Philosophy

Anfin Erickson ‘10 PHIL-AnfinErickson
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Philosophy

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

My favorite and least favorite things about the philosophy department are related.  The professors are the best thing about philosophy.  Whether its lecturing to the (few) large classes like PHIL 1 or conducting seminars like PHIL 50 or 80, they do an excellent job getting the material across and engaging with the class.

The professors lost by the philosophy department is my least favorite thing.  Two of my best classes at Dartmouth were taught by Julia Driver and Roy Sorensen—both now gone.  In addition the department is loosing Professor Gert to retirement after the spring of 09; he was another great professor.

Important info for potential majors:

PHIL 1 is good in that it introduces lots of topics, but that same breadth means that each topic is covered fairly superficially.  Don’t make a decision on philosophy until you’ve taken a class with a narrower scope.  Pick something you think you’ll be interested in: the variety of classes in the department gives you quite a few choices.

Talk to me if:

you’re interested in Ancient Philosophy, History of Philosophy generally, Philosophy of Language, or Ethics.

Most valuable academic info learned:

A couple of things: visit your professors during office hours.  They generally like talking about what they’re teaching and getting other people excited about it.  Also, don’t worry about prerequisites; professors almost always let you in if you’re excited about the subject.

Favorite class and professor:

I’ve enjoyed nearly every class I’ve taken in the department.  My PHIL 80 seminar with Professor Thomas on Plato’s Ethics stands out.  His ethics don’t get as much attention as Aristotle’s, but his programmatic approach is thought-provoking for modern readers.

Major classes taken:

PHIL 1, 6, 11, 13, 17, 25, 34, 37, 50, 60, 61, 80.

Major journey:

I came to Dartmouth interested in philosophy, but left PHIL 1 not so sure.  PHIL 11 hooked me.  The professor was fantastic, and the subject matter was fascinating.

Major-specific activities:

Presidential Scholar with Professor Thomas; Aporia Philosophy Journal and Conference.

Thesis status:

I plan to write on something in Ancient Philosophy, probably on Sextus Empiricus and ancient Pyrrhonism.

Other activities:

Editor in Chief of The Dartmouth Review; Tele Ski Instructor

Off-campus program:

Philosophy FSP F08 in Edinburgh, Scotland.

sliderBen Gifford ‘10 phil1-gifford
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Philosophy

Favorite and least favorite thing about department:

The things I like most about the Philosophy department are the extremely high quality of the professors and the overall level of commitment that the faculty has to its students. My Philosophy professors have always been more than happy to sit down and talk about a paper, a problem, or an idea, whether I’m taking a course with them that term or not. Also the typically small class sizes allow for a much more individualized and rewarding academic experience. Unfortunately, because the Philosophy department is so small and personalized, it is unable to offer the same volume of courses as some of the larger departments, and many interesting courses are offered very infrequently.

Important info for potential majors:

Your friends might tell you that Philosophy is an obsolete subject, but in reality it is a discipline that gives you analytical tools that are crucial to any study or career path. Also, if you’re considering being a major, don’t let Phil 1 make the decision for you – it’s nearly impossible to capture the best parts of Philosophy in a survey course. Instead, take a Philosophy course on a specific topic that interests you.

Talk to me if:

you’re interested in Philosophy of Mind and/or Free Will

Most valuable academic information learned:

With a philosophical problem, you can be 100% certain you’ve figured out the answer on your own, and still have your view radically changed by a single class. I remember walking into both Philosophy of Science and Philosophy of Mind thinking I had constructed a set of solid opinions regarding each topic, only to have my views overthrown within weeks. Fortunately, my newly acquired beliefs were much better justified than my previous ones.

Favorite class and professor:

I’ve really enjoyed them all, but Free Will with Ann Bumpus sticks out in particular (probably because it’s the one I took most recently). Bumpus set a measured, deliberate pace with what can be an overwhelming topic, and gave us a fair, well-rounded view of the many positions on the subject. Overall, the course helped me gain a comprehensive understanding of what I consider to be one of the most interesting problems of philosophy.

Major classes taken:

PHIL 1, 6, 27, 31, 32, 34, 35, 38

Major journey:

Coming to Dartmouth, I had no idea what I wanted to study – freshman year alone I tried out 8 different departments, waiting to see what drew me in. Ironically, the course that got me really interested in my major was a political philosophy course in the Government department. I loved the way the philosophy made me think, so I began taking classes in the Philosophy department, and I’ve been hooked ever since.

Thesis status:

Intended thesis, unplanned at this point, but probably pertaining to Philosophy of Mind/Action

Other activities:

The Big Green Bus — Fundraising Coordinator; The Dartmouth — Opinion Editor; Dog Day Players (Improv Comedy); Bones Gate Fraternity — Scholarship Chair; WDCR (Dartmouth College Radio); DOC Trips

Off Campus Program:

Spanish FSP in Buenos Aires, 08S

sliderJames Cart ‘10 PHIL-JamesCart
F09-S10 D-plan: R-R-R
Philosophy Major, ethics minor

Favorite and least favorite things about your department:

Philosophy is great because it is a small department with many small classes. I have made better connections with many of my philosophy professors than any other department. They are caring and incredibly interesting. It really helps me thing better and formulate arguments in other classes. Philosophy is the epitome of cross-discipline content.

Important info for potential majors:

Try all kinds of different classes. Don’t know what metaphysics is? Talk to a PAL, a prof or an older major and explore! Don’t be afraid!

Talk to me if:

You have any questions about the Philosophy department. Anything at all, I promise.

Most valuable academic info learned:

How to write philosophy papers. They are not like normal English papers. They are far more scientific than people expect.

Favorite class and professor:

Philosophy 8: Intro to Ethics with Julia Driver

Major classes taken:

1 Intro to Philospphy
6 Logic & Language
8 Intro to Moral Theory
15 Kant and Hume
25 Philosophy of Medicine
26 Philosophy & Computers
30 Epistemology
37 Ethical Theory
38 Social and Political Theory

Major journey:

I have been a Phil major since freshman fall. I just love the classes I have taken and just want to keep going.

Major-specific activities:

I was an 08-09 PAL. I also attend Aporia discussions.

Other activities:

Student Assembly: Summer President, Ivy Council Head Delegate
Men’s Club Soccer
Sigma Phi Epsilon
UGA in McLaughlin
Sexperts
DOC Trips: Trip Leader and Trip Leader Trainer

Internship experience:

07X: Sachs Lab @ SUNY Buffalo, Data Analysis, Buffalo, NY
09X: Montshire Museum, Environmental Educator, Norwich, VT