Major Overview

Philosophy has long concerned itself with fundamental questions regarding existence, value, and truth—What is real? Why are we here? What is the nature of our moral obligations? To that end, our curriculum will use the history of philosophy to ground you in its major disciplines, including ethics and metaphysics, and will include an especial focus on Greek philosophy, the early modern and modern period, and 20th century continental philosophy. You will be introduced to the fundamental methods of philosophical inquiry with a historical overview of Western philosophy, from ancient to contemporary philosophical thought, which will allow you to develop your own philosophical interests within a broad range of topic-oriented courses across the humanities, social sciences, and sciences.


The educational goals for this major are as follows:

  • Philosophical Analysis: you will identify, comprehend and differentiate philosophical concepts, definitions, theses, and arguments paying attention to their discursive organization via slow and careful reading.
  • Reflective Orientation: you will use conceptual analysis to articulate a problem or question that arises within an academic discipline or a social practice.
  • Historical Contextualization: you will sketch the historical context of a philosophy and position it accurately within the history of philosophy.
  • Interdisciplinary Imagination: you will gain the capacity to build bridges between philosophy and other academic disciplines, and to bring philosophy to bear on extra-philosophical objects.
  • Written Arguments: you will write a structured and persuasive analytic argument that develops an enquiry in the genre of an academic essay.
  • Lucid Speech: you will gain the capacity to clearly articulate and defend a philosophical position orally whilst maintaining correct syntax and an appropriate lexicon Analysis.

Learning Environment

Your core classes will cover the history of philosophy and philosophical logic, while also reinforcing your ability to articulate philosophy’s different disciplines. As you choose courses that focus on your philosophical disciplines of interest, including epistemology and aesthetics, and progress in your studies, our interdisciplinary curriculum will encourage you to take a comparative look at philosophy with another discipline or practice, like cinema or political economy. 

Major Components
Build Your Degree

With every single one of our majors, you’ll find a carefully curated medley of core courses and electives, which will provide you with the tools you need to establish an unshakeable foundation in the principles and concepts fundamental to your growth within your disciplines of choice. Many majors also enable you to specialize further within the broader area of study.

Core Courses

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision.  

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With the three class options that you choose from the “Exploring Your Questions” electives, you will concentrate on topics with which you will be able to engage during your time at AUP and afterwards, including philosophy’s historical inquiries into the nature of the body and the historical relationship between theater and philosophy.  

See all Major Electives

Core Courses

We aim to help you develop a range of skills, capacities, and modes of inquiry that will be crucial for your future since employers and graduate schools are looking for the critical thinking and innovative problem-solving skills that are associated with a liberal arts education, including sophisticated writing abilities, willingness to pose difficult questions, and an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts surrounding a topic or decision. 

Core Courses I
PL1100 History Of Philosophy I: From Ancient To Medieval

This course offers an overview of ancient and medieval philosophy. Beginning with the earliest Greek philosophers and ending with the late medieval founding fathers of modern scientific thought, we will read and discuss various answers these thinkers gave to questions such as: 'What is a good life?' or 'How can I reconcile my faith with what reason tells me?' Readings include Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus, Seneca, Plotinus, Anselm, Avicenna, Abelard, Maimonides, Thomas Aquinas and Nicolaus of Autrecourt.

PL1200 History Of Philosophy II: From Renaissance To Modern

Formerly PL2022. This course aims to provide a solid and comprehensive grounding in modern philosophy focusing on the main issues and theories of late Renaissance philosophy, modern Rationalism and Empiricism, philosophies of the Enlightenment, Critical philosophy, modern Idealism, Phenomenology and some questions of analytic philosophy. It offers an introduction to the works of the major figures of this tradition.

PL1300 How To Think: Formal Logic And Causal Reasoning

Introduction basic tools of factual reasoning, so that you can make better arguments, assess the arguments of others, and recognize typical mistakes in our thinking. The course combines a systematic introduction to basic formal logic and argument analysis with an overview of fundamentals of causal reasoning, the basis for all empirical acquisition of new information.

PL4094 Thesis Workshop

Upon a successful thesis application students must complete the thesis workshop in which they develop their thesis proposal through the submission of a literature review, an annotated bibliography of primary and secondary sources, and a draft of the first chapter. Students will learn how to plan and execute a substantial research project with the professor's close supervision.

PL4095 Senior Project

A Senior Project is an independent study representing a Major Capstone Project that needs to be registered using the Senior Project registration form. (Download:

Core Courses II (choose three)
PL1021 Ethical Inquiry: Problems And Paradigms

How should I live? How can I determine whether an action is right or just? These are perennial questions that philosophers have long considered and attempted to answer. Explores the ethical writings of several philosophers, including Plato, Hobbes, and Mill, in order to help us clarify and articulate our own values as well as discover the nature of philosophy.


PL2003 Political Philosophy

Political philosophy forms that branch of philosophy that reflects on the specificity of the political. Why are humans, as Aristotle argued, political animals? How are they political? What are the means and ends of the political, and how best does one organize the political with such questions in mind? The course offers a topic-oriented approach to the fundamental problems underlying political theory and practice.


PL2036 Metaphysics, Science & Rationalism

This course explores the impact of modern science upon philosophy through an exploration of the fundamental texts of classical metaphysics - Descartes' Principles of Philosophy, Spinoza's Ethics, Leibniz's Discourse on Metaphysics and The Monadology - an examination guided by the question of what is it to act with freedom and grace in an infinite universe ruled by the laws of nature.


PL2037 Empiricism, Skepticism & Materialism

In this course we shall examine the birth of empiricism in polemics over the origins of knowledge and political authority, the limits of human reason, and the possibility of philosophy itself finding a way out of the seventeenth century's religious wars and tyranny towards the creation of free and tolerant societies of rational individuals. Readings from Descartes, Locke, Berkeley and Hume.


PL2070 Philosophy Of Mind

Systematic introduction to core questions of the philosophy of mind: What is consciousness? How does the mind relate to the body? How does the mind relate to the world through perception, thought, emotions, and actions? Case-based exploration of the consequences answers to these questions have for our conception of, e.g., reality, social relations, moral values, and a person or self.


PL3074 Philosophy Of Aesthetics

What is Art? What is Beauty? How can I know what is beautiful? And what does it mean to me? These are some of Aesthetics’ main questions as it is the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and value of art and the criteria of artistic judgment and experience. Various answers have been given throughout the history of philosophy, from Plato and Aristotle to Kant and today’s analytical or postmodern philosophy, making of aesthetics a vibrant and dynamic discipline, constantly revitalised by new art forms and critical concepts. Through a thorough historical survey of the notion students learn to discuss art and beauty in a time when these classical notions are undergoing very important changes. Everyone is encouraged to bring in his or her own experience of art. There is no prerequisite for this course.