Philosophy  {SF State Bulletin 2013 - 2014}

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Philosophy

College of Liberal & Creative Arts

Dean: Paul Sherwin

 

Department of Philosophy

HUM 388
Phone: 415-338-1596
Chair: Anita Silvers

 

Faculty

Professors: Azadpur, Silvers, van Fraassen
Associate Professors: Hood, Peschard, Sowaal, Sveinsdóttir, Tiwald, Toh, Wilcox
Assistant Professors: Landy, Montemayor
Lecturers: Balboa, Blackmon, Dupen, Fairweather, Kay, Kemtrup, Mutti, Nutting, Robertson, Sudduth

 

Programs

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion

Minor in Philosophy

Minor in Philosophy and Religion

M.A. in Philosophy

 


 

Program Scope

The Department of Philosophy offers students a broad education in the history of thought, development of powerful reasoning skills, and opportunities to apply their insights and skills to areas of personal and professional interest.

 

An education in philosophy is beneficial in almost all parts of life. Generally speaking, philosophical education is eminently valuable for careers that call for analysis and evaluation of problems, smart solutions, critical and creative thinking and writing, and powerful advocacy of one's beliefs and values. Our degree programs develop students’ potential for independent thought and intellectual creativity. Philosophy students score extremely well on the admission tests required by various post-baccalaureate professional schools. A double major in philosophy compliments and enhances other degrees, whether in the sciences, social sciences, arts, humanities, or professional studies.

 

The department’s programs recognize students’ diversity of interests by allowing a great deal of flexibility in choosing program content. Students may double-major, combining the skills, perspectives, and knowledge acquired in the philosophy major with a pre-professional, social science, liberal arts, human services, business, or biological, physical or computer science degree.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Philosophy is traditionally identified with the love of wisdom and the ability to think well about the foundations of human action, the nature of reality, and the purposes and priorities of life. Our department offers the opportunity for a systematic study of the philosophies of past and present, of East and West, a study that deepens and broadens one’s outlook on the world and on human affairs. Philosophical study provides a secure basis on which to develop one's own philosophy and helps people make their ideas clear and understandable to others.

 

The enterprise of philosophy requires sharpening the skills necessary for clarifying premises, uncovering presuppositions (one's own and those of others), weighing the pros and cons of conflicting values, and analyzing concepts and issues. Courses in philosophy frequently are designed to develop or enhance these skills. Some courses concentrate on specific philosophical issues. Others provide an overview of an entire area of human inquiry or endeavor (such as the sciences, the arts, political theory and law, medicine, social justice, and how our minds, senses and emotions work) or of the philosophical foundations that characterize an historical period.

 

The department welcomes students from other majors or programs who wish to examine their personal philosophy, investigate the philosophies of others, or sharpen their skills as independent thinkers.

 

Many of the courses offered are not only appropriate as part of a philosophy major but are of special interest to students in other fields. These courses are designed to help students understand the theoretical frameworks, methodological presuppositions, and more abstract dimensions of the paramount areas of knowledge. Students interested in either the philosophical understanding of a field of knowledge, or in philosophy for self-understanding, should feel free to consult the department chairperson or an advisor on appropriate courses.

 

Philosophy and Law Emphasis

The philosophy and law emphasis enables students to earn a philosophy degree while focusing on our department’s rich array of undergraduate courses that consider such topics as the foundation of law, legal reasoning, U.S. and global human rights, social justice, law and society, health care law, sex and the law, philosophical foundations of the U.S. constitution, philosophy of criminal justice, wrongs as crimes and torts, and theories of ethics and political philosophy that influence jurisprudence.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion

The Philosophy and Religion degree program has some general aims similar to those of the Philosophy program; in addition, this course of study assists students in the exploration of the origin, nature, and structure of the quest for human meaning. The philosophy and religion degree includes the study of the spiritual thought and practice of diverse groups, communities, and individuals throughout the ages. Courses emphasize the central importance of reading and analyzing texts, integrating diverse areas of knowledge and experience into wider visions of human community, and developing skills for the disciplines of profound self-reflection and contemplation. Students will gain basic knowledge about diverse religious traditions and develop concentrated knowledge about their special areas of interest. The goal of this program is to provide students with techniques and insights needed for rigorous examination of the issues, experiences, and concerns arising from religious quests for certainty, community, and social justice.

 

Graduate Program

The Master of Arts in Philosophy is designed for students wishing to extend their knowledge of, and competence in, philosophy; for students seeking teaching credentials where the master’s degree is required; and for students who are planning to do further study elsewhere. The program is wide ranging and flexible, enabling students to concentrate on a number of different areas within philosophy.

 

Career Outlook

A principal reason for the study of philosophy and/or religion is the enrichment of one's own life and understanding. Fortunately, the study of philosophy also is an excellent preparation for a variety of post-baccalaureate professional studies and careers in law, medicine, public policy and strategic planning, the helping professions, computer assisted enterprises, and innovative business and non-profit organizations.

 

The broader outlook and the ability to think critically about larger issues that are fostered by the systematic study of philosophy and religion are often highly valued by commercial firms in their management level personnel. Some students continue on to graduate work in philosophy or religious studies. SF State graduates now are teaching in colleges across the country. And opportunities to teach philosophy in K – 12 have increased as educators realize the importance of enhancing children’s critical thinking skills. The philosophy and religion program is a strong foundation for the helping professions, the ministry, and advanced studies in theology. The skills that are achieved by minoring in philosophy or philosophy and religion are an excellent complement to most university major programs.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Undergraduate advisors are authorized by the department to designate units obtained in other departments as satisfying unit requirements in philosophy for application to both the philosophy and the philosophy and religion programs. Neither students nor advisors should view this as an escape clause which enables a student who has not quite satisfied the major requirements in philosophy to do so. Units outside the department are to be designated for use in the major on the basis of their contribution to the student's major program. In order to avoid confusion on this point, students should obtain written approval from an advisor before obtaining non-department units to be utilized in the major.

 

Students who have not taken PHIL 110 Introduction to Critical Thinking may begin the program but should complete this course or its equivalent at the earliest opportunity. Equivalencies must be approved by a departmental advisor.

 

The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy requires a minimum 40 unit major, with at least 31 of these units being upper division. The program culminates in a one-unit personalized learning outcomes course in which students reflect philosophically on their own development of skills and knowledge.

 

The program includes 9 units of elective courses in philosophy, permitting individualized emphases in specific areas. Students majoring or minoring in philosophy are urged to lay out a tentative program of courses with their advisors early in their tenure at the university. Depending upon the student's area of specialization, up to 6 units of courses outside the philosophy department may be approved by a department advisor as elective units for the B.A.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

The following courses are required of all majors in philosophy.

 

Program Requirements

Foundation (6 units)

Course Title
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis - GWAR *

History (6 units)

Course Title
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy

Plus one additional course from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy

Normative Issues (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 450 Ethics

Plus two additional courses from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PHIL 335 Law and Society
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 383 Ethics in Medicine
PHIL 395 Ethical Issues: Science and Technology
PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspectives
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
PHIL 460 Philosophy of Art

Core Issues of the Discipline (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 321 Being and Knowing

Plus two additional courses from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 350 Philosophy of Science: The Natural Sciences
PHIL 605 Metaphysics
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
PHIL 611 Philosophy of Perception
PHIL 620 Philosophy of Mind
PHIL 630 Philosophy of Language
PHIL 694 Philosophical Logic Workshop
PHIL 695 Advanced Logic Workshop

Elective Units in Philosophy: 9 units

Culmination

Course Title Units
PHIL 696 Directed Reading: Learning Outcomes 1

Total for Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy: 40 - 43 units

 

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.

 

Emphasis in Philosophy and Law

Required courses

Course Title
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis - GWAR *
PHIL 321 Being and Knowing
PHIL 450 Ethics

Total for Required Courses, Emphasis in Philosophy and Law: 15 units

Disjunctive History Requirement (3 units)

Course Title
PHIL 301
    or
PHIL 302
    or
PHIL 516
Ancient Philosophy
 
Medieval Philosophy
 
Islamic Philosophy

Core Philosophy Areas Requirement (6 units)

Course Title
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
PHIL 620 Philosophy of the Mind

Normative Issues Requirement (6 units)

Course Title
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law

plus (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 335 Law and Society
PHIL 375 Peace Law and Human Rights in the U.S.
PHIL 383 Ethics in Medicine
PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspective
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
PHIL 455 Sex and the Law
PHIL 470 Environmental Ethics

Units selected from the following or on advisement: 3 - 4 units

Course Title
AFRS 375 Law and the Black Community
AIS 205 American Indians and U.S. Laws
COMM 461 Issues in Free Speech (4)
C J 501 Criminal Law
I R 330 World Law (4)
LABR 251 Know Your Work Rights
PLSI 552 Individual Rights and the Constitution (4)
PLSI 553 Legal Issues (4)
PLSI 561 Jurisprudence (4)
USP 513 Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (4)
WGS 534/
S S 345 
Gender and the Law

Culmination

Course Title
PHIL 696 Directed Reading: Learning Outcomes (1)

Emphasis Total: 43 - 44 units

 

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.

 

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion

The B.A. in Philosophy and Religion requires a minimum of 40 units of which at least 31 must be upper division units.

 

Program

Foundation (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 320 GW Philosophical Analysis - GWAR *
PHIL 450 Ethics
PHIL 525/
RELS 300 
The Nature of Religious Experience

Comparative Thought (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 502 World Religions

and two courses from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
or any 500 level Philosophy course

History (9 units)

Course Title
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy

and two courses from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy

Philosophical Concepts (6 units)

Course Title
PHIL 500 Philosophy of Religion

and one course from the following list:

Course Title
PHIL 605 Metaphysics
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
Elective units from related fields on advisement. (6 units)

Culmination

Course Title
PHIL 696 Directed Reading: Learning Outcomes (1)

Total for Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion: 40 units

 

* PHIL 320 GW satisfies the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement (GWAR). Students who have satisfied GWAR in a discipline other than philosophy will still be required to complete PHIL 320 GW as a requirement of the major.

 

Minor in Philosophy

Each student minoring in philosophy must take at least 21 units in philosophy, at least fifteen (15) of these being upper division units.

 

Minor in Philosophy and Religion

Program Units
Philosophy and Religion (all courses in the 500's) 12
Upper Division units in Philosophy 6
Lower Division units in Philosophy 3

Total for Minor in Philosophy and Religion: 21 units

 

Master of Arts in Philosophy

Admission to Program

To enter this program with classified graduate status, students should have completed the following five undergraduate courses (or their equivalents) with a grade of B or better: PHIL 205, (Formal Logic I); PHIL 301 (Ancient Philosophy); PHIL 303 (Modern Philosophy); one upper-division course in ethics; one course in a core area of metaphysics and epistemology: PHIL 321 (Being and Knowing), PHIL 350 (Philosophy of Science), PHIL 605 (Metaphysics), PHIL 610 (Theory of Knowledge), PHIL 611 (Philosophy of Perception), PHIL 620 (Philosophy of Mind), PHIL 630 (Philosophy of Language), PHIL 694 (Philosophical Logic Workshop). Those who have not completed these prerequisites may begin the program as a conditionally classified student with the approval of the Graduate Coordinator in philosophy, but they will be required to make up any deficiencies by receiving a grade of 3.0 or better in each prerequisite class. A GPA of at least 3.0 is expected for both (1) the last 60 undergraduate units and (2) all philosophy courses. An applicant who does not meet this expectation but shows promise in other respects may be given special consideration for admission.

 

Applicants must submit a Philosophy Department application, obtained from and returned to the department office, as well as the general university application form.

 

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: Pre-admission writing sample.
Level Two: Satisfactory completion of examination in PHIL 898, Master's Thesis (and Oral Exam).

 

Course Requirements: Students must take three required courses: PHIL 715, Seminar in Philosophical Writing; PHIL 896, Directed Reading in Fundamental Philosophical Texts (the MA qualifying exam1); PHIL 898, Master’s Thesis (and Oral Exam). PHIL 715 should be taken during the first year (preferably during the first semester of graduate coursework); PHIL 896 should be taken during the second or third semester of graduate coursework; PHIL 898 should be taken during the final semester of coursework. Also required are four more graduate seminars in philosophy, and 12 more graduate-level seminar or supervisory units or upper-division courses (of which at least a quarter are graduate-level units) approved by the Graduate Coordinator.

 

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all requirements, applicants must in addition have completed with grades of B or better two graduate seminars in philosophy. An Advancement to Candidacy should be filed with the Graduate Division when applicants have completed (or are in the process of completing) 18 units of required course work.

 

All upper-division courses offered by Philosophy may be considered for the master's degree, upon approval of the Graduate Coordinator. The graduate coordinator will not approve any course numbered 300-599 in which a student receives below an A-. Courses numbered 600 or higher must have receive a grade of B- or higher, except that with permission of the Graduate Coordinator some courses in this range may be counted with a grade of CR.

 

Students should expect to be disqualified from the MA program if they are on administrative/academic probation for more than one semester during their time as a graduate student.

 

Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated. On-line course descriptions are available.

 

Program

Course Title Units
PHIL 715 Seminar in Philosophical Writing 3
Graduate seminars in philosophy excluding PHIL 777 or PHIL 715. 12
Upper division/graduate units in philosophy or in a related field with approval of Graduate Coordinator. 12
PHIL 896 Directed Reading 1 3
PHIL 898 Master's Thesis 3

Minimum Total for a Master of Arts in Philosophy: 33 units

and Oral Examination in Defense of Thesis (a failed examination may be repeated once)

 


 

Footnote

  1. PHIL 896 is a mandatory CR/NC course. Students who fail the exam may attempt it only once more, after enrolling again. Upon admission to the graduate program, students must consult with the Graduate Coordinator in regard to this course. It must be completed with a CR before the student may officially begin work on the master's thesis.

 

 

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