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University Catalog

Department of Philosophy

Susanna L. Goodin, Department Head
162 Ross Hall
Phone: (307) 766-3204
Web site:


HARVEY HIX, B.A. Belmont College 1982; M.A. University of Texas, Austin 1985; Ph.D. 1987; Professor of Philosophy and Creative Writing 2013.
JEFFREY A. LOCKWOOD, B.S. New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology 1982; Ph.D. Louisiana State University 1985; Professor of Philosophy and Creative Writing 2006.

Associate Professors

SUSANNA L. GOODIN, B.A. Texas Technical University 1981; M.A. Rice University 1985; Ph.D. 1990; Associate Professor of Philosophy 1998, 1992.
FRANZ-PETER GRIESMAIER, University of Vienna 1986; M.A. University of Colorado 1988; Ph.D. University of Arizona 1997; Associate Professor of Philosophy 2006, 2000.
EDWARD D. SHERLINE, A.B. Princeton University 1982; M.A. University of Chicago 1983; Ph.D. University of Illinois-Chicago 1990; Associate Professor of Philosophy 1996, 1989.

Assistant Professor

BRADLEY RETTLER, B.S. Crown College 2004; M.A. Biola University 2008; Ph.D. University of Notre Dame 2014; Assistant Professor of Philosophy 2018.

Academic Professional Lecturer

ROBERT S. COLTER, B.A. The University of Puget Sound 1992; M.A. University of Colorado 1995; Ph.D. Northwestern University 2001; Academic Professional Lecturer 2013, 2007.

Professors Emeriti

James Forrester, Richard L. Howey, James A. Martin, Carlos Mellizo-Cuadrado


Philosophy starts with those hard questions we all ask at some time or another. Some important questions of meaning and justification can't be answered by making observations or doing experiments. Philosophy is the effort to deal with these problems through sustained, hard, and critical thinking. Philosophy is good preparation for careers that call for you to use your mind, without prejudice but with rigor.

The Philosophy Department offers an undergraduate major, three undergraduate minors, and a graduate MA. For details on each of these programs, see the Philosophy Department web site.

Undergraduate Major

A philosophy major must earn a C or better in 11 philosophy courses, including three courses at or above the 4000-level and five additional courses at or above the 3000-level. Our courses fall into four program areas: metaphysics and epistemology; ethics and philosophy of value; logic and philosophy of science; and history of philosophy. In each of these areas, there are two core courses. Philosophy majors choose three of the four distribution areas; they take at least two courses, including a core course, in each of the chosen areas. All prospective majors should take Introduction to Philosophy.

The department allows its majors to concentrate in a number of interdisciplinary areas, and we welcome double-majors in philosophy and another field. Please consult the department's undergraduate adviser to work out a suitable program.

Minor in Philosophy

The minor in philosophy affords students the benefits, both personal and professional, of studying philosophy.

A student minoring in philosophy must earn a C or better in six philosophy courses, including four at the 3000-level or higher. 

Minor in Ethics

Ethical questions and problems arise in all aspects of life. A minor in ethics can complement and enrich any major field of study. The minor in ethics consists of six courses, four at the 3000 level or above. A student takes one course in each of these areas: ethical theory; applications; scientific, historical and social analysis, and capstone course. The other two courses are approved electives.

Minor in Environmental Values

The minor in Environmental Values may be added to any bachelor's program at UW.  This minor creates a vital link among the natural sciences, humanities, and social sciences through exploration of aesthetics, culture, ethics, and policy.

The minor requires a total of 18 credit hours, including at least one course within each of four areas of concentration.  At least 12 of these credits must be outside the primary major, and nine of these credits must be at or above the 3000-level.  A three-hour, core course (either PHIL 2330 Environmental Ethics or PHIL 2340 Natural Resource Ethics) is required of all students.

Graduate Study

The Department of Philosophy offers the master of arts degree under the Plan A 

Program Specific Admission Requirements

A writing sample of no more than 3,000 words on any subject in philosophy.
A statement describing specific philosophical interests.

Program Specific Graduate Assistantships

The department offers two to three graduate assistantships yearly on a competitive basis. These assistantships carry a tuition and fee waiver, plus a stipend. For more information, please contact the department.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Plan A (thesis)
31 hours of graduate credit
27 hours of graduate coursework
4 hours of thesis research

Proof of proficiency in formal logic (through first-order predicate logic with identity) by either passing the department’s course (3420) or some other course judged to be its equivalent with a grade B or better or by completing a test with a grade B or better at the end of the second semester.

First year paper at the beginning of the third semester.

Defense of a thesis prospectus by the end of the third semester.

In any cases of deficiency, the department may require remedial work before admission to M.A. candidacy.

Philosophy (PHIL) Courses

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