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College of Humanities & Fine Arts

BA in Philosophy

Overview

The discipline of philosophy provides you not only with an historical understanding of human culture, but also with training in the art of thinking. Philosophy leads students to develop the ability to comprehend, analyze, and reason about abstract ideas, and this ability carries over to everyday life and future careers. Philosophy majors do very well in admission to law and medical schools. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the study of philosophy can have a considerable impact on the student's personal life. Socrates stated that a sense of wonder marks the philosopher, and becoming a philosophy major may help students develop just such a sense in their own lives. There are two options in the philosophy major:a general option, and a pre- graduate school option, designed for students who pursue graduate studies. There is also a Philosophy and Law Advisory Pattern designed for students majoring in philosophy who wish to attend law school after the baccalaureate and a Certificate in Critical Thinking.

Mission

The Department of Philosophy at California State University, Chico serves these purposes:

  1. Production, contributions to, and dissemination of original and applied scholarship in philosophy and the teaching of philosophy
  2. Service to the governance and cultural life of the department, college, and university as well as service to the communities of Northern California
  3. Delivery of high-quality learning environments for students completing General Education, to include issues in ethics, civic engagement, art, culture, and environmental literacy that are broadly relevant to life and career
  4. Preparation of students following the concentration in philosophy to acquire philosophical skills and to become accomplished in those traits of philosophical thought that will serve well in future careers and endeavors in the further study of philosophy or related disciplines at the graduate level, the study and practice of law, and careers in the corporate world, public education and public service.  These skills and traits include:
    • Comprehension of the concepts and theories of major philosophers from the history of philosophy as well as those important to developments in contemporary philosophy;
    • Practice in the interpretation of philosophical texts, composition of philosophy, and methods of philosophical research;
    • Facility in logic, the analysis and construction of reasoned argument, and the employment of philosophical terminology.

Goals & Objectives

Preparation of students following the concentration in philosophy to acquire philosophical skills and to become accomplished in those traits of philosophical thought that will serve well in future careers and endeavors in the further study of philosophy or related disciplines at the graduate level, the study and practice of law, and careers in the corporate world, public education and public service.  These skills and traits include:

  • Encouragement of philosophy students to combine their formal studies in philosophy with an additional major or minor in another field
  • Encouragement of philosophy students to acquire facility in a second language to the intermediate level or higher
  • Encouragement of philosophy students to become involved with CAVE, CLIC, Associated Student government or other co-curricular organization
  • Encouragement of philosophy students to gain initiation into the student honor society, Phi Sigma Tau
  • Encouragement of philosophy students to study abroad
  • Encouragement of philosophy students to begin planning their goals and accomplishments soon after declaring the major in philosophy

Learning Outcomes

  1. Be able to explain theories and arguments of major philosophers, and do so in major areas of philosophy, e.g., logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and social and political philosophy
  2. Be aware of developments in contemporary philosophy
  3. Be able to abstract, analyze, and construct logical arguments and to recognize fallacies, using formal and informal methods of reasoning, including conceptual analysis
  4. Be able to interpret philosophical texts from a variety of traditions with sensitivity to context
  5. Be able to use specialized philosophical terminology
  6. Be able to employ standard methods of philosophical research, including awareness of print and electronic resources
  7. Be able to compose an essay in philosophy that demonstrates clear thought, depth of understanding, ability to apply philosophical methods, and mastery of relevant writing skills.