Philosophy Courses

PHIL 1: Introduction to Philosophy (3 units)

This course is an introduction to philosophical problems and the various approaches to their solutions. The student will be exposed to selected systems of Western philosophy with emphasis on how these systems are relevant to solving the problems of contemporary existence. The course will explore answers to such questions as: What is reality? What, if anything, makes an act right or wrong? Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 2: Introduction to Logic (3 units)

This course is an introduction to the problems and techniques of traditional and modern logic comprising both deductive and inductive inference. The student will learn how to distinguish arguments from non-arguments, to identify and avoid common fallacies in reasoning, to test for validity both truth functional arguments and categorical syllogisms, to construct simple formal proofs of validity in truth-functional logic, and to understand the nature of inductive reasoning and its relationship to the sciences. This course fulfills the California State University requirement for Critical Thinking. Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 3: Introduction to Ethics (3 units)

This course critically analyzes questions of value (what’s good and bad) and obligation (what’s right and wrong). It explores the ethical systems of Plato, Aristotle, Christianity, Kant, the utilitarians, and the intuitionists. These ethical systems are applied to contemporary ethical problems and social issues, such as abortion, capital punishment, feminism, euthanasia, animal rights, and racism. Much of the course is devoted to critical thinking and writing skills. The course requires the student to write a sequence of ethical “position papers”, which are evaluated for both qualities of analysis and English composition skills. This course satisfies the IGETC requirement for Critical Thinking/English composition.

PHIL 4: Patterns in Comparative Religions (3 units)

This course is an introduction to the critical, comparative study of religion. The student will be introduced to the responses offered by the major Western and non-Western religions to perennial problems of human life. Major topics include: characterization of the religious vs the secular point of view; arguments in favor of the religious stance; arguments in opposition to the religious stance; the relationship of religion to science, ethics, and philosophy; the nature and validity of religious knowledge; the beliefs of major world religions and how these beliefs are expressed; how different religious beliefs affect the culture and history of European, Arabic, and Asian peoples. Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 5: Introduction to Social and Political Philosophy (3 units)

This course is designed to introduce the student to the major theories in political and social philosophy and their practical application to relevant issues. How for instance, do we adjudicate the rights of the individual against the rights of the state and its authority? What constitutes the just state? And what effects do certain political ideologies (liberalism, Fascism and Communism) have on social relations? This course will trace the history of these ideas from Plato to what is currently being called the Postmodern condition. Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 12: Introduction to Environmental Ethics (3 units)

This course is a philosophical survey of the moral issues that arise as a result of human interaction with, and exploitation of, nature. The views of traditional and contemporary Western and Eastern philosophers will be examined. The student will be invited to explore such questions as: What is the relationship of human beings to the rest of nature? What does it mean to live in harmony with nature? Are humans more valuable than animals? Do animals have rights? If so, to what extent? What, if anything, is the value of wilderness and wild animals? To what extent are we morally bound to use technology in an ecologically responsible manner? The answers to such questions will be related to specific contemporary issues such as abortion, contraception, genetic engineering, famine, animal experimentation, hunting and trapping, nuclear technology, and pollution. Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 17: Logic and Critical Reasoning (3 units)

This course is an introduction to critical thinking and critical writing. The students will have the opportunity to learn techniques of practical reasoning and argumentation, with emphasis on application of these techniques in the writing of a sequence of argumentative essays. Topics include: critical reading, argument analysis, recognizing propaganda and stereotypes, clarifying ambiguity, meaning and definition, evaluating evidence, logical correctness vs factual correctness, and common mistakes in reasoning (formal and informal fallacies). The class emphasizes critical writing strategies. Sample arguments from philosophy and from culturally diverse sources in other disciplines are analyzed. This course fulfills the IGETC Critical Thinking/English Composition requirement.

PHIL 21: World Philosophers on Death (3 units)

This course explores major philosophical questions about death and the meaning of life from an American multi-cultural perspective. The effects of class, gender, and ethnicity on conceptions of death and death rituals will be analyzed. The following issues will also be explored: the possibility of disembodied existence, the nature of consciousness, the nature and significance of individuality and personal identity, concepts of reincarnation or transmigration of souls as these appear in American religious traditions, the nature and significance of so-called “paranormal” experiences, and the meaning of salvation or liberation or transcendence in American religious traditions (concepts of heaven, nirvana, moksha, satori, etc.). Required readings will be taken from classic texts of Western and non-Western philosophy and religion, as well as contemporary American feminist philosophy, and African, aborigine, and native American sources. This course satisfies the 3-unit Cultural Diversity requirement for an Associate degree. Pass/No Pass Option

PHIL 22: Philosophy of Religion (3 units)

What is the relation between faith and reason? Does God exist, and if so, what (if anything) can be said about God? Can we reconcile the goodness of God with human and animal suffering? What human experiences (if any) are religious experiences? Religions provide answer to these and many other fundamental questions. In PHIL 022, we conduct a systematic inquiry into the philosophical foundations of the religious viewpoint. Pass/No Pass Option

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