Introduction to the Curriculum Map

Every course within a given department is expected to satisfy one (or more) of that program’s Learning Outcomes (PLOs), as articulated in that department's Curriculum Map. Students who take a philosophy course will develop their capacity to (I.) understand and interpret philosophical text, (II.) identify arguments, (III.) critically assess arguments, (IV.) identify philosophical traditions and methods, (IV.) and/or communicate clearly and effectively. The philosophy department’s five Learning Outcomes are arranged hierarchically so that the latter Learning Outcomes presuppose some familiarity with the lower-order skills. The assignments and work within a given course are expected to develop the skills associated with that course’s PLO while strengthening the lower-order skills and setting the stage for the development of the higher-order skills. 

Curriculum Map 

Program Learning Outcomes:

I. Understanding

Students can credibly interpret philosophical texts and discourse.

II. Argumentation

Students can identify and evaluate argument structures effectively.

III. Critical Assessment

Students can critique, not merely credibly interpret, a philosophical text.

IV. Philosophical Knowledge & Methodology

Students can identify and critically evaluate major traditions, figures, concepts, and philosophical methods.

V. Communication & Engagement

Students can develop, express, and discuss philosophical ideas clearly and effectively in writing and conversation.

 

I. Understanding: Students can credibly interpret philosophical texts and discourse.

Success in achieving this goal will be assessed by a student’s ability to:

  • Identify and describe the main aim(s) of a text or thinker.
  • Identify and describe the strategy of a text or thinker.
  • Recognize what is important about a philosophical debate by noticing who or what the text or thinker targets.
  • Summarize and explicate the explicit main support for the main conclusion(s).

This learning outcome will be assessed at the Mastery (M) level in the following courses:

PHIL 101B Introduction to Philosophy (1 Unit). An investigation into the effect of the impact of modern science in shaping our beliefs about the mind, freedom, morality, God and meaning. The effects of the intellectual hegemony of scientific naturalism are explored by way of a comparison between modern and pre-modern cultures and beliefs. The specific issues discussed may include, but are not limited to, the following questions: Can computers think? Are we free or determined? What are the differences and similarities between modern and pre-modern conceptions of the person, of nature, of justice, and normativity?

II. Argumentation: Students can identify and evaluate argument structures effectively.

Success in achieving this goal will be assessed by a student’s ability to:

  • Extract an argument from a text.
  • Become familiar with the various forms an argument can take.
  • Define and identify formal and informal fallacies.
  • Employ elementary logic to evaluate an argument.

This learning outcome will be assessed at the Mastery (M) level in the following courses:

PHIL 104Q Introduction to Logic (1 Unit). An introduction to the informal and formal principles, techniques, and skills that are necessary for distinguishing correct from incorrect reasoning.

PHIL 453 Advanced Logic (1 Unit). A study of second-order predicate calculus, mathematical logic, and on occasion, modal logic Prerequisite: PHIL 104.

III. Critical Assessment: Students can critique, not merely credibly interpret, a philosophical text.

Success in achieving this goal will be assessed by a student’s ability to:

  • Pick out key terms for assessment.
  • Identify incomplete, ambiguous, vague, or nonsensical concepts and statements.
  • Ask incisive questions of a thinker/text.
  • Summarize and explicate the implicit main support or assumption(s) for the main conclusion(s).
  • Apply the principle of charity in assessment of arguments.
  • Formulate a strong objection to a given argument.

This learning outcome will be assessed at the Mastery (M) level in the following courses:

PHIL 300 Philosophy of Law (1 Unit). An examination of philosophical issues involved in understanding the nature of law. Topics of discussion include the problem of how to define the concept law, the differences between positive and natural law, and the relationship between moral and legal obligations. The class will also examine salient differences among the various areas (regulatory, civil, criminal, constitutional, etc.), sources (legislation, decree, common, etc.) and justifications (utilitarian and deontological) of law.

PHIL 305 Philosophy of Mind (1 Unit). An examination of the nature of consciousness. Topics may include contemporary theories of behaviorism, functionalism, artificial intelligence, and cognitive science.

PHIL 306 Philosophy of Language (1 Unit). An examination of the role of language in shaping, limiting and expressing thought. The connection between philosophy and language and the nature of language itself will be explored through the work of contemporary philosophers.

PHIL 307J Social and Political Philosophy (1 Unit). An examination of contemporary social and political issues in the light of classical and contemporary works of philosophy. Topics may include justice, freedom, property, equality, and democracy.

PHIL 308E Existentialism (1 Unit). An examination of issues concerning the meaning of human existence. Sample topics may include the following: freedom and responsibility, anxiety and death, authenticity and alienation, the individual and society, emotions and reason, faith and God.

PHIL 309J Feminist Philosophy (1 Unit). An examination of national and global feminist philosophers' efforts to develop a perspective of their own. Discussions will focus on feminist analyses of the family, pornography, reproductive rights, violence against women, the intersection of gender, race, and class, women's oppression, the causes of that oppression, and ways of fighting it. The course will include a service-learning component.

PHIL 311J Philosophy of Race (1 Unit). This course critically investigates the historical evolution of the concepts of race and racism from the past to the present and considers the role that these concepts have had, and continue to have, in shaping a just society.

PHIL 313E Philosophy of Religion (1 Unit). An examination of some of the major issues in classical and contemporary philosophy of religion, including the nature and significance of religious language, the existence and nature of God, the problem of evil, religious experience, miracles, and alternatives to theism.

PHIL 315JS Contemporary Moral Dilemmas (1 Unit). This seminar is a course in normative ethical inquiry. As such it focuses on real-life moral dilemmas rather than on philosophical ethical theory. In this respect, this course is an applied ethics course. Arguments on both sides of ethical dilemmas are considered. Such issues may include but are not limited to the following: abortion, euthanasia, human rights, racism, sexism, and animal rights.

PHIL 316E Bio-Medical Ethics (1 Unit). An intensive study of one area within applied ethics. In this course, the role of medicine in human life and medical advances are explored from philosophical perspectives, including phenomenology, deconstruction, feminism, and disability theory. Topics considered include medicine as professional practice and advances in biotechnologies challenging how we view personhood. Students will learn how to critically examine connected conceptual issues, including identity, authenticity, and autonomy.

PHIL 317R Environmental Ethics (1 Unit). An intensive study of one area within applied ethics. This course explores a variety of ethical frameworks for understanding human impacts on the environment. Sample topics include animal rights, sustainability, deep ecology, feminist ecology, third world critiques of global capital, consumption, population, and world hunger.

PHIL 353A Aesthetics (1 Unit). An examination of the arts and their relation to philosophy. Topics may include theories of art and beauty, language and music; philosophy and the dramatic arts; philosophy and film; philosophy and literature.

IV. Philosophical Knowledge & Methodology: Students can identify and critically evaluate major traditions, figures, concepts, and philosophical methods.

Success in achieving this goal will be assessed by a student’s ability to:

  • Explain the relationship between the methodology of philosophy and that of other disciplines.
  • Distinguish between deduction and induction, for example, empirical claims and a priori claims.
  • Use conceptual analysis to enrich one’s understanding of philosophical problems and proposed solutions.
  • Explain and employ the distinctions between metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and logic.
  • Explain and use the fundamental concepts and theories in metaphysics.
  • Explain and use the fundamental concepts and theories in epistemology.
  • Explain and use the fundamental concepts and theories in ethics.
  • Connect and integrate the discussion in one area of philosophy to another.
  • Exhibit fluency with major traditions and figures in the history of philosophy.

This learning outcome will be assessed at the Mastery (M) level in the following courses:

PHIL 250H History of Ancient Philosophy (1 Unit). A survey of the philosophy of the Pre-Socratics, Plato and Aristotle

PHIL 251 History of Medieval Philosophy (1 Unit). A survey of philosophy from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, with emphasis on Augustine and Aquinas

PHIL 260H History of Modern Philosophy (1 Unit). A survey of and engagement with the great works of the western philosophical tradition from Descartes and the Rationalists, through Hume and the Empiricists, and ending with Kant.

PHIL 261H 19th and 20th Century Philosophy (1 Unit). A survey of major philosophical movements over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course may include Geman idealism, phenomenology, pragmatism, logical positivism, critical theory, existentialism, and ordinary language philosophy.

PHIL 310 Contemporary Continental Philosophy (1 Unit). A close reading is given to key figures in contemporary continental philosophy, including, for example, Derrida, Foucault, and Lacan. Its signature philosophical methods such as deconstruction, post-structuralism, and psychoanalysis are discussed. Philosophical influences such as existentialism neo-Marxism, and phenomenology are considered and contrasts with Anglo-American analytic philosophy are explored.

PHIL 350E Ethics (1 Unit). This course approaches ethics from a theoretical, rather than an applied, point of view, and will consider a variety of frameworks of use for considering ethical and moral problems. The major Western traditions of deontology, virtue ethics, utilitarianism, feminist ethics of care, and postmodern ethics will be considered and compared. Eastern traditions, including Confucianism and Buddhism, will also be considered.

PHIL 351 Epistemology (1 Unit). An examination of human knowledge with attention to recent developments and classical theories. Topics include skepticism, the justification of beliefs, rationality and truth.

PHIL 352 Metaphysics (1 Unit). An examination of the classic philosophical problems concerning the nature of reality. Topics may include the nature of consciousness, causation, freedom and determinism, the nature of persons, questions of the objectivity and/or subjectivity of reality.

PHIL 399 Research in Philosophy (1 Unit). A writing-intensive seminar designed to prepare students for the Senior Project.

V. Communication & Engagement: Students can develop, express, and discuss philosophical ideas clearly and effectively in writing and conversation.

Success in achieving this goal will be assessed by a student’s ability to:

  • Discuss philosophy in a thoughtful and engaging manner.
  • Show respect for others and their ideas (express disagreement in a respectful manner).
  • Deliver oral presentations to a class or group.
  • Research a paper.
  • Plan a paper strategically.
  • Structure a paper given the strategy
  • Choose the most appropriate and precise wording.
  • Stick to the point.

This learning outcome will be assessed at the Mastery (M) level in the following courses:

PHIL 385 Independent Study (0.5 or 1 Unit)

PHIL 395 Teaching Apprenticeship (0.5 Unit) (Pass/Fail only). A teaching apprenticeship provides an opportunity for a student with an especially strong interest and ability in philosophy to work directly with a philosophy faculty member in the design and implementation of a course. The apprenticeship is arranged by mutual agreement between the faculty member and the student. Such an experience is especially beneficial for students who are considering university teaching as a profession. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. May be repeated once.

PHIL 397 Internship in Philosophy (0.5 Unit) (Pass/Fail only). Opportunities are offered for real world experience, including editorial experience with a philosophy journal and experience in the practical application of ethics in the workplace. The internship requires approximately 8 hours of work per week or roughly 120 hours per semester in the field and is supervised by a Philosophy faculty member. Students and the supervising faculty member are responsible for making the arrangements for this work-related experience. May be repeated for credit for up to 1 unit.

PHIL 400 Department Seminar (1 Unit). Selected topics in philosophy are discussed in a seminar format. One member of the Department directs the seminar, but other members of the philosophy faculty participate. This course is required for all philosophy majors and may be repeated for credit. Department approval required. May be repeated up to a total of 2 units.

PHIL 485 Independent Study (1 Unit). May be repeated up to a total of 2 units.

PHIL 498 Directed Reading for Senior Project (0.5 Unit). An optional independent reading course designed for majors who are preparing for their Senior Project.

PHIL 499 Senior Project (1 Unit). Departmental approval required.

Learning Outcomes were developed with reference to: Rudisill, John. 2011. “The Transition from Studying Philosophy to Doing Philosophy.” Teaching Philosophy 34 (3): 241-271.