College of Humanities
Dean: Paul Sherwin

Department of Philosophy
HUM 388
Chair: Anita Silvers


Professors— Anton, Glanville, Needleman, Royse, Silvers

Associate Professor—Hood

Assistant Professors—Azadpur, Sowaal, Sveinsdottir, Tiwald

Lecturers—Bagakis, Dupen, Kay, Mutti, Nutting, Radcliff, Robertson


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. This study, and thus provides a more 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 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 historical 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. The skills that are achieved by minoring in philosophy or philosophy and religion are an excellent complement to most university major programs.


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.

Program Requirements Units
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I 3
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL 320 Philosophical Analysis 3
PHIL 321 Being and Knowing 3
PHIL 450 Ethics 3
Units in the history of philosophy from the following: 3
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy  
PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 516 Islamic 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 610 Theory of Knowledge
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 395 Ethical Issues: Science and Technology
PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspectives
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
PHIL 440 Ethics at Work
PHIL 451 Feminist Moral Issues
PHIL 460 Philosophy of Art
Elective units in philosophy 9
Total 39

Emphasis in Philosophy and Law

Required courses
PHIL 205 Formal Logic I
PHIL 303 Modern Philosophy
PHIL 320 Philosophical Analysis
PHIL 450 Ethics
PHIL 380 Philosophy of Law
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
Units in history selected from the following:
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 330 Political Philosophy
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy
Units selected from the following:
COMM 461 Issues in Free Speech (4)
PHIL 335 Law and Society
PHIL 375 Peace Law and Human Rights in the U.S.
PHIL 435 Human Rights in Global Perspective
PHIL 436 Islamic Political Philosophy
PHIL 455 Sex and the Law
PLSI 552 Individual Rights and the Constitution (4)
WOMS 534/S S 345 Gender and the Law
Units selected from the following or on advisement:
AIS 205 American Indians and U.S. Laws
AFRS 375 Law and the Black Community
I R 330 World Law (4)
C J 501 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)


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 303 Modern Philosophy 3
PHIL 320 Philosophical Analysis 3
PHIL 450 Ethics 3
PHIL 500 Philosophy of Religion 3
PHIL 502 World Religions 3
PHIL 525/
RELS 300
The Nature of Religious Experience 3
Units selected from the following: 3
PHIL 605 Metaphysics  
PHIL 610 Theory of Knowledge
Units in history selected from the following: 6
PHIL 301 Ancient Philosophy  
PHIL 302 Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 504 History of Christian Thought
PHIL 516 Islamic Philosophy
Elective units from PHIL 436, Islamic Political Philosophy, and from 500-level courses 6
Elective units from related fields on advisement 6
Total 39


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


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


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: PHIL 301 (Ancient Philosophy) and PHIL 303 (Modern Philosophy) 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 and returned to 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)


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 department office.

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.


  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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