Philosophy Minor

College of Liberal Arts
Undergraduate minor

About this program

The Philosophy minor allows students to explore questions about knowledge, value, meaning, and reality, and to develop and improve their capacities for analysis, reflection, careful reading, and clear writing. It includes courses in the history of philosophy, in philosophical approaches to race, gender, and sexuality, and in philosophical methods, and it has room for two elective courses in philosophy. It offers the student a more wide-ranging set of courses than our other minor (the Practical Ethics minor).

This minor can complement a degree in virtually any field. Up to 9 credits can be transferred into the minor from another college or university.

Enrolling in this program

Current students: Declare your program

Once you’re admitted as an undergraduate student and have met any further requirements your chosen program may have, you may declare a major or declare an optional minor.

Future students: Apply now

Apply to Metropolitan State: Start the journey toward your Philosophy Minor now. Learn about the steps to enroll or, if you have questions about what Metropolitan State can offer you, request information, visit campus or chat with an admissions counselor.

Get started on your Philosophy Minor

Course requirements

Requirements (20 credits)

Philosophical methods (4 credits)

Choose one

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.

Full course description for Introduction to Symbolic Logic

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…

Full course description for Principles of Inquiry: Ways of Knowing

Philosophical perspectives on race, gender, and sexuality (4 credits)

Choose one

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 stereotypes? 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.

Full course description for Philosophy and Sexuality

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?

Full course description for African and African-American Philosophy

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

Full course description for The Cultural Politics of GLBT Sexuality

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.

Full course description for Race and Racism: Philosophical Problems

History of philosophy (4 credits)

Choose one

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.

Full course description for Ancient Greek Philosophy

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.

Full course description for Early Modern European Philosophy

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.

Full course description for Contemporary Epistemology and Metaphysics

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.

Full course description for Contemporary Moral Theory

Electives

Students should choose electives in consultation with a departmental advisor to bring their Philosophy credits up to 20. In addition to the courses listed above, students can choose from these electives.

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.

Full course description for Multicultural Introduction to Philosophy

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.

Full course description for Philosophy, Film and the Meaning of Life

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.

Full course description for Views of Human Nature

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.

Full course description for Ethical Inquiry

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.

Full course description for Philosophy Now:

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?

Full course description for Faith and Reason: The Philosophy of Religion

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…

Full course description for Environmental Philosophy

PHIL 320 Business Ethics

4 credits

Do business firms have obligations besides making as much money as possible for their stockholders? What are their responsibilities, if any, to their employees, their customers, and the wider community? Is it enough to obey the law, or does the law sometimes allow people to do things that are wrong? Do employees have any right to privacy on the job? To 'living wages'? To 'decent' working conditions? Does a seller have any obligation to look out for the interests of the buyer? Isn't it necessary to put the best possible 'spin' on your product and let the buyer look out for him or herself? This course will examine questions like these in light of various theories of ethics and current theories of justice. In addition to considering how we might ideally like people to act, it will also consider the challenges to personal integrity and 'doing the right thing' posed by the real world of business and by the kind of large bureaucratic organizations that dominate it.

Full course description for Business Ethics

PHIL 321 Medical Ethics

4 credits

Is it ever right to try to hasten a patient's death? Should people ever be given medical treatment against their will? How should we decide who will get access to scarce medical resources (like organ transplants)? Do people have a right to get the care they need, even if they can't pay for it? This course will use ethical theories and theories of justice to explore these questions and others like them. It is intended to be helpful not only to (present or future) health care practitioners, but also to anyone who wants to think about these issues, which confront us in our roles as patients and as citizens whose voices can contribute to the shaping of health care policies.

Full course description for Medical Ethics

PHIL 327 Ethics in the Information Age

4 credits

This course explores a range of moral issues raised by the introduction of new technologies for the production, distribution and use of information -- issues about privacy, surveillance and data-mining, freedom of speech, copyright, computer crime and abuse, justice in access to information, the political and social significance of the Internet, and so on. The course is intended to be helpful not only to information technology professionals, who will encounter some of these issues in connection with their work, but also to anyone who has an interest in the way information technology is changing our lives. Students will study moral theory, professional codes of ethics and a variety of case studies.

Full course description for Ethics in the Information Age

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.

Full course description for Philosophy for Children

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.

Full course description for Economic Justice: Who Gets What and Why?

PHIL 360I Philosophy Student Designed Independent Studies

1-8 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.

Full course description for Philosophy Student Designed Independent Studies