Philosophy Major Semester Report
Please address the following questions as comprehensively as possible, perhaps about 200-300 words for each of the five questions. Please send this to your advisor at least a few days prior to meeting with him or her. To help you formulate your answers, please consult the Philosophy web site, which provides prompts for each question. You need not attend to all the prompts. They are only there to help you formulate your answers. Be sure that you answer each question with care and some specificity. Your answers will be shared with the faculty in the Philosophy department, but with no one else.
- The Big Picture: What is the purpose of philosophy, and how may it help you to become the person you would like to be?
- Your overall progress as a philosopher: Why did you become a major in Philosophy, and how are you doing? Do you feel you are making any progress? (Feel free to consult the “Philosophical Goals” of this department as stated on our web site to help you assess this question).
- The recent past: How did classes from last semester and this semester (both in Philosophy and other subjects) add to your development as a Philosophy Major?
- The near future: Please list your choice of classes for next semester both in Philosophy and in other subjects. In what ways do you think they will increase your philosophical knowledge as well as affect your life? Are there opportunities outside academia that may assist in your development as a Philosophy Major?
- Feedback to the Philosophy Department. We would appreciate your feedback in regard to our course offerings, activities, and anything else you think might be useful. Do you have any specific requests of us? How might we improve the Philosophy major? How can we help you achieve your goals in Philosophy and/or strengthen your Big Picture goals?
Prompts for Questions included on Philosophy Major Semester Report
Be assured this is for your guidance. It is not a test of any kind. We encourage you to answer only the questions that you find particularly meaningful and important for your own philosophical development. Do not try to answer all the questions. Feel free to ask a faculty member to look at a draft if you think it would be helpful.
Question 1: The Big Picture: What is the purpose of philosophy, and how may it help you to become the person you would like to be? (Feel free to consult the “Philosophical Goals” of the department as stated on our web site to help you assess this question).
- Think in the broadest sense!
- Why are you in Philosophy?
- What are some of the problems/possibilities/opportunities in the world that your philosophical studies may help you to address or understand, solve or forestall?
- Have you developed favored thinkers? Favored philosophical issues? Who or what are they, and why do you favor these in particular?
- Which challenges do you foresee in meeting your Big Picture goals?
(You are welcome to use statements on your previous reports, but be sure to update them.)
Question 2: Your overall progress as a philosopher: Why did you become a major in Philosophy, and how are you doing? Do you feel you are making any progress?
- Are you able to integrate your thinking from your various courses in and outside of Philosophy?
- Are you beginning to see continuities between your philosophy courses?
- What do you foresee being your main focus for the senior seminar paper? (If you are in the seminar now, what is your focus?)
- How does your senior seminar focus connect or depart from the history of philosophical ideas?
- How do you see your main focus in this seminar address your Big Picture goals?
- How will your senior seminar focus help you to put philosophy to good use in the world?
- How have your philosophical endeavors changed the ways you relate to and with other individuals and communities?
- How do you envision your future? Do you intend to do graduate work in Philosophy or in a related field?
- Would your main focus for the senior seminar be your concentration in graduate school? Why or why not?
- Has philosophy so far helped you in becoming the kind of person and the kind of thinker you would like to be?
Question 3. The recent past: How did last semester’s classes both in Philosophy and other subjects add to your development as a Philosophy Major?
- In what ways did your courses last semester connect with each other and your previous courses?
- In what ways have your Philosophy courses helped you connect with people inside and outside the Elon community?
- What opportunities, intellectual or practical, have you engaged in outside your studies?
- Have these external activities enhanced your development as a Philosophy major?
- How did your Philosophy course work so far enlighten you as a thinker?
- Have you found a favorite philosopher(s) or philosophical issue?
- How has this discovery increased your understanding of Philosophical ideas?
- What has this discovery done for you as a Philosophy major and as a person?
Question 4. The near future: Please list your choice of classes for next semester both in Philosophy and other subjects. In what ways do you think they will increase your philosophical knowledge as well as affect your life? Are there opportunities outside academia you think may assist in your development as a Philosophy Major?
- What Philosophy courses are you enrolled in for next semester?
- How will your new courses connect with previous courses?
- Have they affected how you think about politics, economics and environmental issues occupying the country?
- What intellectual and ethical opportunities have opened up for you because of your Philosophy courses?
- Are you taking advantage of these opportunities?
- Are you participating in Philosophical endeavors outside of classes, i.e. The Philosophy Café or other discussion groups?
- In what ways does such external activities advance your general philosophical understanding and deepened your course work?
- What tools or skills have you learned that enhance your understanding of philosophical ideas?
- In what ways have they contributed to your Big Picture goals?
- Question 5. Feedback to the Philosophy Department.
Prompts: Course suggestions; paper suggestions; advice; office visits; improvements to major; individual assistance; improvements to report?