not they are comfortable with questioning every aspect of their life. The professors have helped me expand the ways in which I see the world and have altogether shown me a fraction of the ever-growing lexicon of human knowledge."

Benjamin Brown, Memphis, TN, 2023

Program Details


The philosophy major leads to either a bachelor of arts or a bachelor of science. It requires 128 hours of coursework:

  • BELL core requirements: 53 hours
  • Major requirements: 30 hours
  • Minor requirements: 18 hours
  • General electives: 27 hours

See All Program Requirements

Courses You'll Take

  • PHI 3010 History of Philosophy: Ancient

  • A survey of selected works in the history of ancient philosophy from the Pre-Socratics to Plotinus. Among the major philosophers to be studied are Heraclitus, Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus.

    • PHI 3020 History of Philosophy: Medieval

    A critical study of selected works in the history of medieval philosophy from the fall of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Augustine, Pseudo-Dionysius, Boethius, Avicenna, Anselm, al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Hildegard of Bingen, Averroes, Aquinas, Meister Eckhart, Marguerite Porete, and Teresa of Avila.

    • PHI 3030 History of Philosophy: Modern

    A critical study of selected works in the history of modern philosophy from the breakup of scholasticism to the end of the nineteenth century. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied are Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant and Hegel.

    • PHI 3040 History of Philosophy: Contemporary

    A critical study of selected works in the history of contemporary philosophy from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. Special emphasis will be placed on the split between Analytic and Continental European approaches to philosophy in the twentieth century. Some of the major philosophers who will be studied include Brentano, Husserl, Heidegger, Russell, Wittgenstein, Quine, Sartre, Merleau-Ponty, de Beauvoir, Kripke and Nagel.

    • PHI 3220: Existentialism and Phenomenology

    The study of the basic thinkers, themes and contemporary directions of Phenomenology and Existential thought. Some of the major thinkers covered will include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Husserl, Heidegger, Sartre, Camus and Kafka.

    • PHI 3330: Analytic Philosophy

    A survey of the themes and figures associated with the analytic philosophical tradition. Attention may be given to topics including logical analysis, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy. The actual philosophers studied may vary, but are likely to include Moore, Russell, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Hempel, Quine, Kripke, Nagel, Rawls and Dennett.

    • PHI 4080: Philosophies of China

    This course is an overview of the thinkers and movements which have shaped philosophical reflection in China from classical to the modern period. Texts and thinkers which are studied in the course vary with each offering. Sometimes the focus is on classical texts (Yi Jing; the Zhongyong; Laozi; Lun Yu; Zhuangzi; the Mengzi; the Xunzi; Zhu Xi), and other times it is on contemporary work (e.g., Boston Confucianism and the New Confucians), still other emphases are tradition directed: Confucian tradition; Taoist tradition; Buddhist tradition; Contemporary Social Philosophy in China.

    • PHI 2250: Applied Ethics

    This course focuses on everyday ethical and political issues. Topics of major current interest may include business; medicine; media; law; environment; race, gender and ethnicity; sexual ethics and orientation; animal rights; politics and public policy; and criminal justice.

    • PHI 2310: Philosophy of Religion

    A philosophical investigation into the nature of religion. Concepts given special attention may include the nature and knowledge of God, faith and doubt, religious and spiritual experience, immortality, the problem of evil, free will and determination and religious language and expression.

    • PHI 2380: Creationism and Evolution

    An exploration of the current state of the debate about the teaching of evolution. Questions to explore will include scientific issues about the evidence for evidence, historical questions about the changing nature of the creationist movement and constitutional questions about the separation of church and state. Strictly philosophical questions about the nature of scientific theories, the difference between scientific and non-scientific forms of enquiry and the compatibility of evolution in Christian theology will also be discussed.

    • PHI 3110: Moral Theory

    An in-depth analysis of key theoretical issues arising from a study of moral practice. The content varies among topics such as Comparative Moral Theory and Practice, The Origins of Morality and Moral Themes in Literature.

    • PHI 3150: Epistemology

    Examines the basic issues in the theory of knowledge including belief, certainty, understanding and theories of truth and doubt.

    • PHI 3160: Metaphysics

    A study of basic theories about the nature of reality, mind-body problems, the nature of the self, freedom and determinism and the question of immortality.

    • PHI 3240: Philosophy of Mind

    An examination of the current state of the debate in philosophy of mind. Of special concern will be the nature of mental states and the metaphysical status of subjective experiences. Particular emphasis may be placed on the recent history of the philosophy of mind, the relationship between philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, or on the relevance of neuro-scientific evidence to philosophical questions.

    • PHI 3260: Environmental Ethics

    A study of how the principles of ethical theory can be applied to contemporary environmental controversies.

    • PHI 3430: Philosophy of Law

    A study of the fundamental theories of the nature of law, the method and uniqueness of judicial reasoning and legal interpretation, the use of the law to enforce morality, and the establishment of legal responsibility and the justification of punishment.

    • PHI 4200: Special Topics

    A seminar devoted to selected topics determined by both faculty and student interest and announced at least one semester prior to its being offered. Can not be used to fulfill general education humanities requirements.

Philologoi: This weekly discussion group dives into various philosophical topics and readings and is open to all students.

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Contact Us

College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Danielle Walden
Admissions Coordinator

Email Danielle