Department of Philosophy

Student Learning Outcomes

Philosophy, BA Student Learning Outcomes

SLO 1   Analytic Reading

  1. Students will be able to extract arguments from primary texts.
  2. Students will be able to distinguish valid from invalid arguments, plausible from implausible premises. 
  3. Students will be able to offer even-handed interpretations of texts, making issues and concerns relevant to the contemporary reader.
  4. Students will be able to contextualize texts relative to one another. 

SLO 2   Argumentative Skills

  1. Students will be able to give valid arguments with plausible premises, anticipating likely objections. 
  2. Students will be able to clearly explain a philosophical problem, canvasing some of its purported solutions, giving arguments for and against each.

SLO3    Philosophical Knowledge

  1. Students will be able to identify central ideas associated with central figures and movements from the history of philosophy.
  2. Students will be able to identify central ideas and movements within contemporary metaphysics and epistemology.
  3. Students will be able to identify central ideas and movements within contemporary value theory.

SLO4    Writing

  1. Students will be able to offer critical discussion that goes beyond mere reporting.
  2. Students will be able to articulate fully abstract claims in explicit, minimally figurative language.
  1. Students will be able to sustain a coherent intellectual narrative, including what is relevant, excluding what is not.
  2. Students will demonstrate a mastery of standard written English in matters of grammar, diction, and style. 

Core Philosophy Student Learning Outcomes

Students will be able to read analytically and critically. (SLO 2)

  1. Identify the writer’s purpose(s) and its or their implications.
  2. Analyze the major points made in developing the main point or thesis and the kinds of material used for the development and/or support.
  3. Analyze the writer’s basic assumptions and its implications.
  4. Analyze the writer’s voice, tone, style, and effectiveness of the writer’s argument or major points.

Students will be able to critique an argument effectively. (SLO 3A)

  1. Identify the conclusion of the argument.
  2. Identify the claims intended to support conclusion—that is, the premises—both explicit and implicit.
  3. Assess to what degree the premises, if true, support the conclusion.
  4. Assess the likelihood that the premises are true.

Students will be able to construct an effective argument. (SLO 3B)

  1. Identify and clearly state a thesis or conclusion that is supported by the best available evidence.
  2. State the best available evidence in the form of clear, unambiguous premises or claims.
  3. Determine which premises or claims, if any, require the support of more basic premises or claims.
  4. Make explicit any implicit premises, claims, or contexts.
  5. Anticipate the strongest objections that can be made against the argument.

Last Updated: June 26, 2017