Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies

Main Departmental Office

Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, 225

P.O. Box 310920

Denton, TX 76203-0920

(940) 565-2266


George A. James, Undergraduate Adviser


Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, 225E

(940) 565-4791

Eugene C. Hargrove, Chair



Professors Barnhart, Callicott, Gunter, Hargrove, Yaffe. Associate Professor James. Assistant Professor Klaver.


The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principle underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyse, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education. Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate "transferable work skill." The Times, London, August 15, 1998

The study of philosophy has always been an important component of higher learning. Indeed, in the early Greek proto-universities, the Academy of Plato and the Lyceum of Aristotle, philosophy was the very foundation of all study. In the history of the European universities, from the 13th century to the present, philosophy has retained a significant place in the curriculum, even when challenged by advocates of religion, belles lettres, science or business. It has been studied as an end in itself, in its relation to other areas and as a preparation for studies in law, theology and medicine.

Philosophy develops finely honed analytic skills and problem solving abilities that are extremely useful in almost any academic or scientific field and in a variety of professional careers, such as journalism, public health, criminal justice and the legal professions. It provides insight into our cultural heritage, through courses in the history of philosophy and comparative philosophy, and critical insight into many other fields in the humanities and the sciences, through such courses as philosophy of natural science, philosophy of social and behavioral science, theory of knowledge, and logic.

At the undergraduate level, the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies provides a traditional program emphasizing the history of philosophy. It seeks to teach the student methods of thinking about the comprehensive themes of truth, beauty, goodness and wisdom, conclusions concerning which can be used in the classroom as well as in life situations. In addition, it provides an interdisciplinary minor in religion studies for students interested in seminary study or graduate studies in religion. The major emphases of the department at the graduate level are research and instruction in environmental ethics and environmental philosophy. It is the leading program in this area nationally and internationally. The department collaborates with the Department of Biological Sciences in the graduate environmental science program.

Programs of Study

The department offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the following areas:

Bachelor of Arts

Degree Requirements

1. Hours Required and General/College Requirements: A minimum of 128 semester hours, of which 42 must be advanced, and fulfillment of degree requirements for the Bachelor of Arts degree as specified in the "General University Requirements " in the Academics section of this catalog and the College of Arts and Sciences requirements.

2. Major Requirements: The major requires completion of 30 hours in philosophy composed of an 18-hour core (PHIL 2050 or 3300, PHIL 3310, 3330, PHIL 3110 or 4400, PHIL 3250 or 3260, and 3 hours chosen from PHIL 3120, 3400 or 4600), plus an additional 9 hours of philosophy electives to be selected with and approved by the undergraduate adviser, and a capstone seminar (PHIL 4970) to be taken in the senior year.

3. Electives: See four-year plan.

Minor in Philosophy

A minor in philosophy consists of 18 semester hours, including 6 advanced hours to be approved by the undergraduate adviser.

Interdisciplinary Minor in Religion Studies

A minor in religion studies consists of 18 semester hours from the departments of philosophy and religion studies, anthropology, history and English. Twelve hours must be selected from an approved list of courses, including at least one course in western religion and one course in eastern or comparative religion. The additional 6 hours are to be selected with and approved by the religion studies adviser.

Graduate Degrees

The department offers a Master of Arts with a major in philosophy and a concentration in environmental ethics. A non-thesis option is available for students pursuing non-academic environmental career opportunities. Philosophy department faculty members participate in the Faculty of Environmental Ethics, a universitywide group within the Center for Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies. A description of graduate courses may be found in the Graduate Catalog.

The Center for Environmental Philosophy

Eugene C. Hargrove, Director

The Center for Environmental Philosophy encourages and supports workshops, conferences and other special projects, including postdoctoral research in the field of environmental ethics. Activities currently include the publication of Environmental Ethics: An Interdisciplinary Journal Dedicated to the Philosophical Aspects of Environmental Problems, which is now in its 23rd year of publication; Environmental Ethics Books, a reprint series of important books dealing with environmental ethics and philosophy; and annual workshops on college and university curriculum development, environmental journalism, ecotheology, and nature interpretation. National research conferences focusing on selected topics in environmental ethics are held on an irregular basis.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

The John C. Creuzot Scholarship provides $500 per semester ($1,000 annually) to one undergraduate philosophy major. The award continues from semester to semester as long as the recipient makes satisfactory progress toward the degree. Upon the scholarship holder's graduation, a new recipient is selected. To be eligible the student must be a philosophy major at the University of North Texas, maintain full-time enrollment at the university unless he or she has fewer than twice the number of semester hours required to be full time remaining in the program, have a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of coursework at the University of North Texas, and a minimum of 9 semester credit hours in philosophy in the department, 6 of which should be upper level.

A $500 fellowship is provided to one graduate student each semester by the Richardson Environmental Action League, a nonprofit recycling organization in Richardson, Texas. To be eligible a student must have completed 15 graduate semester credit hours.

Courses of Instruction

All Courses of Instruction are located in one section at the back of this catalog.

Course and Subject Guide

The "Course and Subject Guide," found in the Courses of Instruction section of this book, serves as a table of contents and provides quick access to subject areas and prefixes.

Major in Philosophy

Following is one suggested four-year degree plan. Students are encouraged to see their adviser each semester for help with program decisions and enrollment. Students are responsible for meeting all course prerequisites. *See the University Core requirements section of this catalog for approved list of course options. ** See Arts and Sciences Core requirements section of this catalog for approved list of course options.

BA with a Major in Philosophy-HTML

BA with a Major in Philosophy-PDF

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