Philosophy

College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Department of Philosophy
HUM 388
415-338-1596
Chair: Anatole Anton

Faculty

Professors—Anton, Bach, Glanville, Needleman, Royse, Silvers, Warren

Associate Professor—Harrison

Assistant Professor—Hood

Programs

B.A. in Philosophy
B.A. in Philosophy and Religion
Minor in Philosophy
Minor in Philosophy and Religion
M.A. in Philosophy
Certificate in Teaching Critical Thinking


Program Scope

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. Philosophy is traditionally defined as the love of wisdom, the ability to think well about the foundations of human action, the nature of reality, and the purposes and priorities of life. The 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, and thus provides a more secure basis on which to develop one's own philosophy.

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 are frequently designed to help develop or increase these skills, a task that is sometimes more manageable if a restriction of attention is placed on a limited area of thought. Many of the courses concentrate on specific issues. Others are designed to provide an analytic and scholarly overview of an entire area or period. The department welcomes students from other majors or programs who wish to examine their own 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 major areas of knowledge, from the arts to the sciences. Students interested in either the philosophical understanding of a field, or in philosophy for a personal reason should feel free to consult the department chairperson or an adviser on appropriate courses.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Religion. The philosophy and religion program has the same general aims as those of the philosophy program given above; in addition, the program is designed to assist students in the exploration of the origin, nature, and structure of the quest for human meaning. This entails the study of the 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 disciplined self-reflection and contemplation. Majors will gain basic knowledge about diverse religious traditions and develop concentrated knowledge about a chosen special area of interest. The goal of this program is to provide students with the skills and discipline required for a rigorous examination of the issues, experiences, and concerns which arise from religious quests for certainty, community, social justice, and self-understanding.

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.

A Certificate in Teaching Critical Thinking is available through the Department of Philosophy. The certificate program should be useful to anyone interested in teaching critical thinking courses or incorporating a critical thinking or informal reasoning emphasis in other kinds of courses in elementary, secondary, or post-secondary institutions. The certificate program is open to any post-baccalaureate student. Graduate students in philosophy are invited to complete the program as an adjunct to the M.A. degree. It should be noted that a graduate certificate is not the equivalent of a teaching credential. The certificate attests only to the successful completion of this sixteen unit program.

Career Outlook

A principal reason for the study of philosophy and/or religion is the enrichment of one's own life and understanding. However, the study of philosophy is an excellent preparation for a variety of post-baccalaureate professional studies. These range from law and policy planning through the helping professions to computer science. Philosophy and religion offers preparation for the helping professions, the ministry, and advanced studies in theology. In addition, 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.

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHILOSOPHY

Undergraduate advisers 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 advisers 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, it is highly recommended that the student obtain written approval from an adviser either immediately before or immediately after obtaining non-department units to be utilized in the major. Decisions of advisers may be appealed to the department as a whole.

On-line course descriptions are available.

PHIL 110, Critical Thinking, or its equivalent, is required of all students as a prerequisite to the B.A. in Philosophy; students who have not met this requirement may begin the program but must satisfy the requirement at the earliest opportunity. Equivalencies must be approved by a departmental adviser.

The Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy requires a minimum 39-unit major, with at least 30 of these units being upper division.

The program includes nine 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 advisers early in their tenure at the university. Depending upon the student's area of specialization, up to six units of courses outside the Department of Philosophy may be approved by a department adviser as elective units for the B.A.

The following courses are required of all majors in philosophy, except those taking the emphasis in classics.

Program Requirements Units
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I 3
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL 450 Ethics 3
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge 3
PHIL 660 Philosophy Seminar 3
Units in the history of philosophy from the following: 3
  PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy  
  PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
Units in the core areas of the discipline from the following: 6
  PHIL 350 Philosophy of Science: The Natural Sciences
  PHIL 605 Metaphysics
  PHIL 620 Philosophy of Mind
  PHIL 630 Philosophy of Language
Units in normative issues from the following: 6
  PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
  PHIL 335 Law and Society
  PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law
  PHIL 382 Women and Philosophy: Selected Topics
  PHIL 383 Ethics in Medicine
  PHIL 440 Ethics at Work
  PHIL 460 Philosophy of Art
  PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspectives
Elective units in philosophy 9
  Total 39

Emphasis in Classics

Through cooperation between the Departments of Philosophy and Classics, it is possible for the student to obtain a major in Philosophy with an Emphasis in Classics.

Program Requirements Units
Latin or Greek 15
Classics courses selected from a number of courses dealing with ancient thought and civilization 9
Philosophy courses selected from a number of courses dealing with ancient and medieval philosophy 12
Units selected from the following philosophy courses: 9
  PHIL 160 Introduction to Philosophy of the Arts
  PHIL 205 Formal Logic I
  PHIL 450 Ethics
  PHIL 605 Metaphysics
  PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
  PHIL 660 Philosophy Seminar
  Total minimum for emphasis 45

Emphasis in Philosophy and Law

Required courses Units
PHIL 205 Formal Logic 3
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL 660 Philosophy Seminar 3
PHIL 450 Ethics 3
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law 3
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge 3
Units in history selected from the following: 6
  PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy  
  PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
  PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
Units selected from the following: 12-14
  PHIL 335 Law and Society  
  PHIL 375 Peace Law and Human Rights in the U.S.
  PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspective
  PHIL 455 Sex and the Law
  WOMS 534 Women and the Law
  PLSI 552 Individual Rights in the Constitution (4)
  SPCH 461 Issues in Free Speech (4)
Units selected from the following or on advisement: 6-8
  AIS 205 American Indians and U.S. Laws  
  BL S 375 Law and the Black Community
  I R 330 World Law (4)
  C J 500 Criminal Law (4)
  JOUR 305 Mass Communication Law
  LABR 251 Know Your Work Rights
  PLSI 561 Jurisprudence (4)
  PLSI 553 Legal Issues (4)
  SOC 459 Criminal Law and Social Process (4)
  SOC 457 Sociology of Law (4)
  URBS 513 Politics, Law, and the Urban Environment (4)
  Total 39-43

BACHELOR OF ARTS IN PHILOSOPHY AND RELIGION

The B.A. in Philosophy and Religion requires a minimum of 39 units of which at least 30 must be upper division units.

Program Units
PHIL 105 Introduction to Philosophy and Religion 3
PHIL 500 Philosophy of Religion 3
PHIL 502 World Religions 3
PHIL 525/
RELS 300
The Nature of Religious Experience 3
PHIL 660 Philosophy Seminar 3
PHIL 696 Directed Reading: Philosophy and Religion 3
Units selected from the following: 3
  PHIL 605 Metaphysics  
  PHIL 610 Epistemology
Units in history selected from the following: 6
  PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy  
  PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
  PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy
  PHIL 504 History of Christian Thought
Elective units from the 500's 6
Elective units from related fields on advisement 6
  Total 39

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
Units in philosophy and religion (all courses in the 500's) 12
Units in philosophy
  Upper division 6
  Lower division 3
  Total 21

MASTER OF ARTS IN PHILOSOPHY

Admission to Program

To enter this program with classified graduate status, students should have completed the following upper division courses: two courses in the history of philosophy chosen from PHIL 301, 302, or 303 (or their equivalents); one course in ethics; PHIL 205, Formal Logic I, or the equivalent; one course in the theory of knowledge or the philosophy of science; and one course in the philosophy of language or philosophy of logic. Those who have not completed these prerequisites may begin the program with the approval of the graduate major adviser in philosophy, but they will be required to make up any deficiencies. 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 the department office, as well as the general university application form.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

Level One: satisfactory completion of written assignments and examination in PHIL 896. Level Two: satisfactory completion of the master's thesis.

Advancement to Candidacy

Besides meeting all requirements, applicants must in addition have completed with grades of B or better two graduate seminars in philosophy. A Graduate Approved Program should be filed with the Graduate Division when approximately 50 percent of the required course work is completed.

On-line course descriptions are available. All upper division courses offered by Philosophy may be considered for the master's degree, upon approval of the graduate adviser.

Program Units
Graduate seminars in philosophy excluding PHIL 777 12
Upper division/graduate units in philosophy or in a related field with approval of graduate major adviser 12
PHIL 896 Directed Reading1 3
PHIL 898 Master's Thesis 3
  Minimum total 30
and Oral Examination in Defense of Thesis (a failed examination may be repeated once)

CERTIFICATE IN TEACHING CRITICAL THINKING

Admission to the Program

Before being considered for acceptance to this certificate program, the student must first be eligible in accordance with all university requirements as outlined in the Certificate Programs section. This same section also includes university program guidelines and procedures to be followed in filing for the award of the certificate when it is completed.

In addition to the requirements specified in this Bulletin for admission to graduate study or graduate certificate programs, applicants must have completed:

Students who have not completed these courses may be admitted conditionally. Further information about the program and about equivalent courses may be secured from the program coordinators.

Written English Proficiency Requirement

This university requirement is met by examination in PHIL 777, Seminar in Teaching Critical Thinking.

Program Units
PHIL 717 Projects in Teaching Philosophy2 3
PHIL 777 Seminar in Teaching Critical Thinking 3
ENG 419 Advanced Composition for Teachers 3
One of the following: 3
  PHIL 810 Seminar in Theory of Knowledge  
  PHIL 830 Seminar in Philosophy of Language
  PHIL 850 Seminar in the Philosophy of Science
Units in Applied Philosophy, on advisement 3
PHIL 899 Special Study 1
  Total for certificate 16

NOTE: The unit in Special Study is to be taken in conjunction with the course chosen to fulfill the Applied Philosophy requirement; the unit is for the purpose of developing classroom materials on that subject to be used in teaching critical thinking. The Applied Philosophy requirement may be met by PHIL 330, 335, 340, 375, 380, 382, 383, 395, 435, 440, 445, 455, or 460. For other courses, consult a program coordinator.


Footnotes

  1. PHIL 896 is a mandatory CR/NC course. It may be repeated once if NC is earned the first time. Upon admission to the graduate program, students must consult with the graduate adviser in regard to this course. It must be completed with a CR before the student may officially begin work on the master's thesis.
  2. Limited to projects in teaching critical thinking.


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Last modified July 09, 2012 by bulletin@sfsu.edu