Philosophy Major

33-35 units

Mission

The Department of Philosophy equips and mentors students to become intellectual leaders in important debates about compelling philosophical issues that shape contemporary culture.

Goals

The philosophy major program achieves this mission by developing a community of scholars who are:

  • Intellectually Skilled: Excellent in critical reading, analytic reasoning, and persuasive argumentative writing.
  • Historically Informed: Cognizant of the classical philosophical theories and principles that have shaped contemporary debates about God, human nature, and the Good Life.
  • Pragmatically Oriented: Able to use this combination of intellectual skills and theoretical knowledge to influence contemporary cultural practices concerning religion, science, ethics, civil service, public policy, and the arts.

Distinctive Features

APU’s philosophy major embodies four distinctive characteristics of the university’s Wesleyan Christian heritage:

  • Classical Christian Orientation: We draw upon the greatest aspects of the classical Christian philosophical traditions—Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Protestant.
  • Sanctity of Mind: We believe that all people are called to love God with their minds by cultivating intellectual virtues so they can better understand God, human nature, and all of God’s Creation.
  • Sanctity of Heart: We believe that all people are called to love God with their hearts by cultivating moral virtues so they can be better lovers of God and of their neighbors and better stewards of God’s Creation.
  • Community-Oriented Service: We believe that all people are called to manifest their love of God and neighbor by putting these intellectual and moral virtues into practice, serving their ecclesial and civil communities.

Career Opportunities

The major in philosophy prepares students for excellence in a variety of careers, such as:

  • Professor
  • Lawyer
  • Bioethicist
  • Public Policy Analyst
  • Corporate Compliance Manager
  • Pastor/Theologian
  • K-12 Teacher

Requirements

The philosophy major is completed by taking PHIL 220 or HUM 224 and at least 30 units of upper-division work in philosophy from the list below. Each course is 3 units. Courses below cannot be counted for any other major in the Division of Religion and Philosophy. A minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA is required in all major courses.

Required Courses
PHIL 220Introduction to Philosophy 1, 23
PHIL 310Formal Logic3
PHIL 315History of Ancient Philosophy 23
PHIL 320History of Early Modern Philosophy 23
PHIL 330Ethics3
PHIL 340Concepts of Human Nature 1, 33
Select one of the following:3
Epistemology
Metaphysics
Electives
Select 12-14 units consisting of any upper-division PHIL courses not being used to satisfy the Required Courses above. At least 6 of these units must be at the 400 level. 412-14
Total Units33-35
1

Meets the General Education Philosophy requirement.

2

HUM 224 may be taken in exchange for PHIL 220. HUM 224 is 3 units on the Azusa campus, 4 units on the High Sierra campus. HUM 324 may be taken in exchange for PHIL 315 or PHIL 320.

3

Meets the General Education Writing 3 requirement.

4

PHIL 301 and PHIL 303 do not count for this elective requirement.

PHIL 210, Introduction to Critical Thinking, 3 Units

Students study principles of deductive and non-deductive logic. Principles are used to evaluate arguments in a variety of contexts, including the popular media and the professional practices of philosophy, theology, science or law. Students are also expected to assess and improve the logical rigor and clarity of their own reasoning.

PHIL 220, Introduction to Philosophy, 3 Units

This course helps students understand the world better by studying significant interpretations of self, the world, and God- the major concerns of philosophy that have been offered by thinkers, past and present. Meets the General Education Requirement: Philosophy. 

PHIL 220H, Introduction to Philosophy - Honors, 3 Units

This course helps students understand the world better by studying significant interpretations of self, the world, and God that have been offered by thinkers, past and present - the major concerns of philosophy. Meets the General Education Requirement: Philosophy. 

Prerequisite: To enroll in the course, must be a student admitted to the Honors Program and be considered a member in "active" status.

PHIL 225, Critical Thinking and Informal Logic, 3 Units

Students study the principles of logic with some attention to semantics and the philosophy of language. They are encouraged to use logic as an aid in evaluating arguments offered in books and periodicals and to test the validity and clarity of their own reasoning.

PHIL 301, Practical Ethics, 3 Units

In this course, students both (1) learn the fundamental theories and principles that influence contemporary ethical discourse, and (2) develop the ability to apply these theories and principles to contemporary moral problems. Meets the General Education Requirement: Civic Knowledge and Engagement. 

PHIL 303, Systems of Apologetics, 3 Units

The purpose of this course is to equip students with tools for understanding and communicating the rich intellectual foundations of a Judeo-Christian worldview. The course is divided into three sections. In section I, we consider various approaches to apologetics and discuss strengths and weaknesses of those approaches. This section also includes a survey of the epistemology of religious belief more broadly. In section II, we apply various apologetic approaches with an aim to showcase the rich intellectual foundation for (a) the existence of a perfect Being and (b) the revelation of God through Christ. Finally, in section III, we survey common atheological arguments, ranging from the problem of evil to the problem of hell. In all these sections, students will learn how to (i) package ideas in clear, organized form, (ii) effectively relate their ideas to their audience, and (iii) think critically and analytically about enduring, big questions relevant to all human beings.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 OR HUM224 OR PHIL 225

PHIL 310, Formal Logic, 3 Units

This course defines logic as the skill of assessing arguments. The course assists students to recognize arguments in both academic and nonacademic forms, increasing confidence in their ability to form a structure of techniques and values to be used as a basis for critiquing others' arguments and creating their own.

PHIL 315, History of Ancient Philosophy, 3 Units

Students explore the development of philosophy from its early beginnings in Greece to the early thought of Augustine. Special attention is given to the Socratic, Platonic, and Aristotelian contributions to the field.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 316, Medieval Philosophy, 3 Units

This course helps students understand the importance of the medieval era and its contributions to the historical development of philosophy. Thinkers considered in this class include the late Augustine, Averroes, Avicenna, Maimonides, Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, Duns Scotus, and Ockham. Topics considered include the relationship of theology to philosophy, the divine attributes, ontology, and ethics.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 320, History of Early Modern Philosophy, 3 Units

This course covers the development of philosophy from the Renaissance through the 18th century.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 325, History of 19th and 20th Century Philosophy, 3 Units

This course offers a study of the significant philosophical movements and figures from late modernity to the turn of the 21st century.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 330, Ethics, 3 Units

The basic principles of ethical conduct are examined as applied to personal and social problems. The chief theories of the "good life" are investigated, with special attention given to the principles underlying a consistent ethical outlook on life. Meets the General Education Requirement: Civic Knowledge and Engagement. 

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 340, Concepts of Human Nature, 3 Units

This course explores the significant questions concerning human nature. Special emphasis is placed on philosophical, psychological, and sociological theories of the uniqueness of human activity. Meets the General Education Requirement: Writing 3: Writing in the Disciplines. 

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 360, Social and Political Debates, 3 Units

The aim of this course is to prepare students to use ethical principles to argue for justice in the formation of public policies. With this end in mind, students both (1) examine the fundamental principles of social and political philosophy and (2) deliberate about how to employ these principles in contemporary social and political debates. Finally, they put their deliberations into practice by competing in the California Regional Ethics Bowl

PHIL 362, Business, Virtue, and the Good Life, 3 Units

This course provides students with a moral framework for being wise and just business professionals. Students begin by learning the most prominent ethical theories and principles. They then develop the ability to analyze, to evaluate, and to apply these theories and principles in a way that helps them to lead good and virtuous lives-lives that properly balance often competing moral obligations to one's business associates, to one's fellow citizens, and to one's friends and family members.

PHIL 364, Bioethics, 3 Units

In this course, students both (1) learn the most prominent theories and principles used in contemporary bioethics, and (2) develop the ability to analyze, to evaluate, and to apply these theories and principles in the context of contemporary medical practice.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220; Recommended: PHIL 300 or PHIL 330

PHIL 366, Environmental Ethics, 3 Units

In this course, students will investigate, craft a proposal for, and practice living according to an environmental philosophy as a way of life based on a virtue approach. Additionally, students will research the arguments for and against various environmentally ethical dilemmas in the modern world, aiming to analyze and respond to these arguments and drawing reasonable and actionable conclusions.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224; Recommended: PHIL 300 or PHIL 330

PHIL 410, Philosophy of Religion, 3 Units

Religious experience is studied from the standpoint of philosophy. An examination is made of the contributions of philosophy to religion and religion to philosophy.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 415, Philosophical Theology, 3 Units

The purpose of this course is to analyze rational arguments concerning the divine nature. In it, students apply the laws of logic and principles of sound reasoning to empirical evidence (including claims about the direct experience of God) and introspective intuition concerning the concept of God, enabling us to understand the logical limits of that concept.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 430, Philosophy of Science, 3 Units

The course explores the nature of scientific method and knowledge and the character of scientific explanations. Ways in which ethics and religion interrelate with the sciences are also covered.

Prerequisite: One Lab Science and PHIL 220

PHIL 440, Epistemology, 3 Units

This course exposes advancing philosophy students to the major problems in the theory of knowledge. While some historical background is covered, the principle focus is on the contours of the contemporary debates about such issues as skepticism, epistemic justification, foundationalism, coherentism, internalism, and externalism. Some application is made specifically to the epistemology of religious belief.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 445, Metaphysics, 3 Units

This course is an introduction to metaphysics that gives the student a broad perspective into contemporary issues of interest concerning what exists and its nature. This involves classroom discussion of readings from the introductory text and primary source material.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 450, Special Topics in Ethics, 3 Units

In this course, students utilize their foundational knowledge of ethical theories and principles to analyze contemporary debates concerning recent work in meta-ethics, normative ethics, moral epistemology, or moral psychology.

Prerequisites: PHIL 220 and PHIL 330 or consent of the instructor

PHIL 451, Race, Sex and Science, 3 Units

This course examines concepts of race and sex in relation to the history of modern western science. Students analyze readings in feminist philosophy, critical race theory and postcolonial studies, which argue that the sciences often presume and perpetuate Eurocentric, androcentric bias. Through this analysis, students cultivate the virtues of epistemic justice and intellectual humility required for intercultural competence and a Christlike character. Meets the General Education Requirement: Intercultural Competence. 

Prerequisite: 3xx PHIL or 3xx BIOL course or instructor consent

PHIL 452, Classical Chinese Ethics, 3 Units

This course provides an introduction both (1) to key texts written by a variety of classical Chinese philosophers - e.g., Konzi (Confucius), Mozi, Mengzi (Mencius), Laozi (Lao Tzu), Zhuangzi, and Xunxi - and (2) to their fundamental ethical teachings - e.g., the nature of the dao, the nature of being human, the role of ritual in the moral life, whether virtue requires partiality to one's family and one's culture, and so forth. More importantly, it teaches students to analyze, to evaluate, and to apply the insights of these texts and teachings to their own lives. Through both academic study and thoughtful cultural engagement, it offers a life-enriching, cross-cultural encounter with the classical systems of Chinese ethics that shaped eastern Asian cultures and continue to influence eastern Asian immigrant communities around the world.

Prerequisite: PHIL 301 or PHIL 330

PHIL 495, Seminar in Philosophy, 3 Units

Students are assisted in relating philosophical insights to current moral, political, religious, and social issues. Each seminar offers an area of emphasis for study, such as values or the future. It may be taken more than once as topics change.

Prerequisite: PHIL 220 or HUM 224

PHIL 496, Senior Seminar: Professional Ethics, 3 Units

This course considers ethical issues in the modern world from a Christian perspective. Included is an examination of options in ethical theory, biblical ethics, and professional responsibility. Meets the General Education Requirement: Integrative and Applied Learning. 

Prerequisite: Senior standing, completion of the majority of the units required for Biblical, Theological and Philosophical Formation, and Writing 3.

PHIL 496H, Senior Seminar - Honors, 3 Units

Prerequisites: Senior Standing and upper-division writing intensive course. Must also be a student admitted to the Honors Program and be considered a member in "active" status.

PHIL 497, Readings, 1-4 Units

This is a program of study concentrating on assigned readings, discussions, and writing arranged between and designed by a student of upper-division standing and a full-time professor. May be repeated for credit. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class.

PHIL 497H, Readings - Honors, 1-4 Units

This is a program of study concentrating on assigned readings, discussions, and writing arranged between, and designed by, a student of upper-division standing and a full-time professor. May be repeated for credit. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class.

Prerequisite: To enroll in the course, must be a student admitted to the Honors Program and be considered a member in "active" status.

PHIL 498, Directed Research, 1-4 Units

This course provides instruction in research design and technique, and gives students experience in the research process. The 1-unit expectation encompasses no less than 30 hours of work with accompanying reading, log, writing, and seminar presentation within the department or in a university research symposium. No more than 1 unit may be used to fulfill preparatory readings requirement. An independent study fee is assessed for each enrollment in this class.

Prerequisite: Junior or Senior Standing