Back to University Catalog 2004-2005

Philosophy                    College of Liberal Arts                                             Department of History and Philosophy

Bachelor of Arts

Philosophy Option

Religious Studies Option




(vacant), Department Chair

Don Lewis, Sara Waller

Nancy Owens, Department Secretary

Department Office:  LCH A-342, (310) 243-3328


Emeriti Faculty

Charles Fay, William Hagan, John LaCorte, Eiichi Shimomisse


Program Description

The Philosophy department offers a major and a minor in Philosophy. The program provides a strong foundation in the history of Western thought and deals with a variety of ongoing philosophical and religious issues, tracing them from their origins in early Greek and other historical sources to current theories and disputes. The department recognizes the importance of cultural diversity and through its course offerings addresses multicultural concerns.



The faculty of the Department of Philosophy bring with them a deep interest in their subject and together provide a wide spectrum of interests and expertise in the areas of both philosophy and religious studies.  All of the faculty hold their doctoral degrees from highly respected universities, and are active in research and writing.

In scheduling classes, the department endeavors to provide sufficient course offerings to permit those students who work during the day or the evening with the opportunity to complete the major.  For full-time students, courses necessary to fulfill the major are offered within a four semester period.


Academic Advisement

Students should consult an advisor as early as possible so that the most suitable combination of courses can be planned in advance.



Students in the Philosophy program are involved in ongoing assessment.  As part of the requirements of core courses, journals are required in addition to other written assignments such as research papers.  The PHI 490 Seminar functions as a capstone experience in which work generated from previous courses in philosophy is reviewed to assist in determining the overall progress of the student in the Philosophy program.



High school students are encouraged to take four years of English and courses in the humanities and sciences.

Transfer students should contact their Advising Center or the CSU Dominguez Hills Philosophy department to identify appropriate lower division major/minor preparatory courses.


Career Possibilities

The study of Philosophy provides students with the mental tools and skills necessary for clear thinking and analysis.  This training provides students with the means of more fully understanding the intricacies of virtually any area chosen as a basis for livelihood. For those students interested in doing graduate work in the field, the major offers a well-rounded preparation for more advanced studies.  The bachelor's degree in Philosophy furthermore provides quality preparation for advances studies in fields such as law and theology.  Students might also consider Philosophy as a "second major," providing a balance for their primary major, be it in the humanities or the sciences.


Graduation With Honors

An undergraduate student may be a candidate for graduation with Honors in Philosophy provided he or she meets the following criteria:

1.   A minimum of 36 units in residence at CSU Dominguez Hills;

2.   A minimum grade point average of 3.5 in all courses used to satisfy the upper division requirements in the major;

3.   Four upper division courses, including PHI 490, taken in the Department of Philosophy;

4.   Recommendation by the faculty of the Department of Philosophy.


Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Total Course Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree

See the "Requirements for the Bachelor's Degree" in the University Catalog for complete details on general degree requirements.  A minimum of 40 units, including those required for the major, must be upper division. 


Elective Requirements

Completion of elective courses (beyond the requirements listed below) to reach a total of a minimum of 120 units.


General Education Requirements (54-60 units)

See the "General Education" requirements in the University Catalog or the Class Schedule for the most current information on General Education requirements and course offerings.

United States History, Constitution and American Ideals Requirement (6 units)

See the "United States History, Constitution, and American Ideals" requirements in the University Catalog.  Courses used to satisfy this requirement do not apply to General Education .


Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement

See the "Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement" in the University Catalog.


Minor Requirements

Student completing this major will need to complete a minor in another field.


Major Requirements (30 units)

The following courses, or their approved transfer equivalents, are required of all candidates for this degree.

A.  Required Courses (15 units)

PHI 300.       Methods and Problems in Philosophy (3)

PHI 301.       Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle (3)

PHI 303.       Descartes to Kant (3)

PHI 304.       Hegel to Nietzsche (3)

PHI 490.       Seminar  (3)

B.  Majors are required to choose five (5) courses in the area of Philosophy or Religious Studies (15)

      1.  Philosophy Option

PHI 305.         20th Century Philosophy (3)

PHI 316.         Ethics (3)

PHI 321.         Aesthetics (3)

PHI 331.         Social and Political Philosophy (3)

PHI 365.         Knowledge and Reality (3)

PHI 370.         Philosophies of Africa and the African Diaspora

PHI 379.         Contemporary Moral Issues (3)

      2.  Religious Studies Option

PHI 306.         Medieval Philosophy:  Christian, Islamic, Jewish (3)

PHI 371.         African World Religions (3)

PHI 378.         Philosophy of Religion (3)

PHI 379.         Contemporary Moral Issues (3)

PHI 383.         Comparative Religions (3)

PHI 384.         Asian Philosophies (3)

PHI 386.         Understanding the Bible (3) [I]

PHI 389.         Zen Philosophy and Meditation (3)

Minor in Philosophy (15 units)

A.  Required Courses

PHI 300.       Methods and Problems in Philosophy (3)


B.  Electives:  Select four additional upper division courses with faculty advisement  (12 units).


Course Offerings

The credit value for each course in semester units is indicated for each term by a number in parentheses following the title.  Departments may indicate the term in which they expect to offer the course by the use of:  “F” (fall), “S” (spring) or “EOY” (every other year).


Lower Division

PHI 101    Values and Society (3) FS.

The role of values as motivations and as goals in our lives. General knowledge of what values are and how they influence us on individual and societal levels.  Students are asked to construct solutions to value problems, for example, problems of justice. Essays as well as exams. 

PHI 102    Humanity, Nature and God (3) FS.

Critical examination of  perennial philosophical issues such as the nature of philosophy, the existence of God, free will, truth.  Both Western and non-Western perspectives are discussed.  Gives student general understanding of his/her societal context. Essays as well as exams. 

PHI 120    Critical Reasoning (3) FS.

Introduction to methods of critical thinking including the nature of arguments, formal and informal fallacies, deductive and inductive arguments.  Provides student with critical skills in both academic and nonacademic context.  A-C/NC grading.

Upper Division

PHI 300    Methods and Problems in Philosophy (3) FS

Prerequisite:  PHI 120.

This methodology course offers an inquiry into historical and contemporary methods in philosophy, studied within the context of major concerns in the discipline.  The aim is to have the student thoroughly acquainted with methods in philosophy and be explicitly aware of research methods and their implications.

PHI 301    Presocratics, Socrates, Plato, Aristotle (3) F.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

A critical study of the foundations of Western civilization as found in ancient Greek thought. 

PHI 303    Descartes to Kant (3) F.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

Western thought as manifest through the evolution of the philosophical systems of Rationalism, Empiricism and Critical Philosophy. 

PHI 304    Hegel to Nietzsche (3) S.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

Nineteenth century European philosophy focusing on thinkers such as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Marx and Nietzsche. 

PHI 305    20th Century Philosophy (3) EOY-S.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

Contemporary American and European philosophy including Pragmatism, Structuralism, Phenomenology, Existentialism, Neo-Marxism and the philosophical implications of Freud’s thought.  Specific topic indicated in class schedule.  Repeatable for credit. 

PHI 306    Medieval Philosophy:  Christian, Islamic and Jewish (3) S

Prerequisite: PHI 300 and PHI 301 are recommended.

Christian, Islamic and Jewish thinkers from the 5th to the 16th centuries, including Augustine, Avicenna, Averroes, Maimonides, Aquinas and Ocham.  A discussion of these early attempts to understand the nature of the universe and the role we play in it.

PHI 316    Ethics (3).

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

A critical inquiry into the groundwork of ethics by exploring such basic questions in ethics as the nature of good, the criteria for right action, the language of moral discourse, ontology and morality, and religion and ethics. 

PHI 321    Aesthetics (3) EOY.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

A critical examination of our beliefs about the nature of beauty in the context of art, music, literature and film.  Topics include artistic creativity, aesthetic experience, criticism and evaluation.  Specific topic indicated in class schedule.  Repeatable course. 

PHI 331    Social and Political Philosophy (3) S. 

Prerequisite: PHI 300 is highly recommended.

Historical and contemporary theories on the scope and legitimacy of political authority:  discussion of various contract theories of the state and of the relationships  between rights of individuals and rights of states.  Repeatable course. 

PHI 350    Theories of Cognition (3) F. 

Prerequisite: PHI 120 or equivalent.  PHI 300 is highly recommended.

This course will approach the question of mind from disciplines in humanities, sciences, and social sciences.  Several standpoints such as:  classical philosophy, cognitive science, neurology, computer science and artificial intelligence,  cognitive ethology, and evolutional linguistics will be discussed.

PHI 365    Knowledge and Reality (3) F.

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

An historical analysis of the relationship between knowledge and the nature of “reality” with special emphasis on contemporary Anglo-American thinkers such as Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, Moore, Carnap, Quine and Austin. 

PHI 370    Philosophies of Africa and the African Diaspora (3). 

Prerequisite: PHI 300 is highly recommended.

A critical study of African and afrocentric philosophies, including Bantu, Akan, and Yoruba traditions.  African American philosophers such as Alain Locke and other third world African peoples are also covered in depth.  Topics include personhood, time, causality, value theory, black aesthetics, and black feminist epistemologies. 

PHI 371    African World Religions (3) F

Prerequisite: PHI 300 is recommended

A critical study of traditional religious experience and expression among peoples of the African continent including the Akan, Yoruba and Ibo as well as manifestations of Christianity and Islam as expressed both in Africa and in the Americas.

PHI 378    Philosophy of Religion (3).

Prerequisite: PHI 300.

A critical, comprehensive study of the nature and value of religion.  Includes such issues as the relationship between Religion, Philosophy, Theology, and Science; the existence of a deity, revelation(s), faith, the problem of evil, scriptural myths, and religious experience and language.  

PHI 379    Contemporary Moral Issues (3). 

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

Philosophical inquiry into basic moral problems relevant today such as morality versus non-morality, human responsibility, individual versus societal values, morality versus legality, ethnic identity versus social conformity, abortion versus right to life, and the euthanasia decision. 

PHI 383    Comparative Religions (3) S.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

A study of the relationship of the various religious perspectives of the world, their rituals, their influence on society and their philosophical implications. 

PHI 384    Asian Philosophy (3) S.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

The evolution and meaning of various non- Western traditions will be discussed.  Selected topics will include Hinduism, Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism.  Emphasis on significance in India, China and Japan.  Repeatable course. 

PHI 389    Zen:  Philosophy and Meditation (3) F.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

Through studying philosophy and praxis of Zen Meditation, students will learn this typical Eastern approach to philosophy and its profound implications to Eastern cultures.

PHI 490    Seminar (3) S. 

Prerequisite:  PHI 300.

A critical analysis and interpretation of a major philosophical or religious system or issue in respect to its presuppositions, task, method, problems and solutions.  Repeatable course.  Course is writing intensive.  Three hours of seminar per week.

PHI 494    Independent Study (1-3) FS.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

Study of a particular philosophical or religious problem, individually or as a team or group, under the direction of a faculty member.  Only three units may be used for Philosophy major and minor requirements.

PHI 495    Special Topics (3) S.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

An intensive study of a concept, movement or individual in Philosophy.  Intended for students with senior standing and having fulfilled major requirements.  Specific topic listed in class schedule.  Repeatable course.  Three hours of seminar per week.


Graduate standing or consent of the department chair is prerequisite to enrollment in graduate (500 level) courses.

PHI 595    Special Topics (3) S.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

An intensive study of a concept, movement or individual in Philosophy.  Intended for students with senior or graduate standing.  Specific topic listed in class schedule. Repeatable course.  Three hours of seminar per week.


Infrequently Offered Courses

The following courses are scheduled only on a "demand" basis.  Students should consult the department office for information about the next scheduled offering.

PHI 220    Modern Formal Logic (3) EOY. 

Prerequisite:  PHI 120 recommended. 

A continuation of PHI 120 for students interested in further study of such logical concepts as Justification and Validity, and introduces Truth-functional Operations and Elementary Quantification Theory. 

PHI 250    Introduction to Philosophy (3) F.

A critical analysis of  the history and nature of the perennial problems in philosophy from both Western and non-Western perspectives. Intended for students preparing for advanced studies in philosophy. 

PHI 386    Understanding the Bible (3) S.

Prerequisite:  PHI 300 is highly recommended. 

The Bible in light of modern scholarship; principles and methods of its interpretation.  Emphasis is given to the Pentateuch, the Gospels, and other key portions for their philosophical and theological views.