Feb 27, 2024  
College Catalog 2022-2023 
College Catalog 2022-2023 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


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Full Time Faculty: Samuel Asarnow, Janet Folina, Geoffrey Gorham (Chair), Martin Gunderson, Hannah Kim, Diane Michelfelder

Part Time Faculty: Joy Laine, William Wilcox

The Philosophy Department aims to foster rigorous, creative and productive philosophical activity at Macalester College and in the broader community. The central topics of philosophy - the nature of reason and knowledge, the structure of physical and mental reality, the meaning and value of life, how one ought to live and act, and the origin and function of society - are at the heart of liberal arts education. The Philosophy Department therefore encourages focused study of these core issues as well as interdisciplinary inquiry that emphasizes the hallmarks of philosophical method: critical thinking, open and respectful dialogue, conceptual clarity, and attention to ethical and political significance. Philosophy students develop strong skills of logical analysis and textual interpretation, clear and persuasive written and oral argumentation, moral and political sensitivity, and a deep appreciation for the rich history of philosophy and its diverse ongoing practices. Such training provides excellent preparation for nearly any career and for a lifetime of continual intellectual growth, moral reflection and critical social engagement.

General Distribution Requirement

All courses in the philosophy department count toward the general distribution requirement in humanities except PHIL 111  (which does not count toward any of the distribution requirements) and PHIL 313  (which counts toward the distribution requirement in mathematics and natural science).

General Education Requirements

Courses that meet the general education requirements in writing, quantitative thinking, internationalism and U.S. identities and differences will be posted on the Registrar’s web page in advance of registration for each semester. 

Additional information regarding the general distribution requirement and the general education requirements can be found in the graduation requirements  section of this catalog.

Honors Program

The philosophy department participates in the honors program. Eligibility requirements, application procedures and specific project expectations for the department are available from either the department office or the Academic Programs and Advising Office.

Topics Courses

PHIL 194 , PHIL 294 , PHIL 394 , PHIL 494  

Courses, not regularly offered, which are designed to meet student interest in something not in the list of catalog courses. Recent offerings include: Ethical Theory; Mill’s Utilitarianism and On Liberty; Existentialism; Ecofeminism; Ethics of Information & Computing Technologies, Modern Political Philosophy, Human Rights and Healthcare, Philosophy of Biology, Philosophy of Sport, Social and Political Philosophy, and Kant. To be announced at registration. (4 credits)

Independent Study

The department offers independent study options in the form of tutorials, independent projects, internships, preceptorships and Honors independent projects. For more information contact the department and review the Curriculum  section of the catalog.


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