Requirements and Courses

Requirements for a Major in Philosophy

A minimum of 10 units that must include the following distribution:

Core Requirements—5 units:
Group 1 (Ethics, Values, Society): Philosophy 103 or 109
Group 2 (History of Philosophy): Philosophy 209 and 211
Group 3 (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Logic): Philosophy 200 and 205

Elective Requirements—3 units chosen from the following:

Philosophy 109, 201, 202, 203, 204, 207,  212, 210, 213, 214, 215, 301, 302

Senior Learning Community--2 units:

Philosophy 400 Reflective Tutorial
Philosophy 401  Seminars Topics in Philosophy

It is recommended that students who plan to attend graduate school in philosophy study French and/or German.

Requirements for a Minor in Philosophy

A minimum of 5 units which must include the following distribution:

Core Requirements--3 units chosen in accordance with the following distribution:
One course from Group 1 (Ethics, Values, Society): Philosophy 103, 109, 201, 202, 203 or 204.
One course from Group 2 (History of Philosophy): Philosophy 209, 210, 211, 212, 213, 214, 215.
One course from Group 3 (Metaphysics, Epistemology, Mind, Logic): Philosophy 101, 102, 200, 205, 207, 301, or 302.

Elective Requirements:
Two additional 200-level or 300-level courses.

Philosophy Course Descriptions

PH 101 Practical Reasoning. A course designed to improve one's ability to think clearly and critically by developing such skills as detecting and eliminating ambiguity and vagueness, determining validity of reasoning, formulating and confirming generalizations and hypotheses, and using analogies. Offered as required.

PH 102 Exploring Philosophy. An examination of major philosophical issues as they are discussed by leading classical and contemporary thinkers in the Western tradition. Offered fall and spring semesters.

PH 103 Contemporary Moral Problems. A study and discussion of selected, contemporary moral issues such as capital punishment, sexual morality, pornography and censorship, discrimination, etc. Offered fall semester.

PH 105 The Idea of Love. An interdisciplinary examination of various issues concerning human nature and happiness in which the phenomenon of love occupies a central position. Several major theories of love will be discussed in an attempt to answer questions as to the nature of love, the cause of love, the value of love, etc. Offered as required.

PH 109 Political Philosophy. This course examines and assesses various political theories concerning the relation between individuals and the state. Topics may include justice, power, human rights, natural law, equality, political obligation and consent, democracy and representation, civil disobedience, freedom and coercion, and utopias. Offered fall semester.

PH 200 Symbolic Logic. This course examines the principles and techniques of sentential and predicate logic - such as the translation of ordinary language into symbols - and the methods for ascertaining the validity of arguments. Topics include: standard logical notation, truth tables, quantification theory, logic of relations, and deductive systems. Offered as required.

PH 201 Moral Philosophy. A critical study of the nature of moral judgments, the criteria of moral decisions, and the problems of moral conduct, with attention given to major classical and contemporary moral theories. Offered as required.

PH 202 Medical Ethics. An in-depth examination of some major moral issues arising out of or associated with the practice of medicine, such as abortion, euthanasia, human experimentation, behavior control, the justice of the distribution of health care, etc. The focus will be on acquiring a sophisticated grasp of the complexities of the problems, understanding the logic of the opposed positions, and coming to a critical appreciation of their weaknesses and strengths. Offered spring semester. of odd-numbered years.

PH 203 Social Philosophy. This course examines major topics and theories in social thought from both a traditional and contemporary philosophic perspective. Topics may include: democratic theory, social contract theory, and personal autonomy; equality, justice, and power; family, property, and gender.  Offered as required.

PH 204 Philosophy and Feminism. This course examines the characteristic trends (e.g., Existentialist, Liberal, Libertarian, Marxist, and Postmodern) positions and topics (e.g., knowledge, politics, ethics, sex, gender, identity; heterosexuality, alternative lifestyles, and family; sexism, misogyny, and equality) of feminist philosophers and their philosophical and cultural impact. Authors may include Anscombe, Benhabib, Butler, de Beauvoir, Cixous, Irigaray, Kristeva, Fraser, Frye, MacKinnon, Nussbaum, and Paglia. Offered as required.

PH 205 Philosophy of Mind. This course examines various philosophical and psychological approaches to our mental life and their implication for philosophy and culture. Topics may include the nature of the mental, the relation of mind and body, the reduction of mind to brain, whether a machine could think, and whether consciousness can be reconciled with a scientific view of the world. Offered as required.

PH 207 Identity and Selfhood. This course examines a variety of themes intersecting in the complex notion of identity: the nature of the self; self-knowledge and self-deception; true vs. false selves; singleness and multiplicity of selves; the ideal of authenticity; self-love and self-hate; identity projects; threatened identities and disorders of the self. Offered as required.

PH 209 Ancient Philosophy. Examines the major figures and movements in Greek philosophical thought, especially Plato and Aristotle. Topics may include power, justice, love, morality, immortality, law, the nature of reality, the nature of the soul, belief and knowledge, and the dialectical relation between authority and freedom. Offered as required.

PH 210 Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy. Examines the major Medieval and Renaissance philosophers, their issues, world views, and current philosophic interest. Issues may include free will, the nature of the soul, God, and immortality; skepticism, belief, knowledge, and universals; intuition, ratiospectives and faith; and morality, justice, grace, and love. Offered as required.

PH 211 Modern Philosophy. This course examines the major figures and movements in philosophy in Europe from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Philosophers studied include Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Hume and Kant. Offered as required.

PH 212 Hegel, Marx and Nietzche. This course examines the development of German philosophical thought from the late eighteenth century to the early twentieth century around the themes of idealism and materialism.  Authors may include: Hegel, Fichte, Marx, and Nietzche.  Offered as required.

PH 213 Existentialism. This course examines the important texts and central ideas of the major existentialist thinkers, Heidegger and Sartre, as well as those of important precursors such as Kierkegaard and Nietzche. Topics include the analysis of human reality ("the self" intentionality, consciousness, etc.), the relation of the individual to society, the basis of moral belief and decision, freedom, authenticity, self-deception, anxiety and the significance of death. Offered as required.

PH 214 American Philosophy. This course examines the characteristic methods, positions and themes (e.g., free will, mind, the relation of mind and body, God, knowledge, belief, truth, morality) of the pragmatists and their philosophical, sociological and cultural impact. Among the thinkers included are Peirce, James, Dewey, C. I. Lewis, E. Nagel, Russell and Wittgenstein. Offered as required.

PH 215  Recent Continental Philosophy.  This course examines some of the characteristic trends (phenomenology, existentialism, structuralism, poststructuralism) and themes of late twentieth century continental philosophy.  Authors may include:  Gergson, Derrida, Foucault, Habermas, Heidegger (later work), Levinas, Merleau-Ponty, Sartre.  Offered as required.

PH 291 Special Topics in Philosophy. This is a course for discussion of one or more areas of current interest in philosophy not emphasized in regular courses offered by the department. Content varies with the interests of students and department faculty. Offered periodically.

PH 301 Freedom and Responsibility. A philosophical analysis of the nature of human action and of the philosophical problems which arise concerning the ascription of moral responsibility and the description of human agency. Offered as required.

PH 302 Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. Psychoanalysis remains one of a very few perspectives on human reality which continues to exert a major theoretical and practical influence around the world. This course examines a variety of topics and controversies introduced by Freud, his followers and his critics such as: the doctrine of unconscious mind, the object of desire (sexuality, aggression, love), the meaning of relationship, the extent of freedom, dreams and fantasy; narcissism; and madness, as well as issues pertaining to the nature of science and the foundations of psychology. (Cross-listed w/ Psychology 382.) Offered as required.

PH 400 Reflective Tutorial. This course is an advanced research and writing course that examines a major philosopher or isse from one of the three groups of philosophy--the groups as set for in the major (ethics, values, and society; history of philosophy; metaphysics, epistemology, mind, and logic). As the culminating experience of the Tutorial, students will engage in self-directed library research that will result in a senior thesis or will engage in fieldwork in a community that will result in a written senior project. One unit. Offered in the fall semester.

PH 401 Seminar: Topics in Philosophy. This course examines selected topics in the history of philosophy or in recent philosophy. Topics may include: a single philosopher's analysis of several philosophic issues; a few philosophers' analyses of one or two closely related issues; or a twentieth century philosopher's reaction to a philosophic text, movement--or even to traditional philosophy itself. One unit. Offered in the fall semester.

PH 593 Independent Study. An opportunity for any advanced student in philosophy to engage in independent research, under professional supervision, on a problem, theme, or historical figure in philosophy. Prerequisite: Permission of advisor and department chair.