Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

Philosophy

Undergraduate Degrees

Major Requirements for the Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

The School of Philosophy offers three major options: the major in philosophy, the major in philosophy with honors, and the major in philosophy, politics and law.

The major in philosophy requires eight courses in philosophy; six of these must be at the upper-division level. One of the eight courses must be a gateway course — PHIL 300, PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 340, or PHIL 360 — which must be taken before taking any 400-level courses. Students are strongly encouraged to take a course in logic: PHIL 250ab, PHIL 350, PHIL 351 or PHIL 352.

Distribution requirement: Students must take at least one course from each of the three categories listed below:

History of Philosophy: PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 345, PHIL 410, PHIL 411, PHIL 415, PHIL 421, PHIL 422, PHIL 423, PHIL 424, PHIL 427, PHIL 434

Ethics, Law and Value Theory: PHIL 330, PHIL 335, PHIL 337, PHIL 340, PHIL 345, PHIL 430, PHIL 437, PHIL 440, PHIL 442

Systematic Philosophy: PHIL 350, PHIL 351, PHIL 352, PHIL 360, PHIL 385, PHIL 427, PHIL 428, PHIL 460, PHIL 462, PHIL 463, PHIL 465, PHIL 470, PHIL 480, PHIL 485, PHIL 486

During the senior year, students enrolled in one of the three majors’ programs in philosophy can take a capstone seminar. Students who are enrolled in one of the minors in philosophy may enroll in a capstone seminar only with the permission of the instructor. Enrollment in these seminars will not exceed 15 students. Students may enroll in a capstone seminar only if they have satisfied the following requirements: taken a course in logic (PHIL 250ab, PHIL 350, PHIL 351, or PHIL 352), taken at least one 400-level course in philosophy and have a GPA in philosophy of 3.0 or above.

Double Major

Double majors are encouraged but a student must work in close consultation with the undergraduate adviser.

Bachelor of Arts with a Combined Major in Linguistics and Philosophy

See Linguistics.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy, Politics and Law

This interdisciplinary major combines, in a systematic and structured way, basic education in philosophy, political theory and elements of law. An interdisciplinary approach to the combination of these three disciplines may be of particular interest to students contemplating post-graduate work in law; those interested in a career in public service or politics; and those attracted by the rigor of philosophy and its attention to foundational issues, who are also interested in politics and law. Students are exposed to a wider range of conceptual and methodological approaches than they would in any single discipline, while learning enough philosophy and political science to leave a choice of options for graduate schools. The major requires nine classes, one of which must be a gateway course — PHIL 300, PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 340 or PHIL 360 — distributed as follows.

REQUIREMENTS Units
One lower-division class from the following:
PHIL 135 Legal Controversies and Ethical Principles 4
PHIL 140 Contemporary Moral and Social Issues 4
PHIL 141 The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life 4
PHIL 262 Mind and Self: Modern Conceptions 4
POSC 130 Law, Politics and Public Policy 4

Students who satisfy one of their general education requirements by taking a core, thematic options course of comparable scope and content, can, at the discretion of the director of the School of Philosophy and the philosophy undergraduate adviser for this major, substitute that course for one of the above.

One course in logic:
PHIL 350 Symbolic Logic 4
PHIL 351 Reasoning and Logic 4
PHIL 352 Logic and Language 4

One course in philosophy of law:
PHIL 430 Philosophy of Law 4
PHIL 431 Law, Society, and Politics 4

Two courses from Categories A, B and C below. The two courses must belong to different categories, and one of these courses must be a gateway course: PHIL 300, PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 340 or PHIL 360. Students are required to take a gateway course before enrolling in any 400-level course in philosophy.

A. Moral and political philosophy
PHIL 335 Theoretical Models of Leadership 4
PHIL 337 History of Modern Political Philosophy 4
PHIL 340 Ethics 4
PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy 4
PHIL 440 Contemporary Ethical Theory 4
PHIL 442 History of Ethics to 1900 4
PHIL 443 Value Theory 4

B. History of philosophy:
PHIL 300 Introduction to the Philosophical Classics 4
PHIL 315 History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period 4
PHIL 317 History of Western Philosophy: Medieval Period 4
PHIL 320 History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period 4
PHIL 423 The Critical Philosophy of Kant 4
PHIL 426 20th Century European Philosophy 4
PHIL 427 20th Century Anglo-American Philosophy 4
PHIL 428 Anglo-American Philosophy since 1950 4

C. Systematic areas of philosophy:
PHIL 360 Epistemology and Metaphysics 4
PHIL 462 Philosophy of Mind 4
PHIL 463 Theories of Action 4
PHIL 465 Philosophy of Language 4
PHIL 470 Theory of Knowledge 4

One course in constitutional politics:
POSC 335 Political Parties, Campaigns, and Elections 4
POSC 340 Constitutional Law 4
POSC 426 The United States Supreme Court 4
POSC 444 Civil and Political Rights and Liberties 4

One course in comparative or international politics and law:
ANTH 345 Politics, Social, Organization and Law 4
POSC 345 International Law 4
POSC 440 Comparative Law and the Judicial Process 4
POSC 448a The Politics of Peace: Human Rights 4

One course in politics, law, and public policy:
POSC 347 Environmental Law 4
POSC 395 Directed Governmental and Political Leadership Internship 4
POSC 443 Law in Film 4
POSC 452 Critical Issues in Law and Public Policy 4
SWMS 349 Women and the Law 4

One course in law:
LAW 300 Concepts in American Law 4

Note: Students in the major may enroll in a capstone seminar in philosophy if they have satisfied the general requirements: a GPA of 3.0 in major course work; a course in logic, and at least one 400-level course in philosophy, taken prior to the capstone seminar.

Philosophy Honors Program

Students who are considering the possibility of continuing their education at a graduate level in philosophy or similar disciplines, or students who wish to undertake a more intensive course of studies in philosophy, which includes original independent research, are strongly encouraged to take the major with honors.

The major with honors requires completion of the requirements for the Bachelor of Arts, with the following additional requirements:

(a) Students must take a capstone seminar, having completed the prerequisites for taking it.

(b) In addition to the required courses for the major, students must take PHIL 494 Senior Thesis during the fall term of their senior year. The senior thesis will be graded by the student’s adviser and another member of the School of Philosophy, following an oral defense. The senior thesis must be completed with a grade of B or higher.

(c) Students must have a GPA of 3.5 or higher in their philosophy courses.

Students who intend to complete the major with honors are encouraged to enroll in the program during their sophomore year (but no later than the end of the first term of their junior year), and should consult about their studies with the faculty adviser for the honors program on a continuous basis.

Minor in Ethics and Moral Philosophy

The aim of the minor is to provide students headed for medicine, biology, psychology and other health care professions with a broad humanistic perspective not found in professional education and the critical tools to deal with the ethical issues that may arise in their professional lives.

Students are required to take five courses in philosophy, at least four of which must be upper-division. Students must take at least one lower-division or 300-level course before taking any 400-level courses.

Students must take at least two courses from category one below, and at least one course from category two:

1. Ethics, History of Ethics and Value Theory: PHIL 140, PHIL 141, PHIL 340, PHIL 361, PHIL 430, PHIL 431, PHIL 440, PHIL 442

2. Systematic Philosophy: PHIL 262, PHIL 360, PHIL 385, PHIL 427, PHIL 428, PHIL 460, PHIL 462, PHIL 465, PHIL 470

Minor in Philosophy

The minor in philosophy requires the completion of five philosophy courses, at least four of which are upper-division courses. All minors must take a gateway course — PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 340, or PHIL 360 — before enrolling in any 400-level course.

Distribution requirement: Students must take at least one course from each of the three categories listed below:

History of Philosophy: PHIL 315, PHIL 320, PHIL 345, PHIL 410, PHIL 411, PHIL 415, PHIL 421, PHIL 422, PHIL 423, PHIL 424, PHIL 427

Ethics, Law and Value Theory: PHIL 330, PHIL 335, PHIL 337, PHIL 340, PHIL 345, PHIL 430, PHIL 437, PHIL 440, PHIL 442

Systematic Topics: PHIL 350, PHIL 351, PHIL 352, PHIL 360, PHIL 385, PHIL 427, PHIL 428, PHIL 460, PHIL 462, PHIL 463, PHIL 465, PHIL 470, PHIL 480, PHIL 485, PHIL 486

Minor in Theories of Art

Theorizing about the arts takes place in the discipline of philosophy (aesthetics) as well as in all the individual disciplines concerned with the individual arts. Some of the issues involved (is perspective a matter of convention?; how does acting differ in cinema and in theatre?) are specific to a particular discipline or disciplines, but their discussion typically involves very general issues (in the cases mentioned, issues about the nature of convention or of artistic media) and many of the issues manifest themselves in all these disciplines (the relation of intention to interpretation; the epistemological and moral status of the arts; the nature of evaluative judgments). The understanding of these issues can be greatly enhanced by studying them as they arise in different arts and in different theoretical traditions. The minor should be of interest to students with an interest in philosophy, or students in any of the arts who are interested in their theoretical dimensions.

There are no entrance requirements for the minor, which requires six courses (23 or 24 units, depending on course selection).

All students must take PHIL 242 Theories of Art (4 units) and select five courses from the following:

AHIS 250 Modernity and Difference: Critical Approaches to Modern Art 4
ARCH 314 Theory and Criticism: Recent Trends and Developments 3
COLT 391 Literary Criticism from Plato to Postmodernism 4
COLT 454 Aesthetic Philosophy and Theory 4
ENGL 479 History of Literary Criticism 4
ENGL 480 Modern Literary Criticism: Theory and Practice 4
PHIL 445 Philosophy of the Arts 4
PHIL 446 Aesthetics and the Film 4
THTR 404 Acting Theory 4

Minor in Critical Approaches to Leadership

See Interdisciplinary Studies.

Minor in Philosophy for Business, Law, and the Professions

The aim of the minor is to provide students headed for business, law or the professions a strong set of critical, analytic and expository skills, while providing them with a broad humanistic perspective not found in professional education.

Students are required to take five courses, at least four of which must be upper-division. They must take one course from each of the following categories (1–4), and one additional course from either category 2 or 3. Students must take at least one lower-division or 300-level course before taking any 400-level courses.

  1. Logic: PHIL 350, PHIL 351, PHIL 352
  2. Law, Leadership, and the Professions: PHIL 141, PHIL 330, PHIL 335, PHIL 430, PHIL 431
  3. Ethics, History of Ethics, and Value: PHIL 140, PHIL 340, PHIL 345, PHIL 361, PHIL 440, PHIL 442
  4. Systematic Philosophy: PHIL 262, PHIL 360, PHIL 385, PHIL 427, PHIL 428, PHIL 460, PHIL 462, PHIL 465, PHIL 470