Univ of Southern California
University of Southern California
black horizontal bar for print styles


Courses of Instruction

Philosophy (PHIL)
The terms indicated are expected but are not guaranteed. For the courses offered during any given term, consult the Schedule of Classes.

PHIL 101g Philosophical Foundations of Modern Western Culture (4) The influence on modern Western culture of philosophical thought about reality, knowledge and morality as developed by such philosophers as Descartes, Leibniz and Kant.

PHIL 115g Ancient Greek Culture and Society (4) Focus on the literary achievement from the beginning of Greek literature to the fourth century with a special emphasis on the philosophers.

PHIL 135g Legal Controversies and Ethical Principles (4) Philosophical theories of law and applications to controversies of importance to society and our legal system, such as free speech, civil disobedience, and self-defense. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

PHIL 137gm Social Ethics for Earthlings and Others (4, FaSp) A systematic study of contemporary issues in social and political philosophy engaging multimedia works of science fiction to illuminate classic Western moral and political theories.

PHIL 140g Contemporary Moral and Social Issues (4, FaSpSm) Critical study of controversial social issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war and terrorism, pornography, and economic justice. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

PHIL 141g The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life (4) The study of the nature and role of professionals in life and society, forces that shape and direct them, foundations and applications of professional ethics. Concurrent enrollment: WRIT 140.

PHIL 155g Modern Philosophy and the Meaning of Life (4) Modern philosophical treatments of the problem of the meaning or purpose of human life; special attention to Existentialism.

PHIL 220g Science, Religion and the Making of the Modern Mind (4) Philosophical and religious implications of the scientific revolution of the 17th century and the Darwinian revolution in the 19th century.

PHIL 225g Love and its Representations in Western Literature, Philosophy, and Film (4, FaSp) Key works that have shaped the European and American cultural inheritance, with a special focus on the nature of love (and marriage or domesticity). Concurrent enrollment: MDA 140.

PHIL 242 Theories of Art (4) An introduction to general theories of art and to issues concerning particular arts such as literature and drama, photography and film, painting, architecture and music.

PHIL 250ab Elementary Formal Logic (2-2, FaSp) Critical reasoning skills and their many everyday applications; theory of logically correct reasoning and its associated formal techniques.

PHIL 262g Mind and Self: Modern Conceptions (4) Philosophical problems about the nature of mind associated with the rise of modern science; topics include the mind/body relation, personal identity, rationality and freedom.

PHIL 285Lg Knowledge, Explanation, and the Cosmos (4, FaSpSm) The nature and limits of knowledge and explanation, and challenges in understanding the origin of the universe and the place of intelligent life within it.

PHIL 300 Introduction to the Philosophical Classics (4) An examination of philosophical works which have had a profound impact on the nature of Western thought.

PHIL 315 History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period (4) Major figures in the history of Western philosophical thought from the pre-Socratics to the Hellenistic period; emphasis on Plato and Aristotle.

PHIL 317 History of Western Philosophy: Medieval Period (4) Central themes in Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophy from late antiquity through the scholastic period.

PHIL 320 History of Western Philosophy: Modern Period (4) The development of philosophy from the 16th to the 19th centuries; emphasis on Continental Rationalism, British Empiricism, and the philosophy of Kant.

PHIL 330 Theories of Law (4) Examination of some of the major classical and contemporary theories of the nature and functions of law and of its relation to morality.

PHIL 335 Theoretical Models of Leadership (4, FaSp) Political philosophers and social theorists on leadership: political obligation; the art of government; leadership in civil society and counter-cultural dissent; models of cosmopolitan leadership.

PHIL 337 History of Modern Political Philosophy (4) Analysis of some of the main political philosophies of the modern era; emphasis on the ethical and metaphysical foundations of political philosophy.

PHIL 338 Political Economy and Social Issues (4, Sp) (Enroll in ECON 338)

PHIL 340 Ethics (4, FaSpSm) Study of major philosophical theories of moral right and wrong, such as utilitarianism, Kantianism, egoism, virtue ethics, and theological ethics.

PHIL 345 Greek Ethics (4) Examination of the progress of the ethical thought and legal and political institutions of ancient Greece with an emphasis on the Nichomachean Ethics of Aristotle.

PHIL 347 Philosophy in Literature (4) Philosophical content in representative European and American literature; philosophical problems about literature such as the nature of truth and meaning in fiction.

PHIL 350 Symbolic Logic (4) Introduction to basic techniques of propositional and quantificational logic, and elements of probability. Especially useful to philosophy, mathematics, science, and engineering majors.

PHIL 351 Reasoning and Logic (4) Study of reasoning as a strategy for arriving at knowledge in dependence upon logical theory. Logical theories are developed alongside historically influential strategies of reasoning. Not open to freshmen.

PHIL 352 Logic and Language (4) Introduction to modern symbolic logic, with applications to the philosophy of language, plus meta-logical and philosophical results about its scope and limits.

PHIL 355 Existentialism (4) A critical survey of major 19th and 20th century existentialist writers, including Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Kafka, Nietzsche, Camus, and Sartre.

PHIL 360 Epistemology and Metaphysics (4) Examination of problems in metaphysics and/or epistemology. Conducted at the intermediate level.

PHIL 361 Philosophy of Religion (4) The existence of God; mysticism, miracles and the possibility of disembodied existence; the problem of evil; religion and morality; the meaning of religious language.

PHIL 363 Philosophy of Perception (4) Philosophical investigation of sense perception as it relates to issues in epistemology, metaphysics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of science.

PHIL 385 Science and Rationality (4) Examination of the rationality of the scientific enterprise, and of the relation between science and human values.

PHIL 390 Special Problems (1-4) Supervised, individual studies. No more than one registration permitted. Enrollment by petition only.

PHIL 410 Early Greek Thought (4) A study of the Greek thinkers from Homer to the age of Socrates; emphasis on the pre-Socratic philosophers.

PHIL 411 Plato (4) Detailed study of the evolution of Plato’s thought as revealed in selected dialogues.

PHIL 415 Aristotle (4) Intensive study of selected topics taken from Aristotle’s writings in natural philosophy, in metaphysics, and in other areas of philosophy.

PHIL 421 Continental Rationalism (4) Development of philosophy on the continent from the 17th to the 19th centuries; emphasis on the philosophical works of Descartes, Leibniz, and Spinoza.

PHIL 422 British Empiricism (4) Development of philosophy in Great Britain from the 17th to the 19th centuries; emphasis on Locke, Berkeley, and Hume.

PHIL 423 The Critical Philosophy of Kant (4) Intensive study of the philosophical works of Kant.

PHIL 424 19th Century Philosophy (4) Leading figures and movements in 19th century philosophy; works of such philosophers as Hegel, Schopenhauer, Mill, Nietzsche, and Bradley.

PHIL 425 American Philosophy (4) Leading figures and movements in American philosophy; works of such philosophers as Jonathan Edwards, Charles Peirce, William James, John Dewey, and C.I. Lewis.

PHIL 426 20th Century European Philosophy (4) Main philosophers and movements from 1900, including the major developments within phenomenology and existentialism, the emergence of structuralism and hermeneutics.

PHIL 427 20th Century Anglo-American Philosophy (4) The nature and function of analysis as a philosophical method; the development of major metaphysical, epistemological, and ethical views; Russell, Wittgenstein, Carnap, Quine and others.

PHIL 428 Anglo-American Philosophy Since 1950 (4) The maturing of the analytic tradition from the later Wittgenstein through Ryle, Strawson, Hare, Austin, Grice, Quine, Davidson, Kripke, and beyond.

PHIL 430 Philosophy of Law (4) Philosophical theories about the nature of law, relations between law and morality, and analysis of normative concepts central to law, such as responsibility, punishment, negligence.

PHIL 431 Law, Society, and Politics (4, Fa) A systematic presentation of the main philosophical perspectives on the interactions between law and the social-political aspects of our lives.

PHIL 437 Social and Political Philosophy (4) The nature of man and society, the nature and justification of state and government, political rights and political obligation, justice and equality.

PHIL 440 Contemporary Ethical Theory (4) Ethical theories in the 20th century; contemporary theories of value and obligation; metaethical theories; intuitionism, naturalism, and non-cognitivism; concepts of justice, human rights, and freedom.

PHIL 442 History of Ethics to 1900 (4) An historical and critical study of the great moral philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and the British moralists.

PHIL 443 Value Theory (4) The evaluation of individual and social ends; consideration of such topics as values and rational choice, the good of a person, hedonism, welfare, ideals, and utopias.

PHIL 445 Philosophy of the Arts (4) Principal theories of the nature of, and response to, art; examination of form and content in various arts; consideration of the role of criticism.

PHIL 446 Aesthetics and the Film (4) Problems in the philosophy of art raised by film, such as the notion of “cinematic”; the nature of interpretation of films; criteria for evaluating films.

PHIL 450 Intermediate Symbolic Logic (4) Systematic study of the metatheory of quantificational logic, with applications to questions of decidability and completeness of formal systems including Godel’s Incompleteness Theorems.

PHIL 455 Phenomenology and Existentialism (4, Irregular) Close study of major writings of Husserl, Heidegger, and Sartre.

PHIL 460 Metaphysics (4) Systematic introduction to basic concepts, including identity, difference, existence, individuals, substance, quality, and relation; emphasis on idealism, materialism, and the ontology of intentionality.

PHIL 462 Philosophy of Mind (4) Examination of contemporary theories of mind and its place in the natural world.

PHIL 463 Theories of Action (4) Systematic investigation of action, the mental states involved in action, the reasoning processes that lead to action, and related concepts including intentionality and free will.

PHIL 465 Philosophy of Language (4) The nature of communication, meaning, reference, truth, necessity, speech acts, convention, and language.

PHIL 470 Theory of Knowledge (4) Examination of contemporary accounts of the nature, scope, sources — and value — of human knowledge and justified belief.

PHIL 471 Metaphysics and Epistemology (4) Classic issues in epistemology and the philosophy of language, leading up to the application of context-sensitivity in language to the problem of skepticism. Open only to philsophy majors. Prerequisite: PHIL 250b or PHIL 350 or PHIL 351 or PHIL 352; recommended preparation: at least one 400-level PHIL course.

PHIL 472 Moral Philosophy (4) In-depth study of some important work from the last few decades concerning the nature and status of moral reasons, moral obligations, and moral discourse. Open only to philsophy majors. Prerequisite: PHIL 250b or PHIL 350 or PHIL 351 or PHIL 352; recommended preparation: at least one 400-level PHIL class.

PHIL 473 Wittgenstein (4) A detailed study of the philosophical works of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

PHIL 480 Philosophy of Mathematics (4) The nature of mathematical truth and the nature of mathematical entities.

PHIL 485 Development of Physical Science (4) Concepts central in the advance of physical science such as the concepts of space, time, mass, force; philosophical problems concerning quantum mechanics.

PHIL 486 Methodologies of the Sciences (4) Comparison of the methodologies of the natural, social, and/or behavioral sciences; consideration of such topics as the concept of scientific law, prediction, explanation, confirmation.

PHIL 490x Directed Research (2-8, max 8) Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit.

PHIL 494 Senior Thesis (4) Independent studies for philosophy majors, and guidance in the preparation of the senior thesis for students who wish to graduate with honors in philosophy. Not open to graduate students.

PHIL 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8) Selected topics in various specialty areas within philosophy.

PHIL 500 Introduction to Contemporary Philosophical Literature (4, Fa) Analysis of selected philosophical problems and theses of current interest; explication of major contemporary papers and/or books is emphasized.

PHIL 501 Seminar in Recent Philosophy (4, max 16, Sp) Contemporary philosophical issues and literature.

PHIL 503 Introduction to Contemporary Philosophical Literature on Value (4, Sp) Analysis of selected philosophical problems and theses of current interest; explication of major contemporary papers and/or books is emphasized.

PHIL 505 Pro-Seminar in Central Topics in Contemporary Philosophy (4, Irregular) Key developments in central areas of philosophy are used to provide training in philosophical analysis, criticism, and the writing of precise philosophical prose.

PHIL 510 Philosophical Logic (4, Sp) Applications of logical theory to contemporary philosophical research. Elements of model theory, recursion theory; Goedel’s Incompleteness results; modal logic and its interpretations. Recommended preparation: PHIL 350.

PHIL 515 Studies in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (4, max 16) Problems in research in selected portions of ancient and medieval philosophy.

PHIL 520 Studies in Modern Philosophy (4, max 16) Problems in research in selected portions of modern philosophy.

PHIL 525 Seminar in Phenomenology (4) The origin, principles, and development of the phenomenological movement from Brentano to Merleau-Ponty.

PHIL 530 Seminar in Philosophy of Law (4) Theories of the nature of law; emphasis on recent writing; legal concepts such as rights, powers, liability, legal responsibility, law, and morality.

PHIL 537 Seminar in Social and Political Philosophy (4, max 16) Advanced literature on selected topics in social and political philosophy, including the nature of law, man, and society; ideals such as justice and freedom.

PHIL 540 Seminar in Ethics (4, max 16) Advanced topics and literature in ethical theory.

PHIL 545 Seminar in Aesthetics (4) Advanced topics in the philosophy of the arts. Contemporary views on such problems as the nature of art and the role of criticism.

PHIL 550 Advanced Topics in Formal Logic (4) Consistency and completeness of the predicate calculus; truth and validity; rudiments of model logic. Prerequisite: PHIL 450.

PHIL 551 Seminar in the Philosophy of Logic (4) Advanced topics in logic and/or philosophy of logic.

PHIL 560 Seminar in Metaphysics (4, max 16, Fa) Advanced topics in metaphysics.

PHIL 565 Philosophy of Language (4, Irregular) Philosophical issues in the empirical study of language concerning the relationship between linguistic meaning and the use of sentences to assert and convey information.

PHIL 570 Seminar in Epistemology (4, max 16) Advanced topics in epistemology.

PHIL 585 Seminar in Philosophy of Science (4, max 16) Advanced topics in the philosophy of science.

PHIL 589 Writing for Publication in Philosophy (4, max 8, Sp) Intensive writing seminar in which students read cutting-edge philosophy and take supervised steps towards crafting critical essays for publication. Prerequisite: PHIL 500, PHIL 505.

PHIL 590 Directed Research (1-12) Research leading to the master’s degree. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.

PHIL 594abz Master’s Thesis (2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC.

PHIL 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 8) Major trends of current thought; specific topics to be announced.

PHIL 636 Seminar in Semantics (3, max 12) (Enroll in LING 636)

PHIL 790 Research (1-12) Research leading to the doctorate. Maximum units which may be applied to the degree to be determined by the department. Graded CR/NC.

PHIL 794abcdz Doctoral Dissertation (2-2-2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of dissertation. Graded IP/CR/NC.