Philosophy, Bachelor of Arts College of Letters & Science

The Major Program

Philosophy addresses problems and questions that arise in all areas of human thought and experience and in all disciplines. Recurring questions about the nature of value, the good life, right conduct, knowledge, truth, language, mind, and reality are central to philosophical study. Philosophy also investigates the methodologies and assumptions of the major disciplines in the university in order to deepen our understanding of the sciences, of mathematics, art, literature, and history, and of religion and morality. It leads us to address issues about the nature of these subjects, about the methods of reasoning characteristic of them, and about the contributions they make to our understanding of ourselves and our world.

Philosophy contributes to the liberal education of its students. The department emphasizes an analytic approach to philosophical questions, which trains students to understand and evaluate arguments and to think and write precisely and clearly. These skills are of immense value in a variety of careers.

The Program

The Department of Philosophy offers its majors a choice among three options. The General Emphasis provides a broad view of the field of philosophy. It includes a breadth requirement at the lower division level while providing students wide choice in more advanced courses. The Pre-Law and Pre-Med Emphases include courses that provide philosophical perspectives on law and medicine respectively and that also provide important preparation for professional school.

The Department offers courses in most areas of contemporary analytic philosophy including the theory of knowledge, metaphysics, logic, ethics, and political philosophy. In addition, upper division courses are offered in oral and political philosophy, and aesthetics, and in the philosophy of religion, of mind, of language, of mathematics, of law, and of the physical, biological and social sciences. The problems of philosophy have important roots in past. The history of philosophy is important not only as part of the heritage of educated persons, but also because it is relevant to contemporary issues. For these reasons, the department places great emphasis on the history of philosophy, providing courses on the major figures and traditions of western philosophy.

Faculty Advisor & Advising

Hanti Lin, Ph.D.; Yellow Cluster Undergraduate Advising Center

Career Alternatives

Students of philosophy learn to understand and evaluate arguments and to think and write precisely and clearly. These analytical skills are assets in any career. Many of our majors have pursued graduate study in philosophy and have become philosophers in their own right. Others have pursued academic careers in related disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Philosophy majors are well prepared for law, business, or other professional schools and have found careers in computer programming, government service, teaching, the ministry, and social work. Those wishing to attend law school or medical school should consider pursuing the Pre-Law and Pre-Med emphases, respectively.

Honors Program

The department offers an honors program, which gives qualifying majors the opportunity to work closely with faculty and graduate students. Information can be obtained on the department website.

Courses for Non-Majors

Students majoring in most disciplines in the university will find courses relevant to their educational or career goals. PHI 001 is the introductory course for both majors and non-majors. PHI 005 teaches critical thinking. The following PHI courses are recommended:

(1) Pre-Law
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 024Introduction to Ethics4
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 112Intermediate Symbolic Logic4
PHI 115Problems in Normative Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 119Philosophy of Law (especially)4
(2) Pre-Medical
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 015Introduction to Bioethics4
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 038Introduction to Philosophy of Biology4
PHI 108Philosophy of the Biological Sciences4
PHI 114History of Ethics4
PHI 115Problems in Normative Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
(3) Business
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 112Intermediate Symbolic Logic4
PHI 114History of Ethics4
PHI 115Problems in Normative Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
PHI 117Foundations of Ethics4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 119Philosophy of Law 4
(4) Social Policy
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 024Introduction to Ethics4
PHI 101Metaphysics4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 114History of Ethics4
PHI 115Problems in Normative Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
PHI 117Foundations of Ethics4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 119Philosophy of Law 4
PHI 120Environmental Ethics 4
(5) Social Sciences
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 031Appraising Scientific Reasoning4
PHI 032Understanding Scientific Change4
PHI 101Metaphysics4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 103Philosophy on Mind4
PHI 109Philosophy of the Social Sciences4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 131Philosophy of Logic & Mathematics4
(6) Physical Sciences
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 031Appraising Scientific Reasoning4
PHI 032Understanding Scientific Change4
PHI 101Metaphysics4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 107Philosophy of the Physical Sciences4
PHI 112Intermediate Symbolic Logic4
PHI 131Philosophy of Logic & Mathematics4
(7) Biological Sciences
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 031Appraising Scientific Reasoning4
PHI 032Understanding Scientific Change4
PHI 038Introduction to Philosophy of Biology4
PHI 101Metaphysics4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 108Philosophy of the Biological Sciences4
PHI 120Environmental Ethics 4
(8) Humanities & the Arts
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 021Philosophical Classics of the Ancient Era4
PHI 022Philosophical Classics of the Modern Era4
PHI 024Introduction to Ethics4
PHI 101Metaphysics4
PHI 102Theory of Knowledge4
PHI 103Philosophy on Mind4
PHI 105Philosophy of Religion4
PHI 114History of Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 123Aesthetics4
PHI 141 - PHI 1754
(9) Agricultural & Environmental Science & Policy
PHI 005Critical Reasoning4
PHI 014Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society4
PHI 024Introduction to Ethics4
PHI 030Introduction to Philosophy of Science4
PHI 031Appraising Scientific Reasoning4
PHI 114History of Ethics4
PHI 115Problems in Normative Ethics4
PHI 116Ethical Theories4
PHI 118Political Philosophy4
PHI 120Environmental Ethics 4

Department Activities

The Philosophy department sponsors a lecture series with well-known philosophers who present papers in their fields of expertise. The department also operates ongoing faculty and graduate student workshops. Undergraduate students are welcome to attend and join these discussions. Information can be obtained on the department website.

Graduate Study

The Department of Philosophy offers programs of study leading to M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Detailed information is available on our website, and may also be obtained by writing to the Graduate Advisor.

Graduate Advisor

Alyssa Ney, Ph.D.

General Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
Choose one course each from any three areas:12
(a) General Philosophy
Introduction to Philosophy
(b) Ancient Philosophy
Philosophical Classics of the Ancient Era
(c) Early Modern Philosophy
Philosophical Classics of the Modern Era
(d) Philosophy of Mind
Minds, Brains, & Computers with Discussion
(e) Ethics
Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society
Introduction to Bioethics
Introduction to Ethics
(f) Philosophy of Science
Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Appraising Scientific Reasoning
Understanding Scientific Change
Introduction to Philosophy of Biology
(g) Philosophy of Language
Language, Thought, & World
(h) Metaphysics
Metaphysics 1
(i) Theory of Knowledge
Theory of Knowledge 1
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal16
Depth Subject Matter
Upper division units in Philosophy36
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal36
Total Units52
1

Note: PHI 101 and PHI 102 may not be counted toward both preparatory and depth subject matter units.

Pre-Law Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
PHI 005Critical Reasoning4
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
PHI 024Introduction to Ethics4
Choose one:4
Ethical & Social Problems in Contemporary Society
Introduction to Bioethics
Philosophical Foundations of American Democracy
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal16
Depth Subject Matter
PHI 112Intermediate Symbolic Logic4
PHI 119Philosophy of Law 4
Choose two:8
Theory of Knowledge
Ethical Theories
Political Philosophy
Bioethics
Rationality
Special Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Law
History of Philosophy
Choose one:4
History of Ethics
Socrates & the Socratic Dialogue
Hellenistic Philosophy
Christian, Islamic, & Jewish Philosophers of the Middle Ages
Plato
Aristotle
Descartes
Spinoza & Leibniz
Hume
Kant
Special Topics in Philosophy: History of Philosophy
Additional upper division elective units in philosophy.16
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal36
Total Units52

Pre-Med Emphasis

Preparatory Subject Matter
PHI 012Introduction to Symbolic Logic4
PHI 015Introduction to Bioethics4
PHI 038Introduction to Philosophy of Biology4
Choose one:4
Introduction to Ethics
Introduction to Philosophy of Science
Appraising Scientific Reasoning
Understanding Scientific Change
Preparatory Subject Matter Subtotal16
Depth Subject Matter
PHI 112Intermediate Symbolic Logic4
PHI 121Bioethics4
Choose one:4
Philosophy of the Physical Sciences
Philosophy of the Biological Sciences
Rationality
Special Topics in Philosophy: Philosophy of Science
Additional upper division elective units in Philosophy.24
Note: Admission to medical schools requires additional coursework not included in the Pre-Med Emphasis.
Depth Subject Matter Subtotal36
Total Units52