Doing Philosophy expands our minds and helps us be better thinkers and writers. Philosophy provides us with the tools to discover, examine, and evaluate insights and ideas. Philosophy is not just for those who seek wisdom; it is also for those who want techniques to be able to think, speak, and write clearly and defensibly. It helps us clarify different world-views, assess moral claims, evaluate theories of knowledge, and examine fundamental concepts about the universe.
If you want to sharpen your reasoning skills, studying Philosophy is for you! You can then be more effective in addressing the issues we face and in working with others. Philosophy helps us evaluate theoretical systems and how they are applied in our lives and institutions. With the skills we learn in Philosophy, we are better able to reflect on our values and beliefs—and take stock of the biases and prejudice within and around us. We can make a difference in how we live in the world and with one another.
This major is an excellent preparation for graduate study or a career in college teaching, law, medicine, computer programming, culture studies, social sciences, or religious studies. Philosophy provides a strong foundation for careers in education, business, research, writing, or counseling. In addition to providing a foundation in the discipline, our Philosophy department brings ideas to life and helps students find ways to apply them to the world we live in.
The Philosophy department encourages students to major or minor in Philosophy—or minor in Ethics. It is an excellent major for those who wish to go into bioethics, law, medicine, journalism, or film. We also help students arrange double majors such as with Art, Political Science, Business, English. A minor in Philosophy is also a possibility for students and works well with virtually all majors, as well as the Pre-Law minor. The Ethics minor is an excellent choice for those majoring in Business, Nursing, or Religious Studies.
Philosophy B.A. Degree Required Courses
Lower Division. One course from each of the following groups:
A. Analytical Skills one of:
B. Moral and Philosophical Reasoning Skills—one of :
Upper Division. At least ten upper division courses (30 units upper division) in Philosophy are required for the major. Students will select one of the following programs:
Traditional Philosophy: 3 courses (9 units) from each of categories A and C. One course (3 units) from each of categories B and D. Then 2 courses (6 units) electives—from any of the four categories.
Applied Philosophy: 3 courses (9 units) from each of categories B and D. One course (3 units) from each of categories A and C. Then 2 courses (6 units) electives—from any of the four categories.
Total: 30 units
Total: 30 units
A. History of Philosophy:
B. Value Theory:
C. Logic, Metaphysics, and Epistemology:
D. Interdisciplinary Philosophy:
Total Units in Philosophy: 36
Plus General Studies requirements and electives totaling 124 semester units, including Modern Language requirement.
A minimum of 21 units, of which at least 15 are upper division units selected from Category B: Value Theory.
In addition to being able to major or minor in Philosophy, students may be an Ethics Minor.
The Ethics Minor
Independent Study Policy: Independent studies are open to Philosophy majors and minors who wish to explore an area of philosophy for advanced or specialized work. Any non-major wishing to do an Independent Study in Philosophy must have a clearly defined goal and must confer with both the faculty member and the chair of the department to see if it is appropriate. Independent studies require independent research. Students are expected to meet the faculty member at least one hour per week, undertaking an equivalent amount of work that would be expected in a three credit course. Normally, independent studies are not intended to replace a course taught in the department. For details on what must be included in your petition for an Independent Study, please contact the Chair of the Philosophy department.
PHI 5 Introduction to Logic (3)
An introduction to argument structure, including inductive and deductive arguments, the rules of inference and replacement, fallacies of reasoning, validity and soundness, syllogisms, the use of language, diverse frames of reference, analysis, decision-making and problem-solving, and evaluating arguments. GS-II, VB3, VIIA (Satisfies three QL units.) Note: Effective Fall 2014 students can get GS credit for only one, PHI 5 or PHI 10--not both.
PHI 10 Critical Thinking (3)
Students taking this course will learn reasoning techniques so they develop their skills at argumentation, spotting fallacious reasoning, examining uses of language, evaluating reasoning, examining assumptions, weighing evidence, determining credibility of witnesses, problem solving, decision-making, and applying critical thinking skills to moral reasoning, advertising, the media, and legal reasoning. This course carries credit equivalent to PHI 5 GS-II, VB3. PHI 10 is also designated as QL1; thus grants three units as GS-VIIA. Note: Effective Fall 2014 students can get GS credit for only one, PHI 5 or PHI 10--not both.
PHI 15 Introduction to Philosophy (3)
An introduction to the nature of philosophy and why philosophy is considered the love of wisdom. Included are philosophical questions, major thinkers, and the methodology involved in a philosophical inquiry. Topics covered include free will and determinism, the existence of God, the problem of evil, mind and body, the theory of knowledge, and personal identity. Traditional views, as well as contemporary ones from diverse perspectives (such as women and people of color) will be included. GS-VBI, VI. Note: Effective Fall 2014 students can get GS credit for only one, PHI 15 or PHI 16--not both.
PHI 16 Philosophy Through Popular Culture (3)
This is an introduction to philosophical ideas and methods that explores the ways in which we can learn about--and do—Philosophy through popular culture. We will draw from a variety of sources—such as movies, TV, social media, journalism, art, literature, music, and advertising. You will get a good overview of the discipline while seeing the ways philosophical themes, concepts, and ideas are expressed in popular culture. GS-VBI,VI. Note: Effective Fall 2014 students can get GS credit for only one, PHI 15 or PHI 16--not both.
PHI 21 Moral Values and Ethical Decisions (3)
This course is an introduction to moral reasoning and ethical decision-making, with a focus on fundamental ethical theories. Using the different theories, we examine some major moral dilemmas we face (such as the death penalty, world hunger, environmental ethics, abortion, sexual morality, censorship). GS-VB2, VI. Note: Effective Fall 2014 students who take this course may not take PHI 92 for GS credit, but may take PHI 192.
PHI 24 Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (3)
An introduction to the origins of philosophical traditions in the West through study of the lives and major works of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. Philosophy majors and minors only are to take this course for upper division credit as PHI 124. They will be assigned an additional critical assignment appropriate to a more advanced level of study. This may be in either written or oral form. GS-VBI
PHI 92 Introduction to Business Ethics (3)
A case study approach to business ethics and information technology. Using ethical theories, we will cover such moral dilemmas as affirmative action, electronic privacy, censorship and the Internet, and business practices (product liability, whistle blowing, honesty, advertising) environmental concerns, global issues, corporate decision-making and responsibility. Effective Fall 2004, students who take this course may not take PHI 21 for GS credit. Honors student should take PHI 21H, not PHI 92. GS-VB2, VI
PHI 126 Descartes to Kant (3)
The development of modern views on the relationship of reality and knowledge; the tension of reason and experience in classical modern rationalists and empiricists and the synthesis of Kant. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI
PHI 130 Existentialism (3)
A study of existentialist thinking drawing from Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, Sartre, Heidegger, Camus, de Beauvoir. The emphasis is on the individual, free-will, choices, decision-making, authenticity vs. inauthenticity, and global considerations. Existentialist literature (Kafka, Beckett, Atwood, Shange, etc.) and challenges raised by women and people of color may be included. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI
PHI 134 American Philosophy (3)
A study of the major philosophical ideas that have influenced the development of American intellectual life, civilization, and culture: Transcendentalism, Idealism, and the Pragmatic movement. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI
PHI 150 Metaphysics (3)
A study of philosophical theories of being and the nature of reality. Typical concepts studied include free will, personal identity, the metaphysics of body, human nature, and the mind-body problem. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI
PHI 152 Theory of Knowledge (3)
An examination of the nature and possibility of human knowledge, objectivity, perception, truth, self-knowledge and the knowledge of other minds, the conditions of justified belief. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI
PHI 155 Symbolic Logic (3)
This course provides the tools to do more advanced work in deductive reasoning and legal reasoning. This includes propositional logic, quantification logic, and examining complex argument forms. This course is highly recommended for Pre-Law students, as part of the course will look at analytical reasoning on LSAT exams. Also recommended for Computer Science majors. Prerequisite: none, but any critical thinking or logic course is recommended. GS-VIIB and either GS-II or VB3.
PHI 156 Media Ethics (3)
An examination of ethical issues and concerns regarding the media, social media, and journalism. Topics and cases for study may include: censorship, the First Amendment and freedom of the press, impact of the media on society, honesty and accountability, the credibility of news media, point of view, the role of standards and ratings (e.g., PG, PG 13, R, and so on), functioning as a witness of historical events, and obligations to consumers and to the society. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course.
PHI 158 The Scientific Method (3)
An inquiry into the nature and value of science. In this course we will address such questions as: What is science? Is there a method common to all the sciences? Does science give us truth? Is science value-free? What are the ethical rules appropriate for scientific practice? This course is highly recommended for students majoring in one of the sciences, but all students who meet the prerequisite are welcome. Prerequisite: one lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI or VB3
PHI 160 Philosophy of Religion (3)
A study of the philosophical concerns raised in religion, including the existence of God, faith, images and concepts of God, the problem of evil, along with multi-cultural and feminist considerations of religion and mythology. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy and one in religious studies. GS-VI and either VA4 or VBI.
PHI 162 Philosophy and Native Cultures (3)
In this course we explore the philosophy, mythology and world views of four major groups of Native Americans. The focus is usually on the tribes of the Southwest, Northwest, Far North, and Mexico (especially Huichol). Examination of the philosophical issues, myths, language, literature of these tribes; as well as contemporary issues (such as casinos and gambling, nuclear waste storage on reservations, and cultural authenticity). Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI
PHI 165 Philosophy of Law (3)
This course examines philosophical issues and concerns in law and in the application of laws. This includes notions of personhood, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, pornography and obscene speech, major Supreme Court decisions affecting a particular field (e.g., bioethics, medicine, research, biotechnology, business, the media). In any given semester, we will examine a particular theme (such as terrorism, international justice, laws regarding the workplace, environmental law, the media, or philosophical issues in international law). Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VB1, VIIA
PHI 166 Nursing Ethics (3)
An examination of the ethical issues, concepts, and moral principles in Nursing and the application of the major ethical theories to medical dilemmas involving the nursing profession. Issues include the ANA code, models of ethical decision-making, moral conflicts, informed consent, patient confidentiality, individual autonomy, and contemporary issues such as nurse-assisted suicide, justice and healthcare, and allocating scarce resources. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course.
PHI 167 Ethics and Film (3)
In this course we examine ethical issues raised by movies and see how ethical theories can help us better understand the dilemmas presented in the movies we see. We will take two approaches: (1) A case study approach--going from the film itself (characters, plot, dialogue, etc.) to examining ethical issues and moral reasoning; (2) A theoretical approach--going from major ethical theories to specific films to better understand how to live a life of purpose. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course. GS-VB1 or VB2--not both
PHI 168A Contemporary Moral Problems (3)
A study of contemporary moral and social problems; including the death penalty, public policy issues, corporate responsibility, environmental ethics, world hunger, animal experimentation, advertising and media ethics, and individual vs. societal rights. At least one third of the course covers bioethical issues (such as surrogacy, euthanasia, abortion, medical experimentation, justice and health care). Prerequisite: One lower division ethics course. GS-VB2, VI
PHI 168B Bioethics (3)
In this course we examine ethical issues raised by movies and see how ethical theories can help us better understand the dilemmas presented in the movies we see. We will take two approaches: (1) A case study approach--going from the film itself (characters, plot, dialogue, etc.) to examining ethical issues and moral reasoning; (2) A theoretical approach--going from major ethical theories to specific films to better understand how to live a life of purpose. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course. GS-VB2
PHI 168C Environmental Ethics (3)
In this course we look at ethical issues in our relationship to the environment. Topics may include: land ethics, global hunger, climate ethics, agribusiness, patenting of life forms, preservation of ancient forests, animal rights, our relationship with the natural world, moral obligations to wildlife, eco-feminism, wilderness ecology, and environmental justice. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course.
PHI 169 Philosophy of Technology (3)
In this course we consider philosophical perspectives on ways reality, knowledge, and the relation between individuals and society are part of technological development. We also investigate how information technologies like the computer, the Internet, and communications media help shape our lives. Pre-requisite: One lower division course in Philosophy. PHI 150 are 152 are helpful but not required. GS-VBI
PHI 170 Social and Political Philosophy (3)
This section of Social and Political Philosophy will examine the tradition of social and political theories from the perspective of women and family. This will include conceptual analyses of traditional theories in order to understand why these theories have either excluded, marginalized, or placed restrictions on the participation of women. We will also study recommendations from various theoretical traditional perspectives as to how to fully incorporate women and families in ways that are fully inclusive. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VB1
PHI 172 Marxism (3)
An examination and comparison of some of the central works of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Mao, and other writers in the Marxist tradition with a focus on the criticisms of capitalism, the revolution to establish communism, the nature of communist society; and the relevance to the contemporary world and the future of Marxist/ socialist societies. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VB1
PHI 174 Philosophy of Art (3)
A study of the philosophical concerns around the creative process, the work of art, and aesthetic evaluation. This includes a study of the classical thinkers of aesthetics (e.g., Aristotle, Plato, Croce, Langer, Tolstoy), as well as contemporary theories. As part of this study, we examine multicultural perspectives (e.g., Chicano murals, African American film directors, women in film). Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI
PHI 175 Philosophy of Film (3)
A study of philosophical ideas and theories about film, film theory, and various schools of film criticism. In a particular semester, we may focus on a particular theme, such as the hero in American film, or authenticity and personal integrity, or visions of society. In addition, we will be interested in looking at film as an expression of cultural values and an instrument for change. As part of that goal, we will examine the role of race, class, and gender in assessing film. Prerequisite: One philosophy course. GS-VB1, VI
PHI 176 Philosophy of Literature (3)
In this course we study the literary expression of philosophical concerns, such as authenticity, freedom and choice, good vs. evil, justice vs. injustice. This involves one or two philosophical works that investigate a philosophical issue (e.g., the ideal society) and then we look at various novels or plays to see how the issue is treated in literature. This course includes multicultural and non-traditional expressions and concerns. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI
PHI 178 Philosophy of Women (3)
A critical study of traditional and contemporary conceptions of women and various manifestations of the oppression of women particularly in Western societies and the US, especially for women of color. Various strategies of addressing women's issues will be studied, including various forms of feminism and research on or by women and of the women's movement will be explored from diverse perspectives, especially those of women of color. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI, VI
PHI 179 Women and Values (3)
An examination of women's perspectives in areas reflecting values, including ethics, aesthetics and art, political and social theory, the law, and religion. The course focuses on how women tend to perceive values differently than men and the contributions women make to value theory as well as the problems of interpretation and practice that these differences raise, e.g., regarding sexual harassment, pornography, or the value of attachment. Differences among women, especially cultural differences, will be explored throughout. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VBI or VB2, VI
PHI 180 Chinese Philosophy (3)
This course will study the origins of Chinese philosophy in the classical writings of Confucius, Mozi, Menchius, Laozi, and others. The focus will be on understanding the basic conceptual framework of Confucianism and Daoism in the context of ancient Chinese history and also how these philosophies are understood today. We will also explore the place of women in Chinese philosophy; both what it was understood to be in the past and how it can be conceptualized today. Prerequisite: One lower division course in philosophy. GS-VB1
PHI 192 Business Ethics (3)
A case study approach to business ethics and information technology. Using ethical theories, we will cover such moral dilemmas as affirmative action, electronic privacy, censorship and the Internet, and business practices (product liability, whistle blowing, honesty, advertising) environmental concerns, global issues, corporate decision-making and responsibility. Prerequisite: Any ethics course or any two Philosophy classes. GS-VB2, VI
PHI 193 Global Business Ethics (3)
An examination of issues in business and as a result of corporate actions that affect the ways we live and work—looking at them on an international scale. Topics may include the application of major ethical theories and concepts to cases and ethical decision-making, outsourcing, pay equity (and inequity), cultural conflicts around business practices, social responsibility, ethics and the global economy, whistleblowing, bribery and corruption, obligations to third world nations, product safety, the World Bank, and economic justice. Prerequisite: Any other ethics course.
PHI 198 Special Topics (1-3)
May be repeated for credit.
PHI 199 Senior Thesis (1-3)
May be repeated for credit. Offered only on request.
PHI 199H Senior Honors Thesis (3)
Open only to students admitted to the Honors Program.