• Philosophy
    Program graduates value the critical thinking skills they learned at MTSU
  • Philosophy
    Philosophy major Erin Meaker is a June Anderson Foundation scholarship recipient
  • Philosophy
    This class on Marx and Marxism met in the sunshine
  • Philosophy
    Philosophy majors develop valuable logic and communication skills

Philosophy

"Philosophy" means love of wisdom in Greek. The practice of philosophy begins, as Aristotle said, with a sense of wonder. From simple questions children ask—"Why?", "What is God like?", "Does the universe come to an end?" —to complex queries such as the nature of virtue, the meaning of existence, the nature of human knowledge, the nature of reality, the nature of God, etc. Programs are offered in philosophy and religious studies.

Lyceum covers topics from Jesus to fashion

Lyceum covers topics from Jesus to fashion

MTSU's Philosophy Department sponsors an annual lecture series, the Applied Philosophy Lyceum, conceived with Aristotle's Lyceum in mind. The Lyceum has covered topics ranging from issues in environmental ethics to theories of love and friendship. In its 20-year history, the series has brought such distinguished speakers as Arthur Danto, Lewis Gordon, Joel Kovel, Helen Longino, and Bart Ehrman to MTSU. Recent topics included "Misquoting Jesus," "What's a Black Artist?," and "Dressing Down Dressing Up: The Philosophic Fear of Fashion." 

Learning launched 'commitment to social justice'

Learning launched 'commitment to social justice'

Dr. Debra Jackson (B.A. Philosophy, 1996), associate professor, California State University-Bakersfield, says MTSU's Philosophy, Women Studies, and Honors programs provided her “with a rich, engaging educational experience." She has published essays on identity politics and gaming, sexual violence discourse, and biotechnology; a critical thinking textbook; and a paper on witnessing trauma that has been accepted for a book. "My years at MTSU were among the best of my life. They formed my passion for learning and my commitment to social justice," says Jackson, who participated in the Women and Power Conference and Applied Philosophy Lyceum.

Philosophy majors can use their logic, argumentation, and communication skills for a number of professions. Those can range from creating software and developing computer language, to pursuing legal and mediation careers, to helping shape policy for non-profit and governmental organizations. Examples of professions include

  • Curator/archivist/arts management
  • Editor/publisher
  • Executive/management
  • Lawyer
  • Mediator
  • Non-profit policy maker
  • Novelist/non-fiction writer/poet
  • Philosophical counselor
  • Software creator/systems engineer
  • Teacher/professor
  • Technical writer


Employers of MTSU alumni include

  • Americorps
  • Around America
  • BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.)
  • California State University, Bakersfield
  • Community Health Systems
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Federal Government
  • Florida State University
  • Freelance organizer and videographer
  • HCA (Hospital Corporation of America)
  • Old Dominion Freight Line
  • Parallon HCA
  • SunTrust Bank
  • Tennessee Center for Child Welfare
  • Tennessee State Government
  • Tufts University
  • University of Central Oklahoma
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Toledo

 

Dr. Ron Bombardi
Department Chair
ron.bombardi@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Jenna Gray-Hildenbrand
Assistant Professor
jenna.gray-hildenbrand@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Michael Hinz
Associate Professor
michael.hinz@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Clarence Sholé Johnson
Professor
clarence.johnson@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Rebekka King
Assistant Professor
rebekka.king@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Mary Magada-Ward
Professor
mary.magada-ward@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. James Phil Oliver
Associate Professor
james.oliver@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Michael Principe
Professor
michael.principe@mtsu.edu

Hide

Dr. Jack Purcell
Associate Professor
jack.purcell@mtsu.edu

Hide
Programs in the department lead to a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree with a major in Philosophy.

Minors are offered in Philosophy and Religious Studies. The department also contributes to 17 academic minors.

The sample schedule below is based on the current undergraduate catalog. It is not a substitute for academic advisement. Contact your advisor if you have any questions about scheduling or about your degree requirements or consult the undergraduate catalog (catalog.mtsu.edu) for a complete list of requirements and electives.

You may choose to attend a summer term to reduce your load during fall or spring terms but still stay on track to graduate in four years. (Refer to the scholarships website for information regarding use of the Lottery Scholarship for the summer term.)

NOTE: Learning Support courses will alter the sequences on this map. Missing milestones could delay your program.

Philosophy Academic Map

Department of Philosophy
Middle Tennessee State University | Murfreesboro


Suggested Fall/Spring and Summer/Fall/Spring Four-Year Schedule

Click here for printer friendly academic map.

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
CourseHoursMilestones/Notes CourseHoursMilestones/Notes
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
PHIL 1030 (Hum/FA)3  PHIL elective3Hours toward major
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  MATH (Math)3 
Nat Sci (Prefix A)4  Nat Sci (Prefix B)4 
Foreign Language 10103Competency required* Foreign Language 10203Competency required*
SUBTOTAL16  SUBTOTAL16 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  PHIL 3150 (or PHIL elective)3Hours toward major
Soc/Beh Sci (Prefix A)3  Soc/Beh Sci (Prefix B)3 
PHIL 21103Major requirement Hum/FA3 
Foreign Language 20103Competency required* Foreign Language 20203Competency required*
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
PHIL elective3Hours toward major PHIL elective3Hours toward major
Minor elective3  Minor elective3 
Minor elective3  Minor elective3 
General elective3  General elective3 
General elective3  General elective3 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL15 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
PHIL 40103Major requirement PHIL 40203Major requirement
PHIL elective3Hours toward major PHIL elective3Hours toward major
Minor elective3  General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor)
General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor) General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor)
General elective3  General elective1 
SUBTOTAL15  SUBTOTAL13 
*If competency in a foreign language is otherwise demonstrated, substitute an elective.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

FRESHMAN FALL FRESHMAN SPRING
ENGL 1010 (Comm)3  ENGL 1020 (Comm)3 
PHIL 1030 (Hum/FA)3  PHIL elective3Hours toward major
Nat Sci (Prefix A)4  Nat Sci (Prefix B)4 
Foreign Language 10103Competency required* Foreign Language 10203Competency required*
SUBTOTAL13  SUBTOTAL13 
FRESHMAN SUMMER
COMM 2200 (Comm)3  MATH (Math)3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SOPHOMORE FALL SOPHOMORE SPRING
ENGL 2020, ENGL 2030, or HUM 2610 (Hum/FA)3  PHIL 3150 (or PHIL elective)3Hours toward major
Soc/Beh Sci (Prefix A)3  Soc/Beh Sci (Prefix B)3 
PHIL 21103Major requirement Hum/FA (Prefix C)3 
Foreign Language 20103Competency required* Foreign Language 20203Competency required*
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SOPHOMORE SUMMER
HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303  HIST 2010, HIST 2020, or HIST 20303 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
JUNIOR FALL JUNIOR SPRING
PHIL elective3Hours toward major PHIL elective3Hours toward major
Minor elective3  Minor elective3 
Minor elective3  Minor elective3 
General elective3  General elective3 
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
JUNIOR SUMMER
General elective3  General elective3 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL3 
SENIOR FALL SENIOR SPRING
PHIL 40103Major requirement PHIL 40203Major requirement
PHIL elective3Hours toward major PHIL elective3Hours toward major
Minor elective3  General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor)
General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor) General (or minor elective)3(If needed for minor)
SUBTOTAL12  SUBTOTAL12 
SENIOR SUMMER
General elective3  General elective1 
SUBTOTAL3  SUBTOTAL1 
*If competency in a foreign language is otherwise demonstrated, substitute an elective.

TOTAL HOURS IN PROGRAM: 120

Graduation information may be accessed here.

Philosophy

PHIL 1030 - Introduction to Philosophy
3 credit hours
Basic philosophical problems suggested by everyday experience integrated into a coherent philosophy of life through comparison with solutions offered by prominent philosophers.

PHIL 2110 - Elementary Logic and Critical Thinking
3 credit hours
Principles of deductive and inductive reasoning, problem solving, and the analysis of arguments in everyday language.

PHIL 3120 - Perspectives on Science and Math
3 credit hours
Readings, discussions, and activities associated with history and philosophy of science and mathematics.

PHIL 3150 - Ethics
3 credit hours
Examines major ethical theories, the moral nature of human beings, and the meaning of good and right and applies ethical theories to resolving moral problems in personal and professional lives.  

PHIL 3160 - Philosophy of Happiness
3 credit hours
Examines the concept of human happiness and its application in everyday living as discussed since antiquity by philosophers, psychologists, writers, spiritual leaders, and contributors to popular culture.

PHIL 3170 - Ethics and Computing Technology
3 credit hours
Exposes students to the fundamentals of ethical theory and familiarizes them with some of the practical, ethical, and legal issues with which they would have to deal as computer scientists.

PHIL 3200 - Asian Thought
3 credit hours
The origins, development, essence, and implications of leading philosophical-religious traditions originating in Asia.

PHIL 3300 - Philosophy of Religion
3 credit hours
Examines issues of religious experience, religious knowledge, faith and reason, the existence and nature of God, evil, religious diversity, life after death.

PHIL 3310 - Atheism and Philosophy
3 credit hours
Examines various philosophical perspectives on atheism, understood as the belief that no transcendent creator deity exists, and that there are no supernatural causes of natural events. Compares and contrasts this belief with familiar alternatives (including theism, agnosticism, and humanism), considers the spiritual significance of atheism, and explores implications for ethics and religion.

PHIL 3340 - Environmental Ethics
3 credit hours
Examines the relation of humans to the rest of nature, clarifying the relevant ethical issues and exploring from various perspectives their application to present and future ecological concerns.

PHIL 3345 - Bioethics
3 credit hours
Explores ethical issues arising from the practice of medical therapeutics, from the development of new biomedical technologies, and more largely from reflections on life's meaning and prospects in the face of changing modalities of intervention fostered particularly by the various life sciences.

PHIL 3400 - Symbolic Logic
3 credit hours
(Same as MATH 3400.) The elements of propositional calculus-propositional connectives and their truth functions, validity, proof, and an introduction to quantification theory. Where appropriate and natural, parallels from elementary set theory introduced.

PHIL 3500 - Philosophy, Race, and Society
3 credit hours
Examines sociopolitical and existential concerns of African Americans, especially in respect to issues of justice, equality, and the very meaning of life in a world of anti-black racism, against the backdrop of "enlightenment" philosophical discourse on race and personhood.

PHIL 3600 - Philosophy and Film
3 credit hours
Examination of the cinematic expression of philosophical issues and development of philosophical issues in cinema.

PHIL 3690 - Social Philosophy
3 credit hours
The main problems of social philosophy are surveyed: the distinctive nature of social reality and the nature of social knowledge and how they relate to value theory.

PHIL 4010 - History of Ancient and Medieval Philosophy
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: PHIL 1030 or permission of instructor. The development of philosophical thought from Thales to Occam.

PHIL 4020 - History of Modern Philosophy
3 credit hours
The development of philosophical thought from Hobbes to Hegel.

PHIL 4050 - Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
3 credit hours
Emphasis on movements such as German idealism, the rise of the philosophy of the social sciences, historical materialism, utilitarianism, and early critiques of modernism.

PHIL 4100 - Aesthetics
3 credit hours
The nature of art, aesthetic experience, and artistic creation.

PHIL 4130 - Philosophy and Literature
3 credit hours
Explores philosophical questions about literature, philosophical themes in literature, and differing assessments of the relation of philosophical to literary texts.

PHIL 4150 - Formal Logic
3 credit hours
The nature and methods of formal deductive logic, truth functional logic, quantification theory, identity relations, propositional calculus.

PHIL 4200 - Existentialism
3 credit hours
The nature, significance, and application of the teachings of several outstanding existential thinkers.

PHIL 4240 - Recent Continental Philosophy
3 credit hours
The critical examination of various movements and key figures in recent European philosophy.

PHIL 4250 - Philosophy of Gender
3 credit hours
Examines major work in contemporary feminist philosophy and feminist theory, with particular emphasis on the relation of sex and gender, feminist accounts of inquiry, feminist ethical issues, and feminist aesthetics.  

PHIL 4300 - American Philosophy
3 credit hours
Development of American thought with emphasis on naturalism, idealism, and pragmatism.

PHIL 4350 - Philosophy of Language
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: PHIL 2110 recommended. Introduces students to the most influential analyses of meaning, reference, and truth of early twentieth-century Anglo-American philosophy; explores how the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein transforms canonical accounts of language; considers the role of metaphor in human communication and understanding.

PHIL 4400 - Analytic Philosophy
3 credit hours
Examines twentieth-century analytic movement including logical atomism, logical positivism, indeterminacy semantics, ordinary language philosophy.

PHIL 4450 - Marx and Marxism
3 credit hours
An examination of the development of Marxist philosophy up to and including the present.

PHIL 4500 - Philosophy of Science
3 credit hours
The methods, problems, and presuppositions of scientific inquiry.

PHIL 4550 - Philosophy of Mind
3 credit hours
Classical philosophy of mind (emphases: the mind-body problem, theories of consciousness) and contemporary applications of philosophy to psychology (emphases: logic and cognition, emotion and reason, artificial intelligence).

PHIL 4560 - Philosophy of Music
3 credit hours
Examines issues in both traditional philosophies of music and contemporary philosophies of music making and musical perception.

PHIL 4600 - Philosophy of History
3 credit hours
Nature of historical knowledge and problems of historical inquiry; meaning and value of history; reality of the past; historical determinism and human freedom.

PHIL 4800 - Readings in Philosophy
3 credit hours
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor. Directed study concerning a particular philosophical problem or thinker.

Religious Studies

RS 2030 - Religion and Society
3 credit hours
Introduces the academic study of world religions with an emphasis on the ways religion both influences and is influenced by society and human behavior.

RS 3010 - The Bible: Its Origin and Content
3 credit hours
Studies the historical development of biblical and extra-biblical texts with an emphasis on cultivating the skills of critical textual analysis, an understanding of reception history, and the emergence of diverse canons and interpretive approaches across different communities, both Jewish and Christian.

RS 3020 - Comparative Religion
3 credit hours
The meaning of religion in life, both ancient and modern. The impact of intellectual and emotional commitment upon conduct is emphasized through a study of world religions.

RS 3030 - Mapping Religious Diversity
3 credit hours
Explores religious diversity in North America with a focus on local case studies. Students will conduct original, ethnographic research examining religious sites in Murfreesboro.

RS 3040 - The History of Christianity
3 credit hours
A socio-historical survey of Christian thought and practice from the patristic period to the contemporary era. Discusses major events, texts, and figures in Christian history. Includes the study of theological concepts, interpretations of scripture, Christianity and politics, gender and sexuality, and disputes over orthodoxy.

RS 3600 - Religion and Film
3 credit hours
Examines the cinematic expression of religious traditions and development of religious issues in cinema.

RS 4010 - Global Christianity
3 credit hours
Examines global Christianities focusing on how narratives of the global correspond to and feed into localized religious practices within Christianity in a variety of regional and specific contexts.

RS 4020 - Jesus of Nazareth
3 credit hours
Surveys the diverse portraits of Jesus reflected in the socio-culture interface of the first century CE, early Christian literature, the modern scholarly quest for the historical Jesus, and in light of recent discussions, movements, films, and books

RS 4030 - Contemporary Issues in Indigenous Religions
3 credit hours
Examines and analyzes contemporary issues in the religious lives of Native American, First Nations, Aboriginal, and other indigenous groups from a religious studies perspective.

RS 4050 - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
3 credit hours
Explores historical and socio-cultural developments within Judaism, Christianity, and Islam; their relation to other religions of the world.

RS 4120 - Cults and New Religious Movements
3 credit hours
Investigates how new religious movements emerge, develop, and interact with American society and surveys "cult controversies" in the United States, asking why some new religious movements gain cultural legitimacy while others do not.

RS 4130 - Religion and Law
3 credit hours
Explores the complex and contested relationship between religion and the law by examining how debates over the proper relationship of religion and government as well as the limits of religious freedom have developed and changed over time.

RS 4700 - Special Topics in Religious Studies
3 credit hours
An in-depth study of a specific topic in Religious Studies. Content will vary from semester to semester and will reflect the research interests and expertise of the instructor. May be taken more than once, as topics change for a maximum of 9 hours.

RS 4800 - Readings in Religious Studies
3 credit hours
Directed study concerning a particular problem or thinker within religious studies.