Beginning in the fall semester, the School of Arts and Humanities will offer a bachelor’s degree in philosophy that will include new courses in logic, the history of philosophy, social and political philosophy, and philosophy of art and aesthetics.
The bachelor’s degree, approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in February, will engage students in critical analysis of texts, rigorous argumentation, and questioning of unexamined personal and cultural assumptions, said Dr. Matthew J. Brown, philosophy professor and director of the Center for Values in Medicine, Science and Technology.
“Philosophy engages the most deep, important and persistent questions,” Brown said. “Questions concerning the nature of the good life, why we believe and how we know, the nature of the self and its connection with the world and with society, and the foundations of justice.”
Brown said the new degree will be closely connected to the interdisciplinary nature of the arts and humanities program, drawing on and contributing to the study of history, literature and the arts. It will also have a unique focus on the philosophy of science, technology and medicine.
The program will draw upon the University’s strengths in engineering, natural sciences, and the behavioral and brain sciences. Brown said the program already has a strong catalog, offering courses in philosophy of science and technology and contemporary continental philosophy, but it will expand to include the philosophy of medicine and medical ethics.
“A university focused on scientific discovery and technological innovation has a balancing responsibility to support and foster philosophic examination. The new degree is a significant addition to UT Dallas.”
The faculty includes experts in continental philosophy, American pragmatism and the history of philosophy. Brown said the program wants to add experts in feminist philosophy and naturalistic philosophy.
“A philosophy student at UT Dallas will display a broad knowledge of contemporary philosophical traditions and historical movements in philosophy,” said Dr. Charles Bambach, professor of philosophy. “More than this, the philosophy degree will also provide excellent preparation for graduate and professional school, by providing marketable skills in high demand, including critical thinking, problem solving and graceful writing.
“Beyond this, philosophy teaches one how to understand not only a text, but the way language shapes our very lives as human beings. What is at stake here is understanding life as something ethical to its core — with profound implications for how we negotiate our place in the world with others.”
Brown said the subject provides some of the best preparation for graduate and professional schools, and philosophy students consistently rank among the highest scorers of any major on the GRE and LSAT, according to data from the Law School Admission Council and the Graduate Management Admission Council.
“A university focused on scientific discovery and technological innovation has a balancing responsibility to support and foster philosophic examination,” said Dr. Dennis M. Kratz, dean of the school and the Ignacy and Celina Rockover Professor of Humanities. “The new degree is a significant addition to UT Dallas.”
The regular application deadline for the fall 2017 term is May 1.