Philosophy at Williams

could anyone clue me in on the philosophy deptt. at williams? i'm considering double majoring in Phil and Psci...should I take PHIL 101 or 102 for my first semester? and is Phil and Psci a good combo? And is knowing a foreign language a good idea for phil? I was considering german...but I've heard language courses are totally gruelling...and I don't want to crack up in my first semester!! help please!</p>

<p>I think Haon, a current Wms student who occasionally posts here, is a philosophy major - he's posted about philosophy from time to time. You could send him a PM.</p>

<p>(Yay for philosophy majors!)</p>

<p>I think 101 by nature is not as <em>philosophical</em> as 102, as 101 deals with moral and political philosophy and concerns itself basically with different ways to reason about certain political principles. I took 101 last semester with Professor Barry, who truly is amazing in the field of ethics and who is unfortunately on leave next year. I think 101 is a good class, but because different people engage the texts you will read at various philosophical levels, your discussions will often vary in quality, but generally, I believe they will be good. This semester I am taking 102 with Professor Mladenovic. I think because 102 deals with theoretical philosophy--metaphysics and epistemology--it will definitely teach you the requisite skills to perform well in all <em>philosophical</em> and political discussion, moreso, I think, then 101 will. 102 is also less discussion-oriented... so professors will offer more exposition on readings, which should help you form opinions of philosophical texts, in general. It might be better to start with 102 if you are at all interested in metaphysics and epistemology (i.e. philosophy of science, mind, consciousness, personal identity, truth, how we understand and know the world).</p>

<p>But you should not feel obliged to start with 101 or 102. You can always take a 200-level elective. I know Professor Pedroni is teaching some bioethics courses next semester and any of them might pique your interests. As a possibly philosophy major, you should definitely meet her--she is the sweetest person I know. She was an advisor for one of our debate teams (Ethics Bowl) and travelled with us. </p>

<p>If you have any more questions concerning either political science or philosopy here at Williams (my two possible majors) or anything at all, you can always pm me.</p>

<p>I am a philosophy major...I'm sorry for not replying earlier--I'm spending the year studying abroad at Oxford and I was traveling during our huge spring break over the past 5 weeks.</p>

<p>The philo department at Williams is--imo--excellent. Generally there are around 10-15 majors for around 10 profs in the dpt which is a great ratio...unfortunately for me, there are about 30 majors in my year. </p>

<p>Philo and psci are an interesting combination. Here at Oxford, Philo by itself is not offered and PPE (philosophy, politics, and economics) is one of the most common majors pursued. Personally I thought i'd be interested in psci coming into Williams and have since learned that it's not for me. </p>

<p>In terms of taking Phil 101 or 102, I took 102 first and preferred it to 101. 101 is pretty much centered around the Republic which is great (every undergrad should have to read it), but personally I prefer Hume and Descartes and Kant (who you read in 102). I didn't take a philo course until spring semester frosh year and it wasn't a problem at all for me, so don't hesitate to wait a semester if it doesn't fit into your schedule.</p>

<p>Regarding languages, language study is not necessary for an undergrad major in philo at Williams. If you plan on pursuing philo in grad school, german or french would be extremely helpful...but I wouldn't start taking one of them now to prepare for the chance that you might later want to go to philo grad school--you'll have time to pick them up later if you decide that's what you want to do (soph-sr year, or you could take some time off after college to learn them).</p>