This minor in philosophy offers students a good basic grounding in philosophy. It examines various branches of philosophy including logic, epistemology, ontology, ethics, and religious philosophy. Philosophers such as Aristotle, St Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and Hegel are examined, along with more contemporary movements such as Nihilism, Existentialism, Structuralism and Post-Structuralism.

Programme Structure

Minor Requirements – US Credits 18 – UK Credits 72

This course introduces students to discipline of philosophy. It examines various branches of philosophy including logic, epistemolgy, ontology, ethics, political and religious philosophy. It takes a topic-based rather than historical approach, and looks at set of problems such as the mind-body problem, empiricism versus rationalism, and subjectivism versus naturalism. To this end, various important Western philosophers will be considered including Aristotle, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant & Russell.

This Course examines the development of the European philosophical tradition from the Pre-Modern period, through the Modern Period, and considers some Contemporary philosophical trends. Students will study original texts from thinkers as diverse as Thomas a Kempis, Aquinas, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Wittgenstein, Sartre, Barthes, Foucault and Butler. Philosophical pairs such as rationalism and empiricism, idealism and materialism, and structuralism and poststructuralism will be examined. The influence of science and psychology on the ‘modern European mind’ will also be reviewed.

plus ONE of the following

The course follows the expansionist nature of colonial societies from the first contacts with sub-Saharan Africa to the abolition of slavery in Brazil. The overview is the effects these processes had on all the peoples involved, particularly around the growth of the slave trade and the consolidation of slave systems of labour. Emphasis will be placed on the factors involved in colonization and slavery: economic, cultural, racial, and religious.

This course provides students with an introduction to political thought and political philosophy, as it has developed in the Western World. The origins of modern political thought and political ideologies are discovered and explored through the study of a range of major political thinkers, such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Burke, Wollstonecraft, Marx, Mill, and Nietzsche.

This course engages students in an overview of the main philosophical, scientific and social ideas that formulated psychology as we know it today. We will cover conceptual and methodological positions underlying different paradigms and research trends in the study of human behaviour. We will examine the following questions: what is science and to what extend is psychology permeated by the characteristics of science; what is the extent of social and cultural construction in psychology; is or can psychology be morally or politically neutral; what can we learn from the history of psychology so far? In addition this course will address the issues involved in acquiring knowledge through various scientific methodologies, the critique of traditional methods in psychology, the relationship between facts and values and the significance of the standpoint from which values are understood. Finally, we will discuss ethical issues in psychology, their origins, the moral underpinnings of theory, research and practice and how psychologists construct ethically responsible practices within a social environment.

plus THREE of the following

The course examines the way language works in relation to communication and culture. Students study the systematic and structural aspects of language as a base for the exploration of broader questions, such as language and social class, identity, gender, technology, and bilingualism. The variety of languages spoken by students in the classroom provides a unique opportunity to explore language from international and intercultural perspectives.

This course familiarizes students with current debates in cultural and media studies related to the social construction and enactment of gendered identities. The first part of the course explores the impact of feminist politics and postfeminist culture on the spectrum of masculinities. The second part adopts a cross- cultural perspective and considers the influence of global media on consumption practices and social change.

This course introduces key thinkers, topics, case studies and theoretical frameworks related to the field of cultural studies. Students will be exposed to different toolkits for analysing everyday cultural practices, with a particular focus on historical, geographical and personal identity. Films, fashion, art, graphic design, video, music and other media objects will be analysed in order to engage with the theoretical frameworks presented. In addition to in-class theoretical discussion, students are encouraged to apply cultural theory in practice, through activities including gallery visits and first-hand explorations of consumerist practices.

This course is designed to develop students’ understanding of the concepts of environmental ethics through an analysis of historical and modern issues. The role of humans within nature and anthropogenic effects upon nature will be discussed along with typical environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, population issues, energy issues, conservation, women in the environment, and animal rights.

The aim of this course is to engage students directly in the study of historiography – how history is written, by whom, when – by studying key issues, ideas, practitioners, methodologies, theories and texts which have shaped the history of history, from its earliest origins in Antiquity through to the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. A chronological survey of this kind will enable students the opportunity to read key historians while emphasizing a comparative approach which highlights both continuity and change.

The theories of international relations are best introduced through a study of the classic texts and debates in the discipline. This course examines most of the theories and approaches to international politics, as well as their historic foundations. It begins with some philosophical debates regarding the purpose of theorising, the importance of understanding ontological and epistemological assumptions and the difference between ‘understanding’ and ‘explaining’ in international relations theory. The course then critically evaluates the grand and middle range theories of IR, followed by a multitude of multidisciplinary approaches to conceptualising global politics and the post-positivist critiques. The course provides students with a set of conceptual and analytical tools in order to acquire a deeper and more nuanced understanding of international relations and global politics.

The course will be based on critical reading and interpretation of selected texts available in English by influential Chinese thinkers and philosophers in ancient times such as Confucius, Lao Zi, Zhuang Zi etc. and analytical and critical commentary writings by both Chinese and European sinologists. With emphasis on a few fundamental concepts and ideas that impact on the Chinese way of thinking and behaviour, the course explores how the Chinese people and society interact with such key philosophies, ideas and events that construct the Chinese culture and underlines the structure and working of the Chinese society in the past and at the present.

Concentrates on the legal framework within which most business takes place. Topics include corporate problems of raising and maintaining capital by shares; relationships of board of directors to shareholders; respective rights and obligations; relationships of companies to third parties; control and the principle of majority rule. Examples are used of the way statute and judge-made case law has dealt with these problems.

This course examines the historical development of political economy, from liberal, mercantilist and radical political economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, to a range of 20th century scholars of political economy. The object of study in the course is theories of capitalism, and addressed themes include the nature of market society, the relationship between state and market, economic growth and economic crises, market failure and government failure, and the relations between capitalism, democracy, authority, and the individual. The course focuses on the study of major thinkers with regard to the capitalist system, such as Smith, Marx, Keynes, and Schumpeter.

Investigates the central debates and concepts of 20th and 21st century political theory. Through a close examination of key texts representative of the spectrum of contemporary ideological positions, students will become familiar with a variety of key arguments around political concepts such as equality, freedom, democracy and justice. Students will become familiar with central ideas that have shaped political activity in the 20th and 21st centuries and will become familiar key issues discussed in contemporary political theory.

Examines the theoretical, political and sociological conceptions of citizenship. Tracing the development of the concept from ancient societies to the present day, it examines both the theoretical constructs and the concrete political meanings of the term. The course therefore considers the development of the nation state and the establishment of both legal and social citizenship. The course also addresses the notion of global citizenship in the context of international governance as well as the globalization of both economies and environmental issues.

Examines the political, economic, ideological, and social dilemmas associated with environmental issues. The first section of the course addresses the historical roots of environmentalism, its key concepts, and a range of key thinkers and paradigms for understanding environmentalism as an ideology. The second section of the course explores the role of key actors engaged in environmental policy making, and important issues in contemporary environmental politics. Topics addressed include environmental movements and parties, global environmental regimes, the impact of the media on environmental issues, and prospects for green technologies and employment.

At least three of the upper division courses required for a minor must be taken at Richmond. No more than three courses may overlap within a degree between a student’s major and any minor.

Undergraduate Prospectus 2022