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Philosophy Program

Philosophy majors/minors

For course descriptions, visit the online Class Search.

NOTE: Degree requirements for incoming students may not reflect the actual degree requirements of current students.

Requirements for the Philosophy Major

As a Philosophy major, you’ll take required courses in the history of philosophy, logic, ethics and analytic philosophy. Electives allow you delve deeper and to explore connections between philosophy and politics, law, art, literature, and science. Philosophy majors have the option of completing their degree in three years

  • One course in logic:
    • PL 310, Logic
    • Or any course so designated
  • Two courses in history sequence:
    • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy
    • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy
  • One course in analytic philosophy:
    • PL 320, Theory of Knowledge
    • PL 323, Introduction to Analytic Philosophy
    • PL 343, Philosophy of Science
    • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind
    • Or any course designated analytic philosophy
  • One course in value theory (normative philosophy):
    • PL 344, Philosophy of Law
    • PL 345, Social and Political Philosophy
    • PL 360, Ethics
    • PL 364, Ethics & International Relations
    • Or any course designated value theory
  • Two offerings (6 hours) of PL 410, Seminar in Philosophy (Substitutions may be made in the case of students studying abroad or taking PL 499 Honors Thesis)
  • Plus 12 hours of additional philosophy courses for a total of 33 hours.
  • No more than 12 hours of 100- and 200-level courses may be applied to the 33 hours required for the major.

    NOTE: While TI courses offered by the Philosophy program (TI 240-PL, TI 241-PL, TI 242-PL, TI 243-PL, TI 244-PL) may count as electives, AR 231-PL (Principles of Reasoning) does not.

Requirements for the Philosophy and Religion Combined Major (42 hours)

As a combined major, you’ll ground yourself in both disciplines, exploring the relation between philosophical and religious conceptions of knowledge, self, community and world.  

  • History of Philosophy courses (6 hrs):
    • PL311, Ancient Philosophy
    • PL313, Modern Philosophy
  • Value Theory course (3 hrs):
    • PL 360, Ethics
    • PL 344, Philosophy of Law
    • PL 345, Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy
    • Or any course designated value theory
  • Analytic Philosophy course (3 hrs):
    • PL 310, Logic
    • PL 320, Theory of Knowledge
    • PL 323, Introduction to Analytic Philosophy
    • PL 343, Philosophy of Science
    • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind
    • Or any course designated analytic philosophy
  • PL 410, Seminar in Philosophy (3 hrs)
  • TI251RL, The Bible (3 hrs)

One course from the following (3 hrs):

  • RL 347, History of Christianity
  • RL 350, Topics in Judaism 
  • RL 354, Islam 
  • One course in Asian religions (3 hrs)
  • RL 381, Topics in Theory and Method (3 hrs)

Plus six hours of courses to be chosen from:

  • PL 342, Philosophy of Religion
  • RL 371, Religion and Science
  • RP 401, 402, 403, Independent Study
  • RP 499, Honors Thesis

Plus nine hours of electives: (PL, RL, RP) 


Requirements for the Philosophy and Psychology Combined Major (50 hours)

This combined major gives you core knowledge of both philosophy and psychology, and focuses on the relation between scientific and philosophical conceptions of mind, body, and behavior.

Philosophy (21 hours)

  • PL 310, Logic
  • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy
  • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy
  • PL 343, Philosophy of Science
  • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind
  • PL 360 OR PL 345, Ethics/Value Theory course (PL 344, PL 348, PL 364, or PL 380 may fulfill this requirement with advisor approval)
  • PL 400+, A 400-level philosophy course

Psychology (27 hours)

Psychology/Required (21 hours):

  • SW250, Psychological Inquiry
  • PS210, Research Methods/Statistics I
  • PS211, Research Methods/Statistics II
  • PS 310, Statistics in Psychology
  • PS 385, Cognitive Processes
  • PS 440, Psychology of Personality
  • PS 475+, Psychology Seminar (PS 475, 476, 477, 478, 479, or 491)

Psychology/Electives (6 hours) (The student must complete A and B):

  • A. Either PS 202 Learning and Memory OR PS 235 Biological Basis of Behavior (Prerequisite: BI 100/or BI 103/or BI 110)
  • B. Either PS 320 Life Span Developmental Psychology OR PS 350 Social Psychology

Program Elective (3 hours)

  • Any philosophy or psychology course at the 400-level


Requirements for the Philosophy Minor

A minor in Philosophy consists of 18 hours in philosophy, which must include the Philosophy Seminar (PL410), plus 6 additional hours on the 300-level or 400-level. Minors will be strongly advised to create a suitable package of courses in consultation with a philosophy professor appointed by the chair.

Requirements for the Ethics Minor

The Ethics Minor is a philosophy-based minor that is administered by the Department of Philosophy, Religion and Classics. Since ethical issues are addressed across the curriculum, appropriate courses in other disciplines can also count toward the minor.

Ethical issues are important to many human activities, fields of inquiry, and professions.  Indeed, one of the Student Learning Outcomes of Butler University is that "students will make informed, rational and ethical choices." Knowledge of ethics will be beneficial to students as a complement to their major in many different areas, to their post-bachelor education (law, medicine, political science, etc.), to their careers (government, business, etc.), and, more broadly, to finding their way in life.

Students are advised to create a thematic unity in their course selection, in consultation with the program director or other faculty connected to the Ethics Minor. For advising, or more information, contact the Ethics minor director, Harry van der Linden (

Foundational courses (3 credit hours required):

  • TI-244PL, Ethics, the Good Life, and Society
  • PL360, Ethics

Normative philosophy courses (6 credit hours required; at least 3 credit hours on the 300-or 400-level):

  • TI241-PL, Classics of Social and Political Thought
  • TI242-PL, Marginalized in America
  • PL245, Classics of Social and Political Philosophy
  • PL344, Philosophy of Law
  • PL345, Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy
  • PL348, Philosophy of Feminism
  • PL364, Ethics and International Relations
  • PL380, Topics in Ethics
  • PL403, Independent Study with research paper in ethics
  • PL407, Internship in Ethics
  • PL410W, Seminar in Philosophy, Topics in Ethics

Applied ethics courses (3 credit hours required):

  • TI240-PL, Ethics of War and Peace
  • PL363, Biomedical Ethics
  • PL380, Topics in Ethics (if topic is in applied ethics)
  • PL403, Independent Study with research paper in applied ethics
  • PL407, Internship in Ethics
  • TI264-LE, Business Ethics
  • PX325, Ethical Issues in Health Care
  • BSHS360, Healthcare Ethics
  • ORG358, Communications Ethics
  • STR324, Ethics and Case Problems in Strategic Communication
  • JR420, Mass Communication Ethics
  • CS485, Computer Ethics (1 credit hour)
  • DD401ME (DD401ECE), Engineering Ethics and Professionalism (1 credit hour)
  • DD404 BME, Ethics for Biomedical Engineers (1 credit hour)

Electives (6 credit hours required):

Additional electives include:

  • CLA360, Topics: Law
  • GHS207, Resistance and Rights: Women
  • GWS201, Intersections of Identity
  • GWS202, Resistance for Social Change
  • HST305, Topics in History: History of Human Rights
  • HST305, Topics in History: "I, too, Sing America": Civil Rights in the US
  • LE263, Legal Environment of Business
  • MRC463, Freedom of Speech and Democracy
  • PO354, Environmental Justice
  • PO377, Constitutional Law
  • RL387, Religious and Philosophical Explorations of the Problem of Evil

The program director may approve on a semester-by-semester basis additional courses as electives, including some courses in Political Science. No more than 6 credit hours of the Ethics Minor may be "double-counted" toward any other minor or any major.

About Double Majors

A significant number of students choose philosophy or religion in conjunction with another major. If the primary major (i.e., the major in the department where one's advisor resides) is outside of philosophy and religion, the student should seek an informal advisor in the philosophy and religion department to make sure that he or she satisfies the departmental requirements. The departmental advisor will also work with the student to find a selection of courses which complements the work in their other majors.

Philosophy Courses

  • TI 241-PL, Classics of Social and Political Thought 
  • TI 240-PL, Ethics of War and Peace
  • TI 242-PL, Marginalized in America
  • TI 243-PL, Knowledge and Reality
  • TI 244-PL, Ethics, The Good Life, and Society
  • AR 231-PL, Principles of Reasoning
  • PL 310, Logic (U) (3)
  • PL 245, Classics of Social and Political Philosophy (U) (3)
  • PL 311, History of Ancient Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 312, History of Medieval Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 313, History of Modern Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 314, History of 19th-Century Philosophy through Nietzsche (U-G) (3)
  • PL 320, Theory of Knowledge (U-G) (3)
  • PL 323, Introduction to Analytic Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 327, Philosophical Classics (U-G) (3)
  • PL 340, Philosophy of Art (U-G) (3)
  • PL 342, Philosophy of Religion (U-G) (3)
  • PL 343, Philosophy of Science (U-G) (3)
  • PL 344, Philosophy of Law (U-G) (3)
  • PL 345, Contemporary Social and Political Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 346, Philosophy of Mind (U-G) (3)
  • PL 347, Existentialism (U-G) (3)
  • PL 348, Philosophy of Feminism (U-G) (3)
  • PL 349, Philosophy of Biology (U-G) (3)
  • PL 360, Ethics (U-G) (3)
  • PL 363, Biomedical Ethics (U) (3)
  • PL 364, Ethics & International Relations    
  • PL 375, Topics in Philosophy (U-G) (3)
  • PL 401, 402, 403, Independent Study (U-G) (1, 2, 3)
  • PL 410, Seminar in Philosophy (U) (3)
  • PL 499, Honors Thesis (U) (3)

Current students should consult their own academic advisement report in to see their individual requirements and progress toward degree completion.