- Department Information
- Program Description
- Career Opportunities
- Major Requirements (B.A.)
- Other Degree Requirements
- Minor Requirements
- Undergraduate Courses
Department of Philosophy
College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences
Office: Meiklejohn Hall 4006
Phone: (510) 885-3225, FAX: (510) 885-2123
Marek W. Bielecki, Ph.D. University of Warsaw (Poland)
Jennifer L. Eagan (Chair), Ph.D. Duquesne University
Barbara Hall, Ph.D. University of Arizona, J.D. DePaul University Law School
Christopher Moreman, Ph.D. University of Wales, Lampeter
The Department of Philosophy at Cal State East Bay seeks to promote the exploration of enduring human concerns--concerns, for example, about the nature of knowledge, ethics, truth, and God. In addition to emphasizing classical philosophy, the department encourages students to think critically about contemporary debates, particularly in the areas of law, human rights, and social justice; science, technology, and values; and religion. The department's faculty strive to instill in students lifelong habits of questioning, of exploring views contrary to their own, and of engaging in reasoned and honest dialogue. By their focus on analysis, comprehension and communication, they aim to develop qualities that are essential to personal fulfillment, civic responsibility, and career success.
Many different kinds of students choose the major in philosophy. Some intend to do graduate work in philosophy, often with the intention of becoming philosophy professors who research and teach in philosophy. Others take philosophy as a preparation for another professional area. Traditionally, for example, philosophy has been one of the chief roads to professional law schools. On the other hand, the aim of many religious studies students is to prepare for entrance into theological seminary. Philosophy also serves as a good general liberal arts education, since many of the long-established university disciplines are founded on philosophical principles: political science, sociology, education, aesthetics, physics, and other subjects. Finally, many students major in philosophy in order to prepare for careers that require clarity of thought, analytical ability, good writing skills, and the ability to present a reasoned argument.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students graduating with a B.A. in Philosophy from Cal State East Bay will:
- be able to write clear, academically rigorous, argumentative essays.
- be able to read complex texts, create original arguments, analyze the arguments of others, and express these criticisms orally and in writing.
- demonstrate knowledge of philosophical and/or religious traditions, their relevant concepts, theories, methods, and historical contexts.
- develop their capacities for ethical decision making, Socratic humility, openness to the ideas of others, reflective self-awareness, and a life-long curiosity about big questions.
- cultivate an appreciation for a diversity of ideas and values across time and for human difference in areas such as: religion, culture, ethnicity, race, class, sexuality, and gender.
- Business Executive
- Foreign Service Officer
- Policy Analyst
- Primary/Secondary School Teacher
- Public Administrator
The Philosophy major consists of 60 units of Philosophy courses of which at least 56 units must be upper division. Philosophy majors should consult with a Philosophy department advisor or the chairperson for advice in selecting Philosophy courses that suit their individual educational and career goals. The Philosophy major consists of 60 units; the B.A. degree requires a total of 180 units.
In addition to major requirements, every student must also complete the University requirements for graduation which are described in the Baccalaureate Degree Requirements chapter in the front of this catalog. These include the General Education-Breadth requirements; the second composition (ENGL 1002) requirement; the cultural groups/women requirement; the performing arts/activities requirement; the U.S. history, U.S. Constitution, and California state and local government requirement; the University Writing Skills Requirement; and the residence, unit, and grade point average requirements.
The Philosophy minor consists of 28 units of Philosophy courses of which at least 24 units must be upper division. The purpose of the Minor in Philosophy is to provide a general background in Philosophy. Philosophy minors can choose any set of upper division Philosophy classes, which can include courses in the areas of religious studies, law, human rights, social justice, philosophy of science, ethics, and the history of philosophy. Philosophy courses focus on writing and critical reasoning skills; therefore the Philosophy Minor fits well with any major. Prospective Philosophy minors should consult with a Philosophy department advisor or the chairperson to select courses.
|Course Number||Course Information|
|1000||Workshop in Clear Thinking (4)
Development of clarity and focus in thinking, with attention to rigor, modes of explanation, validity of reasoning, etc.
|1001||Introduction to Logic (4)
Beginning study of the forms of valid inference, including informal fallacies, syllogistic logic and symbolic logic.
|Course Number||Course Information|
|1005||Viewing Diversity (4)
Introduction to the philosophical treatment of diversity and race. Topics may include the social contract, the social construction of race, reparations, the effects of racial classification, social inequality, the relationship of contemporary social and political issues to race.
|1102||Issues in Environmental Ethics (4)
Critical examination of ethical issues in environmental philosophy. Topics may include: the impact of human activity on environmental systems, climate change, loss of biodiversity, sustainable practices, and intergenerational justice. Not open to students with credit for PHIL 1103 or 1104.
|1103||Science, Ethics, and Technology (4)
The ethical implications of various technologies, such as biotechnology, medical technologies, environmental technologies, and informational technologies. Not open to students with credit for PHIL 1102 or 1104.
|1104||The Philosophy of Environmental Science and Policy (4)
Study of issues related to the morality and justification of environmental science as a source of knowledge and guide to human action. Topics include: scientific disagreement, whose interests should concern us, and what should influence our evaluation of government policies. Not open to students with credit for PHIL 1102 or 1103.
|1201||Introduction to Ancient Philosophy (4)
Introduction to ancient philosophy and the origin of Western philosophy through primary texts. Topics may include the good life, mythology, the natural world, justice, knowledge, and reality.
|1302||Philosophy of Self and Society (4)
Overview of Western social and political philosophy including feminist critiques and multicultural perspectives. Discussion of human nature, the good life, political economy, rights, justice, power, and oppression. Schools of thought include classical liberalism, libertarianism, socialism, communitarianism, and pragmatism.
|1303||Introduction to the Philosophy of Art (4)
Introduction to aesthetics through artistic forms such as music, visual art, and literature. Topics may include expression, representation, and creativity, as well as questions exploring what constitutes a work of art and the role of the artist.
|1401||Religions of the World (4)
Comparative study of religions from around the world, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
|1605||Introduction to Asian Thought (4)
The thought of China, India, and Japan, past and present, as expressed in philosophical texts. Not open to students with credit for PHIL 2605.
|2001||Introduction to Philosophy (4)
Major themes, thinkers and methods in philosophy. Topics include the history of philosophy, the nature of philosophical questioning, God, reality, truth and the self.
|2002||Introduction to Ethics (4)
Introduction to philosophical ethics. Topics include major ethical theories, virtue, vice, evil, character, moral education and relativism. Impact of cultural diversity on ethical discourse.
|2003||Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (4)
Covers the three Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Students will learn about each tradition's historical development and the specific beliefs of each, in addition to the relationships between these faiths and the sources of conflict.
|2040||Early Modern World Philosophies (4)
Evolution of religious and philosophical traditions of early modern Europe, Middle East, and Asia. Impact of Islam on Judeo-Christian thought; philosophical debates regarding conquest and colonization of the Americas; changing perspectives on race and gender; the Enlightenment in global perspective.
|2605||Asian Thought (4)
Buddhist thought of India, Southeast Asia, and Japan as expressed in its philosophical texts, visual art and music, and literature; demonstration of the interconnections among these disciplines. Not open to students with credit for PHIL 1605.
|Course Number||Course Information|
|3002||Modern Logic (4)
Advanced course in symbolic logic. Students without a mathematical background are encouraged to first take PHIL 1001.
|3010||Critical Legal Reasoning (4)
Development of ability to think clearly and rationally with focus on legal reasoning. Argument by analogy, use of precedent, interpretation of court opinions, and LSAT preparation.
|Course Number||Course Information|
Major theories about ethics or morality and their relation to different social systems, institutions and cultures of the world.
|3151||Environmental Ethics (4)
Philosophical conceptions of nature and the environment, and human responsibilities towards it, drawn from different historical and cultural traditions.
|3152||Biomedical Ethics (4)
Ethical issues in biology and medicine, such as euthanasia, abortion, truth-telling, genetic engineering, cloning, distribution of medical resources.
|3153||Biology and Ethics (4)
Conceptual and ethical issues arising from new developments in biology. Topics may include cloning, genetic engineering, biodiversity, the evolution/creation debate.
|3161||Philosophy and Sex (4)
A philosophical examination of conceptual and ethical issues raised by sexuality and sexual love. Possible topics include love and sexuality, promiscuity, prostitution, adultery, homosexuality, sexual harassment, pornography, and same-sex marriage.
Theories of art, such as imitation, formalism and expressionism; the contrast between representational and abstract art.
|3216||Philosophy and Science Fiction (4)
Philosophical views about topics contained implicitly in science fiction writing and film.
|3230||Art and Philosophy of the East (4)
An interdisciplinary investigation of the relationship between art and philosophy of Asia, with particular emphasis on Hinduism and Buddhism. Team taught by faculty from the Art and Philosophy departments. Cross-listed with ART 3230.
|3301||Theory of Knowledge (4)
An exploration of such issues as skepticism, relativism, truth, and the nature of understanding. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3305||Fundamental Questions: Self, Nature, and God (4)
Topics such as the mind-body problem, freedom versus determinism, and the nature of truth, faith, and reason.
An exploration of the nature of matter, mind, space, time, truth, and the real. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3321||Philosophy of the Human Sciences (4)
Philosophical study of theories, methods and problems in the social and behavioral sciences. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3322||Philosophy of Language (4)
An exploration of fundamental issues concerning language and discourse, such as truth, communication, meaning, representation, understanding, metaphor, and irony.
|3332||Philosophy of Science (4)
The nature of scientific explanation, scientific methods, and conceptual revolutions in science.
|3335||Science, Technology and Values (4)
Nature of scientific reasoning and its relation to technology. Historical development of modern technology. Examples of technological systems: communications, data processing, materials, energy generation. Impact on the environment and on human society. Relation to moral reasoning. Cross-listed with SCI 3335.
|3341||Philosophy of Cognition and Artificial Intelligence (4)
Philosophical study of the nature of cognition and of human and machine intelligence. Explores such questions as: "What is thinking?" "What is intelligence?" "Can computers understand ordinary language?" Recent trends and prospects of the quest for truly intelligent machines.
|3400||Philosophy of Religion (4)
Philosophical issues such as the existence of God, the problem of evil, the paradox of free will, the nature of religious experience and mysticism. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3401||Contemporary Religious Thinkers (4)
The religious philosophies of one or more major thinkers of the Twentieth Century from different cultures or religious traditions of the world. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3403||Philosophies of the East (4)
Eastern thought as expressed in its great religious philosophies such as Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism and Buddhism.
Survey of mysticism in religions including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Taoism. Readings may include works from William James, Rudolph Otto, Carl Jung, Stephen Katz, and Walter Stace, and mystical texts from world religions.
|3410||Comparative Themes in Eastern and Western Philosophy (4)
Critical and comparative study of themes from Western philosophy and from Indian, Chinese and other Eastern philosophies. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
Study of Judaism, its beliefs and practices; Jewish identity through its history and evolution; including readings from the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, Kabbalah, and other core Jewish texts.
Study of Islam, its beliefs and practices; history and evolution, including readings from the Quran, the Hadith, and other core Islamic texts.
Philosophical examination of atheism, focusing on the reasons, if any, for being an atheist. Topics may include agnosticism, faith, morality, meaning of life, science and religion, nature of spirituality.
|3430||The Bible in Film (4)
Introduction to biblical themes and how these themes are variously interpreted within both Judaism and Christianity, and in popular culture and film. Students will watch films depicting biblical stories, discussing the ways they relate to actual biblical accounts.
|3431||Cults, New Religious Movements (4)
Introduction to many new religions including Scientology, Wicca, and the Peoples' Temple. Students will learn their origins and how they grow and perpetuate their beliefs. Definitions of "cults" and characteristics of members and leaders are also covered.
|3432||Religion, Monsters, and Horror (4)
Examination of monsters as they appear in the world's religions. Discussion of the nature of evil, the fear of death, and the experience of the uncanny. References include religious scriptures, folklore, and popular culture.
|3433||Views of the Afterlife (4)
Overview of the beliefs in life after death found in the world's religions. Examination of the experiences of those who feel they have had a brush with the dead or with death itself.
|3502||Social and Political Philosophy (4)
Intensive study of the philosophical theories underlying or justifying public policy issues, such as individual freedom and government protection of the rights of others; freedom of speech and religious, racial or sexual prejudice; affirmative action and reverse discrimination; and violence, personal responsibility and the roots of social injustice.
|3503||Philosophy of Law (4)
Introduction to the main schools of jurisprudence and legal philosophy. Cross-listed with POSC 3503.
|3510||Human Rights and Social Justice: Cultural Groups and Women in the U.S. (4)
Philosophical perspectives on human rights and social justice as they apply to the lived experiences of cultural groups and women in the U.S.
|3511||Philosophy of Human Rights and Global Justice (4)
Explores human rights theory and its global application from a philosophical perspective. Considers whether the following concepts can be applied globally: the nature of rights, individualism, liberalism, the social contract, cosmopolitanism, postmodernity, multiculturalism, materialism, and the nature of power.
|3515||Race and Social Justice (4)
A philosophical examination of race, racism, racial identity and experience, through the narratives of U.S. cultural groups. Possible topics include race as an epistemological and ethical category, racism, racial identity formation, and how to secure social justice.
Survey of traditional and contemporary philosophical debates on the nature, origin, and existence of evil. Topics may include cruelty, genocide, torture, war, slavery.
|3560||Business and Professional Ethics (4)
Team-taught by a philosopher and a social scientist. Explores current ethical issues in business and other professions: preferential hiring vs. equal opportunity, environmental regulation vs. property rights, truthfulness in business communications, economic efficiency vs. social responsibility. Cross-listed with MGMT 3560.
|3601||Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (4)
Western philosophy from the ancient Greeks (including Socrates, Plato and Aristotle) through the philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages (including St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas).
|3602||Modern Philosophy (4)
Seventeenth and eighteenth century Western philosophy, especially rationalism (Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz) and empiricism (Locke, Berkeley, Hume).
|3603||Thinkers of the Enlightenment (4)
Themes stemming from the Enlightenment such as autonomy, critique, and idealism in philosophers from Kant to Hegel.
|3604||Roots of Contemporary Philosophy (4)
Study of one or more twentieth century philosophical traditions, such as logical positivism, analytic philosophy (including Wittgenstein), pragmatism, existentialism, phenomenology, process philosophy, the Frankfurt School. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3605||Studies in Contemporary Philosophy (4)
Various figures or topics in contemporary philosophy. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|3701||Philosophy of Education (4)
Philosophical examination of educational theories and of their applications in various cultural and social contexts.
|3720||Feminist Philosophy (4)
Major themes, theories, and different schools of feminist philosophy; the influences of Marxism, psychoanalysis, existential phenomenology, postmodernism, and theories of difference, with special reference to American feminist thought.
|3721||African-American Philosophical Perspectives (4)
A philosophical examination of social, cultural, and political issues relating to African-Americans primarily from the perspective of African-American philosophers. Topics, both historical and contemporary, may include alienation, self-respect, and black feminist thought. Cross-listed with ES 3721.
|3925||Contemporary Ethical Issues (4)
An examination of ethics as applied to issues of current concern. May include discussion of abortion, affirmative action, animal rights, euthanasia, torture, and the death penalty.
|3999||Issues in Philosophy (4)
Readings, discussion, and research on contemporary and/or significant issues in philosophy. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|4606||Seminar in Philosophy (4)
Intensive study of an individual philosopher, school, movement or problem in philosophy. May be repeated once for credit when content varies, for a maximum of 8 units.
|4900||Independent Study (1-4)
May be repeated for credit with consent of instructor, for a maximum of 12 units.