Program Overview

Philosophy is a discipline requiring well-developed skills in careful reasoning, clear writing, and persuasive and well-organized public speaking. Thus, the study of philosophy helps a person to develop her abilities to:

  • Read texts carefully, closely, accurately, and sympathetically
  • Analyze positions fairly and critically
  • Uncover unstated and unexamined assumptions in arguments- - both one's own and others'
  • Construct cogent and persuasive arguments for one's position
  • Write in a manner that is simple, natural, clear, and persuasive.

These skills are extremely useful in many other disciplines and practices outside of philosophy-careers in law, computer science, business, medicine, law enforcement, the arts, publishing, and many more all value the skills developed by the study of philosophy. The ability to write well, to understand accurately and critically what one has read, to speak clearly and persuasively for one's position, and the ability to "think outside of the box" are in high demand by a wide range of employers and will serve any student well in their life after college.

More information about this program

Declare Your Program

To be eligible for acceptance to the Philosophy major, students must submit a College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Program Declaration Form. Consult with a departmental advisor before enrolling in courses toward the major.

Declare Your Program

Requirements

Total of 40 credits (with advisor approval, up to 4 credits may be in a related field, up to 12 credits can be lower division, and up to 12 credits can be transferred in from another college or university)

Courses required for your specific program are listed in the right column on this page. They include prerequisite, foundation, core and elective courses. Contact your advisor with questions concerning your degree plan.

How Admissions Works

We are looking forward to you joining us. Take the first step by filling out this application.
Course List

Prerequisites

Requirements ( 120 total credits)

Methods (4 credits)

  • PHIL 204 Introduction to Symbolic Logic
    4 credits

    Symbolic logic uses formal methods in order to study the properties of arguments in a precise and rigorous manner. In this course, we learn about both the propositional calculus, which deals with the logical relations that hold among whole propositions, and the predicate calculus, a system which allows more precise analysis of linguistic structure. The course will focus on both translation of natural languages into symbolic form, and proofs using natural deduction.

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  • PHIL 303 Principles of Inquiry: Ways of Knowing
    4 credits

    This course will consider a number of questions about knowledge: What is the difference between knowing that something is true and just believing (or being of the opinion) that it is true? What sorts of methods or modes of inquiry can reliably produce knowledge? Are there various methods for acquiring knowledge or is there really only one method (perhaps something called "the scientific method"). Is science the only reliable 'way of knowing', or are their others (faith or intuition or personal experience or...)? Should we accept claims that non-Western cultures have distinctive 'ways of knowing'? What about the idea that there are (as a popular book title suggests) 'women's ways of knowing'? The course will treat these questions as practical questions: In the public sphere of politics and the marketplace, as well as in our personal lives, claims and counter-claims abound. Many people claim to know one thing or another, and many others claim to know that those very claims are false or ill founded. How can we sort through the spin and the propaganda and figure out what's really going on? How, in particular, can we know what we need to know in order to be good citizens in a democratic society? Part of what we need is to understand better how our minds work and what errors they are prone to. We will also need to think about how the mass media inform and misinform us.

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Race, Gender, and Sexuality (8 credits)

  • PHIL 306 Philosophy and Sexuality
    4 credits

    This introductory course explores the most basic ideas about human sexuality and sexual identity: What does it mean to be a woman or a man? What does it mean to have a sexual identity? Is there such a thing as "normal" sex? How has sexuality been socially regulated in the past and how is it currently regulated? How can people evaluate such "regulations"? How do ideas about sexuality influence gender, ethnic, racial and other sterotypes? What sorts of ideas do people have about the nature of their bodies? Students develop basic philosophical skills in order to sort out these questions. Topics usually include: eroticism, desire, homophobia, sexual violence, pornography, prostitution, and sexual imagery in popular culture, love and romance.

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  • PHIL 362 African and African-American Philosophy
    4 credits

    This course examines philosophical works produced in Africa and about Africa, as well as work by and about African Americans. Topics may include: the ethno philosophy of Africa; the philosophy of liberation movements in Africa, the Caribbean and the United States; and contemporary philosophy in the United States and Europe as written by persons of African descent. Questions raised could include: Is there an "African philosophy"? What should the goals of liberation be? In what sense is there a "Black identity?" Are racial solidarity and racism related? How has the experience of persons of African descent been recorded philosophically? What is the experience of African-American intellectuals like?

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  • PHIL 365 The Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality
    4 credits

    This course studies the socio-cultural, political, and conceptual bases of contemporary identity formation in gay. lesbian, transgender and bisexual communities. Variable topics of study, focused primarily on the United States, examine the development of communal and political LGBT identity rooted in the philosophical, social, and political debates and challenges among and between LGBT people since 1945: the Homophile movement of the 1950's and 1960's, the Stonewall Riot of 1969 and Gay Liberation movements of the 1970's, lesbian feminism and the politicization of sexuality, the HIV crisis, LGBT civil rights and public policy, transgender politics, race and is relationship to sexuality, and cultural, literary, and filmic expressions of LGBT identity. Overlap: GNDR 365

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  • PHIL 366 Race and Racism: Philosophical Problems
    4 credits

    What exactly is a race? How have conceptions of race changed over time? What does it mean to say that race is socially constructed? What is the relation between the idea of race, racial prejudice and racial oppression? What exactly is racism? What is the precise nature of the harm of racism? What can and should we do about racism -- its historical legacy and its contemporary manifestations? This course uses the tools and methods of philosophy to examine a variety of conceptual and ethical questions about race and racism.

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History of Philosophy (12 credits)

  • PHIL 375 Ancient Greek Philosophy
    4 credits

    This course examines the birth of European philosophy in ancient Greece. We will study the two Greek thinkers who are still regarded by many as the greatest of all philosophers - Plato and Aristotle - and may also examine the work of other thinkers who came before and after them. Topics include the nature of reality, the ways we might come to have knowledge, and the good life for human beings.

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  • PHIL 376 Early Modern European Philosophy
    4 credits

    This course concentrates on the period of time in which what people call "the modern world view" was formed. With the dawn of modern science, the centuries old grip of Aristotle and the Church was broken and replaced by a fundamentally new philosophy that was responsive to the new science and assisted in its defense. We will study selected thinkers of the period from the 16th to the 19th centuries: Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, and others. The course also pays attention to the role of race, gender and colonialism in the thought of these philosophers.

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  • PHIL 378 Contemporary Epistemology and Metaphysics
    4 credits

    Recent developments in the philosophical understanding of knowledge and reality. Texts will include both analytic and continental approaches, as well as the work of members of previously marginalized groups. Topics may include developments in social epistemology, feminist work on the concept of identity, or the rise of interest in cognitive science and experimental philosophy.

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  • PHIL 379 Contemporary Moral Theory
    4 credits

    When we say something is morally right or wrong, are we simply expressing our personal feelings or are we saying something more? Who gets to decide (and how do they decide) what makes something morally right or wrong? Do moral issues have answers about which we can be certain? Does morality have well-regarded theories like the physical sciences do--theories which help ethicists and others to decide what is right or wrong? These and other questions will be addressed in this decidedly theory-focused course in moral philosophy.

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Capstone (to be taken close to graduation)

  • PHIL 499 Philosophy Capstone Seminar
    4 credits

    This capstone course for Philosophy majors is intended to support students in doing advanced work in philosophy. Students will work together as a community of inquiry to study a particular author, genre, period or problem selected by the instructor. Texts and topics will be chosen to illustrate the variety of styles and strategies employed by philosophers of varying cultural backgrounds and to include the critiques and contributions of authors from marginalized communities/communities of color. Each student will complete a course paper or project using concepts and methods derived from this and other philosophy courses to explore a philosophical topic of personal interest connected to the seminar topic. Prerequisite: Open to philosophy majors near graduation and to others with appropriate preparation (non-majors need instructor¿s permission to register).

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Electives (to make up 40 credits)

Any of the courses in the categories above that are beyond the minimum requirement may also be used as electives for the Philosophy major, or choose from:

  • PHIL 100 Multicultural Introduction to Philosophy
    4 credits

    Have you ever wondered how people from different cultures think about important life questions differently from one country or culture to the next? How do different cultures understand life's meaning? How do different cultures understand the nature of death? How do people in different cultures make sense of their place in the world? How do they see their moral responsibilities to one another? Through philosophical readings from a wide variety of cultures, this course explores these and other questions of inter-cultural philosophical significance. You will leave the course with a greater understanding of how people from a variety of cultures attempt to answer these important life questions.

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  • PHIL 102 Philosophy, Film and the Meaning of Life
    4 credits

    Does human life have a meaning? If so, where or how can it be found? How should one live? What kind of people should we want to be? How does the nature of one's community and one's position in it affect one's answers to these questions? Do only certain kinds of communities offer opportunities for a good life? This course uses movies and philosophical essays from classical and contemporary sources to discuss these and other matters concerning life's meaning.

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  • PHIL 105 Views of Human Nature
    3 credits

    This course introduces students to persistent questions concerning what it means to be human. Is there such a thing as human nature? If so, what is it? How have different cultures and different periods of history understood the nature of human nature? What are the moral and social consequences of accepting various answers to these questions? The course examines how these issues have been addressed within European, American, Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern philosophical traditions.

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  • PHIL 301 Ethical Inquiry
    4 credits

    What does it mean to be an ethical person? What thinking should guide a person's decisions about doing (or not doing) what is right or wrong? Can we know when something is right or wrong or this only a matter of personal feeling? Do the affluent have moral duties to help the poor of the world with their plight? This course explores these questions and others like them, using a variety of philosophical materials and approaches. It examines major moral theories and related moral dilemmas concerning, for example abortion, economic justice, war and morality, and the moral status of animals. This course also examines ideas about how race, class and gender may affect concepts of ethics.

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  • PHIL 302 Philosophy Now:
    4 credits

    The specific topic of this course changes from semester to semester. Each time the course is offered, it considers a topic of current social importance and employs important work in social and moral philosophy to understand them. Topics have included reparations and responses to historical injustices; toleration of religious and other differences; immigration and the question of who should get in and why. Future topics may involve the legitimacy of torture; justice in the distribution of health care; markets and morals; same-sex marriage; the role, nature, and justifiability of patriotism; etc.

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  • PHIL 308 Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion
    4 credits

    An examination of religious experience from a philosophical perspective. Questions such as: What must a belief or experience be like to count as religious? Should we expect religious beliefs to be supported by evidence or reasons or does faith operate in a different way? Are there good arguments for (or against) the existence of God? Of miracles? Of the immortality of the soul? Do religious accounts of events (of the creation of the world, for example) compete with scientific explanations? Or do they have a different function and a different kind of grounding? What relationship does religion have to morality? To politics?

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  • PHIL 310 Environmental Philosophy
    4 credits

    In this course we use various philosophical approaches to explore the relations among persons, non-human animals and the worlds they inhabit separately and together. We will look closely at the grounds for claiming that we have obligations and duties in relation to non-human animals and the environment, as well as the ways in which these relations provide inspiration, companionship, solace and love. Topics may include: environmental justice and the disposal of electronic waste; animals and factory farming; the real cost of cheap consumer goods; the historical evolution of the concept of environment protection, of a land ethic, and of the development of natural parks; human stewardship; the possibility that natural creatures have a value that is independent of human benefit and whether it makes sense to grant them legal standing; global climate change; the connections between feminism and environmental ethics; the population time bomb and current responses; green politics; the role of scientific expertise in a democratic society; shallow vs deep environmental movements.

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  • PHIL 334 Philosophy for Children
    4 credits

    Evidence suggests that engaging in philosophical discussion enhances children's reasoning and critical skills. This course introduces strategies for encouraging elementary school children to think about their world in a serious and careful way, using stories, children's literature and children's everyday experiences, as well as materials developed at the Institute for the Advancement of Philosophy for Children. The course is designed for teachers wishing to integrate philosophical questions into their classes and parents who wish to play a more active role in the cognitive development of their children. Education students are encouraged to consider this training.

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  • PHIL 352 Borders, Walls, Us and Them
    4 credits

    This course offers an introduction to the philosophical issues raised by political and economic relations in the global system. Classes typically deal with challenges such as just distribution of goods and services; the morality of war; the complexity of humanitarian intervention; recognition across national boundaries; and environmental justice.

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  • PHIL 354 Economic Justice: Who Gets What and Why?
    4 credits

    Does the fact that some in the world have more than they need in order to live and others have too little to survive show that the world is unjust? Do people in affluent countries have a moral obligation to help those in impoverished countries? Should material well-being be more equally distributed in a just world? Should people who contribute more get more? Do smart people, beautiful people, and hard-working people deserve to get more than those who are less so? Should the world's bounty be seen as belonging to all equally? These and other questions regarding the controversial issue of economic justice will be addressed through a variety of philosophical materials.

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  • PHIL 360I Philosophy Student Designed Independent Studies
    0 credits

    Student-designed independent studies give Metropolitan State students the opportunity to plan their own study. This type of independent learning strategy can be useful because it allows students: to study a subject in more depth, at a more advanced level; to pursue a unique project that requires specialized study; to draw together several knowledge areas or interests into a specialized study; to test independent learning capabilities and skills; or to use special learning resources in the community, taking advantage of community education opportunities which, in themselves, would not yield a full college competence. Students should contact their academic advisor for more information.

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