2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog


The Philosophy Department conceives of philosophy as an enterprise of both the mind and the spirit. The faculty are committed to providing the student with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a philosophically literate person.  At the same time, our focus is on the integration of this knowledge with each student’s process of moral, spiritual and intellectual growth.

The philosophy faculty at Cal Lutheran are trained in a variety of areas:

  • ethics
  • political philosophy
  • analytic philosophy
  • philosophy of mind
  • history of philosophy
  • Greek philosophy
  • epistemology
  • metaphysics
  • Asian philosophy
  • logic and the philosophy of science

Philosophy is an excellent major (or double major) for students who are pre-law or who are considering graduate degrees in philosophy, religion, theology or bioethics. Finally, for those who are primarily seeking an education to advance their personal growth and the means to integrate various disciplines, philosophical education is irreplaceable.

An undergraduate philosophy education also offers many career and educational opportunities to students whose ambitions lie elsewhere. Hospitals, church vocations, government agencies and business corporations seek out people with a philosophical education, as well as knowledge of applied ethics, because of their training in clear and focused thinking and their sensitivity to a wide range of ethical dilemmas.

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

32 credits minimum, 20 credits upper division, PHIL 450

PHIL 450 (Philosophy Capstone): 2-4

Four to Five Upper Division Philosophy Courses: 16-18

Three Philosophy Courses (Lower or Upper Division): 12

Total Hours: 32

Minor in Philosophy

16 credits minimum, 12 credits upper division.


Three Upper Division Philosophy Courses12
One Philosophy Course (Lower or Upper Division)4
Total Hours16



Lower Division

PHIL 200. Problems in Philosophy. (4).

Studies the meaning of philosophy as the "examined life," with an introduction to the concepts and major problems of philosophy.

PHIL 205. Philosophy & Black Mirror. (4).

This course explores the discipline of Philosophy through the sci-fi series Black Mirror. This philosophical investigation of Black Mirror will introduce us to the practice of philosophy and also the various subfields, debates, and both historical and contemporary theories. Fulfills CORE-21 Philosophy requirement.

PHIL 220. Logic. (4).

A study of the basic methods of clear thinking and argument, including both deductive and inductive reasoning. Special emphasis is placed on critical analysis of arguments.

PHIL 230. Political Philosophy: Ancient to Modern. (4).

This course surveys some important historical and theoretical issues in Western political philosophy, and considers some applications of the theories discussed to moral, political, and legal controversies. Issues discussed include: justice, social construction, the "ideal" society, social contract theory, rights, liberty, restrictions on government, responses to injustice, etc.

PHIL 235. Introduction to Feminism. (4).

This course provides an introduction to feminist theory with an emphasis on Women of Color feminisms.

PHIL 260. Topics in World Philosophy. (4).

A study of representative philosophical traditions of Greece and China, with a focus on the awareness of global diversity, interdependence and relevance.

PHIL 282. Selected Topics. (4).

PHIL 282C. ST: (core). (1-4).

Select Topic approved fill core requirement.

PHIL 2ST. Selected Topic. (4).

PHIL 3ST. Selected Topics. (4).

PHIL 4ST. Selected Topics. (4).

Upper Division

PHIL 300. Ethics. (4).

The study of what makes for a well-lived life in terms of character, conduct and relationships with others. Special attention is given to the connection between ethics and leadership.

PHIL 310. Metaphysics. (4).

The general inquiry into the nature of the real. Topics include the role of language in thought, the nature of truth, necessity and possibility, being and essence.

PHIL 312. A More Inclusive History of Philosophy. (4).

This course is a general introduction to some of the issues and debates in the history of philosophy. Students will acquire a basic familiarity with the major themes of Ancient, Early Modern, and Nineteenth Century metaphysics, epistemology,and moral theory. Students will acquire experience in the analysis of original texts and the arguments they contain through close reading, class discussion, and group activities. The aim of the course is to introduce you to some of the historically significant philosophical debates (and some debates/figures that have been excluded from the "Western Canon"); to teach you how to reconstruct arguments and evaluate them, and how to write philosophy papers.

PHIL 315. Social Ethics. (4).

The analysis of contemporary social issues such as abortion, capital punishment, affirmative action, multiculturalism, the environment, euthanasia and world hunger from a moral and philosophical perspective.

PHIL 320. Philosophy of Religion. (4).

Studies the evidence for belief in God and includes an examination of religious experience, the relation of religion and science, and the alternatives to theism.

PHIL 330. Contemporary Political Philosophy. (4).

This course surveys some important theoretical issues in Western political philosophy, and considers some applications of the theories discussed to moral, political, and legal controversies. Issues discussed include: the obligation to obey the law, the justification of secession, the nature of rights, the limits of state power (especially with respect to offensive expression), just distribution of property, and reparations for past injustice.

PHIL 340. Philosophy of Science. (4).

A study of science from a philosophical perspective, covering the basic procedures of scientific research, the key features of scientific progress, and some ethical issues related to scientific research, in particular the uses of animals and humans as research subjects. Recommended for both natural science and social science majors interested in exploring the philosophical implications of the scientific enterprise.

PHIL 345. Bioethics. (4).

A study of moral issues raised by the recent development of biological and medical sciences, including those related to reproductive technologies, human genetics, euthanasia, organ donations, health-care policies, and human/animal experimentation. The course focuses on the complexities that often surround moral choices in biological and medical sciences.

PHIL 350. Technology and Value. (4).

A study of moral issues raised by the recent development of technology, including those related to computers, genetic engineering and the environment. The course examines how current technological achievements profoundly change our social, cultural and moral life and how they create moral dilemmas for our society at the same time.

PHIL 355. Chinese Philosophy and Culture. (4).

A study of the development of Chinese philosophy and culture from the ancient to the contemporary period. The major philosophical traditions in China - Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism - are covered. Key features of Chinese culture, reflecting the experiences and perspectives of both native Chinese and Chinese Americans, are examined.

PHIL 360. Philosophy of Law. (4).

In this course we will explore several issues central to the philsophy of law, including the following: (i) the nature of law and the connection, if any, between law and morality, (ii) the nature of a judge's role in the legal system, (iii) the nature of legal, and, especially, constitutional interpretation, (iv) the justification of the legal punishment, including the death penalty, and, (v) the requirements for legal responsibility, with a particular emphasis on the justification of some legal defenses and the appropriate role of the consequences of an agent's action in determining her responsibility.

PHIL 370. Business Ethics. (4).

The course will undertake an investigation of ethical issues in contemporary business life, linking ethical concepts and theories to concrete cases of corporate and individual choice in the business world.

PHIL 375. Philosophy of Race. (4).

This course explores contemporary issues in Philosophy of Race, such as the metaphysics of race, the nature of racism, the relationship between race and ethnicity, racial identity, intersectionality, epistemic issues related to race, and personal and collective responsibilities with respect to racism.

PHIL 380. Knowledge and Power. (4).

This course investigates contemporary issues in the study of knowledge. We will analyze both foundational philosophical inquiries into knowledge, beliefs, justification, and truth and the ways that power relations within our social and political landscape shape our access to knowledge or the maintenance of ignorance.

PHIL 385. Oppression and Liberation. (4).

This course critically examines the concepts of oppression and liberation and analyzes the philosophical concepts underlying social and political movements.

PHIL 400. Contemporary Philosophy. (4).

Each year different philosophies and problems are studied, including analytic philosophy, post-modernism, pragmatism and philosophy of mind and brain.

PHIL 404. Existentialism. (4).

In this course we will survey some of the important themes and theoretical issues in the Existentialist tradition. This philosophical and literary tradition is a somewhat disparate grouping of figures who challenge "traditional (analytic) philosophy" and a narrowly rational worldview. Some of the themes we will see emerging include: individualism, freedom, dread, death, absurdity, choice, and meaning.

PHIL 414. Philosophy of Art. (4).

The study of the aesthetic experience and the work of art. Includes the various theories and their expression, function and criticism. (cross-listed with Art 414).

PHIL 445. Philosophy of Education. (3).

The analysis of educational principles and policies from the perspective of major philosophical schools and their associated ideologies. The course aims to clarify the connections between theory and practice as they relate to teaching and learning. Not available to freshmen.

PHIL 450. Philosophy Capstone. (4).

All philosophy majors are required to complete the capstone course, meeting regularly with a faculty member and writing a capstone thesis covering important readings in Philosophy. This research process and capstone thesis is a distinguished way to complete the B.A. degree. The completed thesis provides a solid statement of your status as a trained philosopher. This process also provides an excellent preparation for those who plan to go on to graduate or professional schools. The aim of the capstone is for students to conduct and produce original research while improving their skills in reconstructing and evaluating arguments and improve their philosophy writing. The course is typically taken in the Fall semester of your Senior year. The topic of the course will be chosen after discussion with your faculty mentor. Prerequisites:.

PHIL 482. Selected Topics. (2-4).

PHIL 482C. ST: (core). (1-4).

Select Topic approved fill core requirement.

PHIL 490. Independent Study. (1-4).

PHIL 496. Directed Research. (1-3).

PHIL 497. Departmental Honors. (4).



Xiang Chen

Assistant professor

Brian Collins

Visiting Instructor

Lacey Davidson