Philosophy wonders about the world--whether there is one and what sort of place it is--and about persons--what sort of creatures we are, how we relate to each other, and how we ought to live our lives. Philosophical wonder, however, does not simply think about these important matters; it thinks through disciplined and logical standards for clear and critical thought. In this process of critical wonder, we gain self-knowledge, knowledge of others, and, most profoundly, the courage to think for ourselves and to be who we are. The study of philosophy--and the love of wisdom it engenders--is thus an excellent foundation for further study and for careers in many fields, especially in higher education, law, religion, and business. More importantly, the study of philosophy helps us to develop what Socrates called “the examined life,” which for him is the only life worth living.

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Major in Philosophy

Minor in Philosophy - 5 units

PHIL 101BIntroduction to Philosophy1
or PHIL 104Q Introduction to Logic
PHIL 250HHistory of Ancient Philosophy1
or PHIL 260H History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL Electives (two must be at 300 or 400 level)3
Total Units5

Advising Course Plan

A major in philosophy is designed to be maximally flexible. The major has few prerequisites. Students can take most courses any time they are taught, although we strongly recommend that students take PHIL 101B before taking a 300- or 400-level class. The only courses students are required to take in a certain order are PHIL 399 and PHIL 499. Students should take PHIL 399 during the spring semester of their junior year and PHIL 499 the fall semester of their senior year. Students have also taken PHIL 399 and PHIL 499 simultaneously. Exceptions apply, as when the student is studying abroad.

Because of the major’s flexibility and because the major only requires 10 units, a significant number of our students opt to pursue a second major. Students pursuing a law degree have found this option particularly attractive. With careful planning, it is possible to receive a degree in philosophy while only taking one philosophy course most semesters. However, students interested in pursuing a graduate degree in philosophy should acquire more than 10 units within philosophy.

The following is a merely recommended four-year plan. Note that ONLY PHIL 399 (Third Year, Spring Semester) and PHIL 499 (Fourth Year, Fall Semester) need to be taken at a specified time and in a specified order.

First Year
PHIL 101BIntroduction to Philosophy1
 Term Units1
PHIL 104QIntroduction to Logic1
 Term Units1
Second Year
or 260H
History of Ancient Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy
 Term Units1
Philosophy Elective1
or 316V
Bio-Medical Ethics
 Term Units2
Third Year
PHIL 351
or 352
Philosophy Elective1
 Term Units2
PHIL 3991Research in Philosophy (All philosophy majors should take this class during the spring of their junior year (exceptions apply))1
 Term Units1
Fourth Year
PHIL 4992Senior Project (All philosophy majors should take this class during the fall of their senior year (exceptions apply).)1
 Term Units1
PHIL 4003Department Seminar1
 Term Units1
Total Unit: 10

All philosophy majors should take this class during the spring of their junior year.


All philosophy majors should take this class during the fall of their senior year.


Students often take PHIL 400 during their senior year. This class is taken with an individual professor. Get the professor’s approval in spring or your Junior year.

Hall, Melinda
Assistant Professor of Philosophy, 2013
B.A., American University
M.A., Ph.D., Vanderbilt University

Hall, Ronald L.
Professor of Philosophy and Chair (fall 2015), 2000
B.A., Stetson University
M.Div., Duke University
Ph.D., The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Peppers-Bates, Susan M.
Associate Professor of Philosophy, 2001
B.A., Davidson College
M.A., Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Rust, Joshua
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Chair (spring 2016), 2007
B.A., University of California - Berkeley
M.Sc., London School of Economics
M.A., Ph.D., University of California - Riverside

PHIL 101B. Introduction to Philosophy. 1 Unit.

An investigation into the effect of the impact of modern science in shaping our beliefs about the mind, freedom, morality, God and meaning. The effects of the intellectual hegemony of scientific naturalism are explored by way of a comparison between modern and pre-modern cultures and beliefs. The specific issues discussed may include, but are not limited to, the following questions: Can computers think? Are we free or determined? What are the differences and similarities between modern and pre-modern conceptions of the person, of nature, of justice, and normativity? Offered each semester.

PHIL 104Q. Introduction to Logic. 1 Unit.

An introduction to the informal and formal principles, techniques, and skills that are necessary for distinguishing correct from incorrect reasoning. Offered each semester.

PHIL 190. Special Topics in Philosophy. 1 Unit.

PHIL 250H. History of Ancient Philosophy. 1 Unit.

A survey of the philosophy of the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle. PHIL 250H or PHIL 260H offered at least once a year.

PHIL 260H. History of Modern Philosophy. 1 Unit.

A survey of and engagement with the great works of the western philosophical tradition from Descartes and the Rationalists, through Hume and the Empiricists, and ending with Kant. PHIL 250H or PHIL 260H offered at least once a year.

PHIL 270H. Hist of Phil. 19th& 20th Cent.. 1 Unit.

A survey of major philosophical movements over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course may include German idealism, phenomenology, pragmatism, logical positivism, critical theory, existentialism, and ordinary language philosophy.

PHIL 290. Special Topics in Philosophy. 1 Unit.

PHIL 300. Philosophy of Law. 1 Unit.

An examination of philosophical issues involved in understanding the nature of law. Topics of discussion include the problem of how to define the concept law, the differences between positive and natural law, and the relationship between moral and legal obligations. The class will also examine salient differences among the various areas (regulatory, civil, criminal, constitutional, etc.), sources (legislation, decree, common, etc.) and justifications (utilitarian and deontological) of law.

PHIL 305. Philosophy of Mind. 1 Unit.

An examination of the nature of consciousness. Topics may include contemporary theories of behaviorism, functionalism, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science.

PHIL 306. Philosophy of Language. 1 Unit.

An examination of the role of language in shaping, limiting and expressing thought. The connection between philosophy and language and the nature of language itself will be explored through the work of contemporary philosophers.

PHIL 307V. Social and Political Philosophy. 1 Unit.

An examination of contemporary social and political issues in the light of classical and contemporary works of philosophy. Topics may include justice, freedom, property, equality, and democracy.

PHIL 308V. Existentialism. 1 Unit.

An examination of issues concerning the meaning of human existence. Sample topics may include: freedom and responsibility, anxiety and death, authenticity and alienation, the individual and society, emotions and reason, faith and God.

PHIL 309V. Feminist Philosophy. 1 Unit.

An examination of national and global feminist philosophers’ efforts to develop a perspective of their own. Discussions will focus on feminist analyses of the family, pornography, reproductive rights, violence against women, the intersection of gender, race, and class, women’s oppression, the causes of that oppression, and ways of fighting it. The course will include a service learning component.

PHIL 310. Contemporary Continental Philosophy. 1 Unit.

A close reading is given to key figures in contemporary continental philosophy, including, for example, Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan. Its signature philosophical methods such as deconstruction, post-structuralism, and psychoanalysis are discussed. Philosophical influences such as existentialism, neo-Marxism, and phenomenology are considered and contrasts with Anglo-American analytic philosophy are explored.

PHIL 311V. Philosophy of Race. 1 Unit.

This course critically investigates the historical evolution of the concepts of race and racism from the past to the present and considers the role that these concepts have had, and continue to have, in shaping a just society.

PHIL 313V. Philosophy of Religion. 1 Unit.

An examination of some of the major issues in classical and contemporary philosophy of religion, including the nature and significance of religious language, the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, religious experience, miracles, and alternatives to theism.

PHIL 315V. Contemporary Moral Dilemmas. 1 Unit.

This seminar is a course in normative ethical inquiry. As such it focuses on real-life moraldilemmas rather than on philosophical ethical theory. In this respect this course is anapplied ethics course. Arguments on both sides of ethical dilemmas are considered. Suchissues may include but are not limited to the following: abortion, euthanasia, human rights,racism, sexism, and animal rights. Junior Seminar.

PHIL 316V. Bio-Medical Ethics. 1 Unit.

An intensive study of one area within applied ethics. In this course, the role of medicine in human life and medical advances are explored from philosophical perspectives, including phenomenology, deconstruction, feminism, and disability theory. Topics considered include medicine as professional practice and advances in bio-technologies challenging how we view personhood. Students will learn how to critically examine connected conceptual issues, including identity, authenticity, and autonomy. PHIL 316V or PHIL 350V offered at least once a year.

PHIL 317V. Environmental Ethics. 1 Unit.

An intensive study of one area within applied ethics. This course explores a variety of ethical frameworks for understanding human impacts on the environment. Sample topics include animal rights, sustainability, deep ecology, feminist ecology, third world critiques of global capital, consumption, population, and world hunger.

PHIL 350V. Ethics. 1 Unit.

This course approaches ethics from a theoretical, rather than an applied, point of view, and will consider a variety of frameworks of use for considering ethical and moral problems. The major Western traditions of deontology, virtue ethics, utilitarianism, feminist ethics of care, and postmodern ethics will be considered and compared. Eastern traditions, including Confucianism and Buddhism, will also be considered. PHIL 316V or PHIL 350V offered at least once a year.

PHIL 351. Epistemology. 1 Unit.

An examination of human knowledge with attention to recent developments and classical theories. Topics include skepticism, the justification of beliefs, rationality and truth. PHIL 351 or PHIL 352 offered at least once a year.

PHIL 352. Metaphysics. 1 Unit.

An examination of the classic philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality. Topics may include the nature of consciousness, causation, freedom and determinism, the nature of persons, questions of the objectivity and/or subjectivity of reality. PHIL 351 or PHIL 352 offered at least once a year.

PHIL 353A. Aesthetics. 1 Unit.

An examination of the arts and their relation to philosophy. Topics may include theories of art and beauty; language and music; philosophy and the dramatic arts; philosophy and film; philosophy and literature.

PHIL 390. Special Topics in Philosophy. 1 Unit.

Topics studied will vary and may include philosophical movements (such as pragmatism), historical periods (such as Roman and Hellenistic philosophy), and philosophical areas (such as the philosophy of law). Can be repeated up to a total of 2 units.

PHIL 395. Teaching Apprenticeship. 0.5 Units.

Pass/Fail only. A teaching apprenticeship provides an opportunity for a student with an especially strong interest and ability in philosophy to work directly with a philosophy faculty member in the design and implementation of a course. The apprenticeship is arranged by mutual agreement between the faculty member and the student. Such an experience is especially beneficial for students who are considering university teaching as a profession. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. May be repeated once.

PHIL 397. Internship in Philosophy. 0.5 or 1 Units.

Opportunities are offered for real world experience, including editorial experience with a philosophy journal and experience in the practical application of ethics in the workplace. The internship requires approximately 8 hours of work per week or roughly 140 hours per semester in the field and is supervised by a Philosophy faculty member. Students and the supervising faculty member are responsible for making the arrangements for this work-related experience. May be repeated for credit for up to 1 unit.Enrollment in an internship course requires students to attend an orientation prior to beginning work at their internship site. For more information regarding internship orientations, please contact Career & Professional Development at or 386-822-7315.

PHIL 399. Research in Philosophy. 1 Unit.

A writing intensive seminar designed to prepare students for the senior project. Prerequisite: Completion of at least two Philosophy courses. Writing enhanced course. Offered every spring semester; should be taken in the junior year.

PHIL 400. Department Seminar. 1 Unit.

Selected topics in philosophy are discussed in a seminar format. One member of the Department directs the seminar, but other members of the philosophy faculty participate. This course is required for all philosophy majors and may be repeated for credit. Department approval required. May be repeated up to a total of 2 units. Offered every spring semester.

PHIL 453. Advanced Logic. 1 Unit.

A study of second order predicate calculus, mathematical logic, and on occasion, modal logic. Prerequisite: PHIL 104Q.

PHIL 485. Independent Study. 0.5 or 1 Units.

May be repeated up to a total of 2 units.

PHIL 490. Special Topics in Philosophy. 1 Unit.

PHIL 498. Directed Reading - Senior Project. 0.5 Units.

An optional independent reading course designed for majors who are preparing for their Senior Project.

PHIL 499. Senior Project. 1 Unit.

Departmental approval required. Offered every fall semester. Completion of PHIL 399 strogly recommended.