Department Learning Goals
The Philosophy Department at Bowdoin College seeks to promote the following among its students:
- The ability to articulate arguments: to say what assumptions they are using as premises in an argument and to explain why their conclusion follows from those premises. This requires both clear thinking and clear self-expression, particularly in writing.
- The ability to analyze what arguments others are using to support their own conclusions.
- The ability and willingness to engage in open-minded criticism of their own arguments and the arguments of others.
- Familiarity with the central figures in the history of western philosophy, including their views, the arguments for their views, and notable objections to their views. Historical figures have provided a framework for philosophical discussion that is still used today, and engaging them not only teaches about the history of ideas but enhances our understanding of current philosophical debates.
- Familiarity with contemporary philosophical debates.
- The habits of intellectual discipline and creativity that allow independent research.
- The habits of intellectual rigor and integrity needed for fruitful thought in all fields.