Mitchell Avila, Heather Battaly, Matthew Calarco, Amy Coplan, John Davis, Brady Heiner, Andrew Howat, Emily S. Lee, JeeLoo Liu, Ryan Nichols, Shari Starrett
Philosophy began when people first questioned the accounts poets and priests had handed down about the structure of the world and the meaning of human life. Since then, philosophers have helped create and explore virtually every aspect of our cultural life, including science, religion, art and politics. To study philosophy, therefore, is to engage in a classic form of liberal education in which powers of reasoning and conceptual analysis are explicitly developed. The study of philosophy includes: (1) the development of critical thinking and writing skills; (2) the investigation of conceptual problems encountered in the course of reflecting about experience; (3) the assessment of assumptions underlying other sciences and arts; and (4) the exploration of intellectual and cultural history from a broad perspective. Philosophy is not a “high unit” major. It is possible for many students to obtain the benefits of a philosophically based liberal education while also majoring in another discipline. The Philosophy Department also encourages minors, which can be tailored to the student’s individual interests or other fields of study. Majoring or minoring in philosophy is an excellent way of preparing for law school and other careers that involve facility in reasoning, analysis and information processing.
Learning Goals and Student Learning Outcomes
The following goals and learning outcomes have been established for students pursuing a degree in philosophy:
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of original texts
- Use sound arguments and strong reasoning to support assertions
- Make careful selection and presentation of evidence and argument to support assertions and (when applicable) include carefully constructed refutations of the opposing view
- Demonstrate good structure, succinct expression of ideas and superb writing skills
- Demonstrate knowledge of specific periods of historical philosophy, specific major currents of the 20th-21st century philosophical investigation and several methodologies employed by philosophers
- Exposure to issues of culture, ethnicity and gender
- Cultivate a global perspective
- Examine and critically assess normative standards governing social relations, practices and institutions, including a wide range of human activities dependent upon value judgments
Work completed in philosophy at other institutions may be counted toward the major, subject to the rules of the university and the following departmental rules: (1) only seminars can fulfill the seminar requirement; (2) only upper-division work can fulfill upper-division requirements; (3) in no case can more than six units of lower-division work taken at another institution count toward the major requirement of 39 units. Six units of philosophy taken at another university may be counted toward the minor.
Programs and Courses Offered
ProgramsBachelor of ArtsNon-Degree
Courses are designated as PHIL in the class schedule.