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Philosophy

Administrative Information

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Michele Moody-Adams, 702 Philosophy; 854-3519; moody-adams@columbia.edu

Economics-Philosophy Adviser: John Collins, 714 Philosophy; 854-3970; jdc9@columbia.edu

Departmental Office: 708 Philosophy; 854-3196

Professors
David Albert
Akeel Bilgrami
Taylor Carman (Barnard)
Haim Gaifman
Lydia Goehr
Axel Honneth
Patricia Kitcher
Philip Kitcher
Wolfgang Mann
Christia Mercer
Michele Moody-Adams
Fred Neuhouser (Barnard)
Christopher Peacocke
Carol Rovane
David Sidorsky
Achille Varzi (chair)
Katja Vogt

Associate Professors
John Collins
Jeffrey Helzner

Assistant Professors
Macalester Bell
Tamar Lando
Karen Lewis (Barnard)
Elliot Paul (Barnard)
John Morrison (Barnard)

Affiliated Faculty
Souleymane Bachir Diagne (French and Romance Philology)
Jon Elster (Political Science)
Kent Greenawalt (University Professor)
Wayne Proudfoot (Religion)
Joseph Raz (Law School)
Gayatri Spivak (University Professor)

Students interested in philosophy may pursue a major either in philosophy or in economics-philosophy. Because philosophy treats issues fundamental to both the sciences and the humanities, students are also welcome to combine their philosophy major with work in other fields. Before declaring a major in philosophy or economics-philosophy, and before deciding to combine philosophy with another discipline, students should meet with the director of undergraduate studies to formulate the program best for them. Philosophy majors are given a foundation in logic and philosophical methodology, and are asked to confront fundamental questions in the main areas of philosophy: epistemology and metaphysics, ethics and political philosophy, philosophy of mind and language, and history of philosophy. The department requires that all majors take at least one seminar (PHIL C3912), designed to allow students to focus on particular philosophical issues or texts in greater depth. Outstanding seniors may also pursue their own philosophical project in a senior thesis. Over and above the courses required of all majors, there is room for considerable flexibility. Through an appropriate choice of electives from among the department’s offerings (and from related courses in other departments), there are special opportunities for focusing more intensively on one or two subfields of philosophy, e.g., logic and the philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of science, ethics and political philosophy, or the history of philosophy. Students should consult with the director of undergraduate studies on how best to pursue such programs.

Study Abroad: Reid Hall, Paris

For information on the Columbia in Paris Program at Reid Hall, including summer courses, consult the Columbia University in Paris Bulletin (available in 606 Kent and on-line at the Office of Global Programs website), call 212-854-2559, or send an e-mail to reidhall@columbia.edu. For information on applicability of Reid Hall courses to the major or concentration, consult the director of undergraduate studies.

Grading

Courses in which a grade of D has been received do not count toward the major or concentration requirements.

Departmental Honors

Departmental honors are highly competitive. Normally no more than 10% of the majors graduating in the department each year receive departmental honors.

In order to qualify for departmental honors in philosophy, a student must have a grade point average of at least 3.6 in the major. For students with a GPA of 3.6 or above, there are two possible routes to consideration:

  1. A student may complete a senior thesis; all students who complete senior theses are considered for honors.
  2. A student may be nominated by a faculty member early in the spring semester of the senior year; nominated students are invited to submit a writing sample. A nominated student who is also writing a thesis may submit their thesis as the writing sample, or may choose to submit a different work.

Both the senior theses and writing samples are due in early April. The departmental honors committee then review the submitted material and the academic records of the students, and report to the full faculty. The full faculty then decide which students to recommend for departmental honors.

Senior thesis undergraduates majoring in Philosophy or Economics-Philosophy may apply to write a senior thesis. Students who wish to write a thesis should approach a faculty member at the end of their junior or beginning of their senior year, and begin working on the application early in the Fall semester of their senior year. Applications are due in early December, and are reviewed by a committee which includes the director of undergraduate studies; students are notified of the committee's decision within two weeks. Students whose applications are approved should register for their faculty adviser's section of Supervised Senior Research for the Spring term of the senior year. Theses are due in early April. All students who complete theses are considered for Departmental Honors.