B.A. Degree Requirements – General Emphasis


  • 1st Year English or equivalent
  • Math: PHIL 110, LING 123, MATH 105, 107, 112 or higher
  • 4th semester second language proficiency

General Education

  • 6 units Tier 1 Individuals & Societies
  • 6 units Tier 1 Traditions & Cultures
  • 6 units Tier 1 Natural Sciences
  • 3 units Tier 2 Humanities
  • 3 units Tier 2 Natural Sciences
  • 3 units Tier 2 Arts
  • 3 units Diversity


Required, minimum of 18 units (or double-major)

Core Courses

Philosophy Core I

  • 2 courses (6 units)
It is important "to do the right thing." But how can anyone tell what "the right thing" is? What makes some actions right and some wrong? This course is an overview of ethics, which is the field of philosophy that examines these questions. We examine three main ways of thinking about ethics: those that focus one the outcomes of actions, those that focus on the nature of the actions themselves, and those that focus on the character of the one who acts. Students will gain a foundational knowledge that will serve as a solid background for more advanced work in ethics, as a resource for thinking about moral issues, and as a piece of general education valuable for understanding practical aspects of human life.
Designed to improve ability to think analytically, with emphasis on analytic methodology. Selected readings on the nature of mental states, the analytic/synthetic distinction, personal identity, the concept of knowledge and justified belief, the theory of reference, and the distinction between science and pseudo-science.

Philosophy Core II

  • Complete 1 of the following (3 units)
Survey of Greek philosophy, from the pre-Socratic philosophers through Plato and Aristotle to post-Aristotelian philosophers.
The course focuses on three important thinkers in the Christian medieval tradition-Augustine, Anselm, and Aquinas. Topics covered: knowledge and skepticism, free will and the problem of evil, the nature and existence of God, and problem of universals.
Extensive readings in Greek in one of the following areas of Greek philosophy: the pre-Socratics, Plato's ethic and epistemology, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics.
Topics in Greek philosophy. May be selected from the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and post-Aristotelian philosophy.
A philosophical introduction to the major works of Plato.
A philosophical introduction to the major works of Aristotle.

Philosophy Core III

  • Complete 1 of the following (3 units)
Survey of major 17th and 18th century British and European philosophers, chosen from Descartes, Spinoza, Leibnitz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant.
Survey of influential 19th century philosophers, including Hegel, Marx, J. S. Mill, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche. Their views on the individual and society, and human nature.
Reading and analysis of selected texts from the Greeks to the present. Course focuses on the history of moral philosophy.
Reading and analysis of selected texts from the Greeks to the present. Course focuses on the history of social and political philosophy.
Rationalists of the 17th and 18th centuries: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, and Kant.
Empiricists of the 17th and 18th centuries: Locke, Berkeley, Hume.


  • Complete the following course (3 units)
Truth-functional logic and quantification theory; deductive techniques and translation into symbolic notation.

Ethics and Value Theory

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
Introduction to moral and political theory, and problems of practical ethics. Readings from representative moral and social philosophers.
We will study the ethics and the economics of such phenomena as market competition, institutions of private and public property, trade restrictions, globalization, and corporate welfare. How do people create wealth? How do societies enable people to create wealth? Are some ways more ethical than others? Why do some societies grow rich while neighboring societies remain poor? People have various ways of creating wealth. Which are ethical and which are not? Why? (PHIL 205 is not an introduction to the principles of Economics and is not a substitute for ECON 200, ECON 201A or ECON201B.)
Philosophical Issues and positions involved in contemporary moral and social problems. Topics covered will vary but may include, among others, abortion and infanticide, vegetarianism and animal rights, affirmative action and racial profiling, homosexuality and same sex marriage, and sexual harassment and gender equality.
Happiness matters to us; and now it is in the news. There are large numbers of self-help books telling us how to be happy. Some nations are planning to measure the happiness of their citizens to find out how it can be increased. There is a huge new field of `happiness studies¿, and new focus on happiness in positive psychology as well as fields like politics and law. Much of this material is confusing, since often it is not clear what the authors think that happiness is. Is it feeling good? Is it having a positive attitude to the way you are now? Is it having a positive attitude to your life as a whole? Is it having a happy life? Can some people advise others on how to be happy? Philosophers have been engaged with the search for happiness for two thousand years. They have asked what happiness is, and have explored different answers to the question, including some of the answers now being rediscovered in other fields. In this course we will ask what happiness is, and examine critically the major answers to this question. We¿ll look at the rich philosophical tradition of thinking about happiness, at contemporary answers, and also at some recent work in the social sciences. We¿ll examine the contributions being made to the ongoing search to find out what happiness is, and how we can live happy lives. Overall course objectives/expected learning outcomes: This course has two primary objectives: (1) To introduce students to the theoretical nature of the question of the nature of happiness by presenting a representative sample of the primary historical and contemporary literature. (2) To enable students to think and write critically, logically and objectively about the philosophical issues pertaining to happiness. These objectives will be approached through lectures, discussions and writing assignments informed by the assigned readings. Course outcomes will be assessed through substantial writing assignments, some of which will feature opportunities for students to revise their work in light of advice from the professor.
This course focuses on the idea of the social contract as it has evolved from the seventeenth century to contemporary philosophy. Can government be justified in terms of a pact that all rational individuals would accept in a ¿state of nature¿ or an ¿original position¿? What would be the terms of the agreement? We will read selections from, among others, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, David Gauthier, Robert Nozick, and John Rawls.
To examine the philosophical foundations of market society's implicit commitment to individual liberty and individual responsibility
This course examines psychological, political, moral, and economic aspects of the questions of how free we are, and how free we reasonably can aspire to be.
Ethical issues that arise in relation to medicine and health care: abortion, euthanasia, the allocation of scarce medical resources, socialized medicine, doctor-patient confidentiality, paternalism, etc.
This course is designed to teach students about normative ethics in the context of the workplace and the business world. We will discuss ethical questions concerning corporate responsibility, preferential hiring and affirmative action, advertising practices, corporate whistleblowing, and environmental responsibility.
Students in this course will investigate and seriously consider how and why we should live as morally responsible members of an ecological community. Students will explore philosophical responses to questions such as: What makes something natural? What value is there to non-human entities? What obligations do we have to each other regarding the environment? How should we respond to catastrophic environmental change?
Exploration of classic and contemporary philosophical issues about law and morality. Topics covered will vary but may include, among others, the limits of social interference with individual liberty, legal paternalism and physician-assisted suicide, legal moralism, freedom of speech and expression, legal punishment and capital punishment, and civil disobedience.
This course explores the ways in which philosophers contributed to the development of feminism, and the ways in which feminist theory is expanding and challenging mainstream philosophy in turn.
This course introduces students to the emerging field of "neuroethics," or the exploration of ethical issues that have arisen from rapid developments in neuroscience. Such issues include ethical issues surrounding pharmacological 'enhancement' of individuals; 'memory blunting' of those suffering post-traumatic stress disorder; 'brain reading' of persons suspected of deception; reduced criminal responsibility due to putative neurological 'dysfunction'; and the undermining of traditional views of personhood, personality, morality, and spirituality.
This course is an introduction to the moral mind from the neuroscientific, philosophical and psychological perspective. Many traditional philosophical problems about morality are being illuminated by current work in psychology and neuroscience. In this course, we will look at several of these problems. In each case, we will begin with a presentation of the philosophical problems, and we will proceed to examine recent empirical work on the topic. A wide range of topics will be covered, including moral judgment, agency, the self, and punishment.
Meta-ethics-meaning of moral terms, relativism, subjectivism, ethics and science, social contract theory.
Normative ethics-Utilitarianism, egoism, rights, natural law, justice, deontological duties, blameworthiness and excuses.
Classical and contemporary theories of art; the aesthetic experience, form and content, meaning, problems in interpretation and criticism of works of art.
Fundamental concepts of politics; leading social and political theories, such as anarchism, social contract, Marxism.
Nature and validity of law; law and morality, judicial reasoning, law and liberty.

Metaphysics and Epistemology

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
This course uses philosophical methods to study religion and religious beliefs in the western tradition. The course provides an introductory survey to questions that have been central to the western philosophical tradition: What is religion? Can reasoning or experience give good grounds for religious belief? Does faith require philosophically sound reasoning? Is it philosophically justified to believe in miracles? What tools does philosophy provide for examining the concept of "God"? How can a good God exist if there's so much suffering in the world? How should humans react to suffering? Is there a conflict between religion and science? How can the diversity of religions be explained? Is religion a good thing for humanity?
This course covers some of the central aspects of the philosophical foundations of cognitive science. After introducing the traditional philosophical problem of the relationship between the mind and the body, and examining the way different approaches to the problem have developed in tandem with different paradigms of scientific psychology, it focuses on three outstanding challenges for the conduct of a science of the mind: emotions, intentionality, and consciousness. With each of these topics, the handful of leading theories developed over the past generation or two of research will be surveyed.
Exploration of central problems of the human condition, such as meaning of life; death; self-deception; authenticity, integrity and responsibility; guilt and shame; love and sexuality.
This course is an introduction to philosophy of science. It examines fundamental philosophical concerns about the metaphysics and epistemology of scientific inquiry, and investigates questions such as: What is a species? Is physics reducible to chemistry? Must a scientific theory be testable?
An introduction to cognitive science; current issues relating to minds as computers, neuroscience, vision and language.
Problems arising from reflection on the sciences. Topics may include explanation, structure and evaluation of theories, experimental knowledge, scientific realism, the place of philosophy in science studies.
Topics include free will and determinism; causation; personal identity; necessity and essence; truth, realism and ontology.
Critical examination of some of the major problems concerning evidence, justification, knowledge, memory, perception and induction.
Issues in philosophy and psychology of knowledge, with emphasis on cognitive mechanisms. Perception, memory, concepts, mental representation, problem-solving, reasoning and rationality.
Topics include the nature of mental states; the relation between mind and brain; and analysis of perception, emotion, memory and action.
Investigation of philosophical issues arising from current work in psychology including perception, reasoning, memory, motivation and action.

Logic, Language and Science

  • Complete 1 of the following courses (3 units)
Students will develop rational thinking skills through a combination of theory and practice. They will discuss good and bad thinking habits, learning to apply the former and to avoid the latter. This class includes an introduction to truth-tables and rules of inference in symbolic logic. The aim is to improve students' capacity for rational reasoning, question widely held beliefs, resist empty rhetoric and propaganda, distinguish relevant from irrelevant considerations, and construct sound arguments. PHIL 110 satisfies the math requirement for some majors.
In this course we will focus on the critical thinking, analytical reasoning and logical skills that are crucial for success in the legal world. What is the import of some new piece of DNA evidence? How might various kinds of reasoning errors and biases influence a judge or jury's understanding of your case? What sort of argumentative skills must you master to succeed in law school? And what about those logic and critical thinking skills that you must master just to get into law school? This course will touch on all these issues and will provide you will the skills you need to think critically not only about the law, but about any subject matter.
A survey of basic issues in the philosophy of language.
Intermediate propositional logic and quantificational theory, natural deduction, axiom systems, elementary metatheorems, introduction to notions of modal logic, selected topics in philosophy of logic. Credit allowed for only one of these courses: PHIL 401A, PHIL 402.
Advanced propositional logic and quantification theory; metatheorems on consistency, independence, and completeness; set theory, number theory, and modal theory; recursive function theory and Goedel's incompleteness theorem.
Problems at the foundations of geometry and set theory. Logicism, formalism, and intuitionism. Nominalism vs. realism. Epistemology of mathematics.
Introduction to language processing. The psychological processes involved in the comprehension and production of sounds, words, and sentences. Other topics may include language breakdown and acquisition, brain and language, and bilingual processing.
Survey of basic issues in the philosophy of language such as: speech acts, reference, meaning, logical form.
Study of language use, its relationship to language structure and context; topics such as speech acts, presupposition, implication, performatives, conversations
The 50 year rise of analytic philosophy from Frege through early Russell to Wittgenstein's Tractatus.


  • Complete 3 courses (9 units)
  • Any PHIL 110 – 499 courses not used to fulfill previous requirements may be used here
  • Any additional Philosophy courses in previous categories may be taken to be used here
  • Or select from the following Philosophy courses
Students will explore the most fascinating questions in major areas of philosophy: What is a person? Will I survive the death of my body? How can I know that any of my beliefs are true? Does God exist? Why is there so much evil in the world? What is morality and how can I decide what's right to do? Students will develop the intellectual tools to study these topics in greater depth and to think critically about issues that impact their everyday life.
Introduction to linguistic, psychological, philosophical and social aspects; meaning structures; meaning in the mind/brain; acquisition of word meaning; the differences between literal/figurative meaning; metaphors; meaning in social contexts, models of representation.
This course is concerned with the history of oppression of African and other Indigenous peoples in the world and examines ideas by radical philosophers and scholars from the African Diaspora directed toward liberation from oppression.
Philosophical analysis of selected literary works.
Survey of major analytic introductory philosophers of the 20th century including Peirce, Dewey, James, Russell, Moore, Wittgenstein, Ayer, Carnap, Austin, and Quine.
In this course, we will develop an understanding of the variety and unity of Jewish Philosophy through the ages. The course will consist of four units. The first unit will be an examination of ancient texts, such as Ecclesiastes and Job. We will seek to elucidate the philosophy of life, morality, and religion that underlies these texts. The second unit will be an examination of medieval Jewish philosophy, with a special focus on Maimonides' Guide of the Perplexed. The third unit will be an examination of early modern Jewish philosophy, with a special focus on Spinoza's Ethics. The fourth unit will be an examination of contemporary Jewish ethics, with a special focus on Jewish perspectives on current bioethical issues (such as physician-assisted suicide and organ donation).
This course is an introduction to several core topics at the intersection of philosophy and psychiatry. The course falls naturally into three parts. The first part will begin with an overview of core concepts in the philosophy of mental health/illness, which will be followed by a brief history of philosophical approaches to psychopathology. The second part of the course will be concerned with philosophical issues associated with particular types of psychopathology, such as psychosis, depression, mania, personality disorders, and addiction. The third and final part of the course will cover specific issues at the intersection of psychopathology and particular areas of philosophy, such as ethics, philosophy of science, and philosophy of mind. These intersecting issues include (respectively): moral/criminal responsibility of the mentally ill, causes, laws and reasons in psychiatric etiology, and personal identity issues associated with mental illness.