Skip to Catalog 2023-2024 site navigationSkip to main content

Philosophy (B.A.)

Website: School of Humanities and Global Studies



Current as of June 2024

About the Major

Thinking about a major?  Philosophy is a major in thinking.

Philosophers rethink everyday assumptions about what is real, what we can know, and whom we should strive to be.  In English, we say philosophy, derived from the Greek philos and Sophia, is the study of the love of wisdom. In Sanskrit, we say vidyā, the root of which is to reason upon, including knowledge of the knower and the known. In Buddhism, philosophy refers to the core values found in the universal truths or paths. Indigenous philosophical traditions on nearly every continent are rooted in values, such as harmony within community and with the laws of nature. When applied to economics, law, science, education, and other practical areas, an awareness of how these traditions differ and what they share in common offers insights to attaining a peaceful and sustainable future.

At Ramapo, our Philosophy students learn how to formulate logical and effective argument — the key to philosophical discourse.  Students consider the over-arching questions of philosophical traditions such as: Does God exist?  What is the connection between my mind and body?  How do we know we exist?  What do we know for sure? How should we treat ourselves or other people?  Are we free or determined? In addition, students have a wide choice of courses in applied philosophy, to consider the questions of our times such as: Is globalization good for humankind?  Is euthanasia morally permissible?  Is war ever justified?  Should art ever be censored?  What is the ethical obligation to sustainable living?

Outcomes for the Major

Goal 1: Understand metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics by closely reading the major figures and problems of those subjects.

Outcome 1.1 Students should be able to describe the major figures and problems of ethics, metaphysics, and/or epistemology.

Outcome 1.2 Students should be able contextualize a particular philosophical reading as rooted in the intersecting Indigenous, South Asian, East Asian, Abrahamic, and/or Greco-Roman traditions.

Outcome 1.3 Students should be able to relate these figures, problems, and traditions to real-world concerns, viz., in the social sciences, politics, and/or art.

Goal 2:  Employ the diverse methods of philosophical argument, including logic, observation, contemplation, and dialogue.

Outcome 2.1 Students should be able to understand and use induction and deduction in formal and informal logical analysis.

Outcome 2.2 Students should be able to observe, contemplate, and dialogue with others and with academic research in their oral communication and in their formal writing.

Outcome 2.3 Students should be able to make an engaging philosophical presentation.

Requirements of the Major
  1. Students are required to take 11 courses (44 credits) to complete this major.
  2. Transfer students who have 48 or more credits accepted at the time of transfer are waived from the courses marked with a (W) below.  Waivers do not apply to Major Requirements.
  3. Double counting between General Education, School Core, and Major may be possible.  Check with your advisor to see if any apply.
  4. Writing Intensive Requirement (five courses):  Two writing intensive courses in the general education curriculum are required: Critical Reading and Writing and Studies in the Arts and Humanities; the other three courses are taken in the major.
  5. The Career Pathways Program requirements must be completed prior to graduation. Visit the Cahill Career Center.

Not all courses are offered each semester.

Requirements of the Minor
  1. Students are required to take 5 courses (20 credits) to complete this minor.
  2. Courses fulfilling the requirements for the primary or second major may count towards the requirements of the minor, but may not exceed one-half of the credits required in the minor. A School core does not need to be completed for a minor.  Minors are open to students regardless of school affiliation.