Fields

Most PHIL courses are assigned an upper-case letter A or B. In the College catalog and on the departmental website, the letter is put in parentheses at the end of the course description. (Ignore any roman numerals at the ends of course descriptions; they are for the graduate program.) This letter indicates which of the two principal areas or fields of philosophy the course belongs to:

A = Practical Philosophy (ethics, social and political philosophy, aesthetics). Courses in this area focus on such topics as the nature and justification of moral requirements, social justice and political legitimacy, the character of aesthetic judgment, and the nature of representation in art.

B = Theoretical Philosophy (philosophy of science and mathematics, metaphysics, epistemology). Courses in this area focus on the fundamental categories involved in our understanding of the world (causation, substance and change, universals and particulars, the nature of mind), the character and basis of human knowledge, the criteria and goals of scientific explanation, the relation between theory and evidence, and the nature of mathematical knowledge and proof.

The primary function of the field designation is to enable majors and minors to determine which courses satisfy their distribution requirement. But this system is also helpful in indicating the focus of some of the courses where this may not be readily apparent.

Field assignments for current courses are available in the College Catalog and a master list and fields audit form is on the wiki.  The Courses section of the Departmental website lists field assignments for both current and past courses.  Further information about distribution requirements is available in the College Catalog and also under The Major in Philosophy and The Minor in Philosophy.