Stephen F. Austin State University

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy

Overview of the Philosophy Degree

Philosophy (love of wisdom) explores fundamental issues that have intrigued and perplexed human beings for millennia, including the nature of reality, human knowledge and truth, mind and personal identity and the application of ethical principles to moral problems. The study of philosophy fosters the ability to think critically, to identify and analyze complex problems, to use higher-order reasoning skills through the consistent application of deductive and inductive logical principles, to comprehend multiple perspectives on a specific topic, to communicate effectively and persuasively and to formulate solutions and evaluate possible outcomes on a wide range of subjects. Students of philosophy learn the value of living an examined life, not only by studying the great thinkers of the past, but also by articulating and defending their own carefully formulated ideas.

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Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (36 hours)

The major in philosophy consists of 36 semester hours with at least 18 semester hours of advanced courses (at least 12 semester hours at the 300-level and at least six semester hours at the 400-level).

Students completing the philosophy major must take the following courses:

Introductory level courses: PHI 153, 163, 223
History of Philosophy courses: PHI 310, 311
Topics courses: PHI 323, PHI 363, PHI 490 (twice on different topics)

Students must fulfill the semester hour requirement for the philosophy major by taking at least three additional courses drawn from the philosophy course offerings; at least one of these must be a 400-level course. With the approval of the division director, the following courses also may be used to fulfill this semester hour requirement:

Six hours from: PSC 335, PSC 336

Minor in Philosophy

A minor in philosophy consists of 18 semester hours with at least nine semester hours in advanced courses. Students completing the philosophy minor must take the following courses:

Introductory level courses: PHI 153, 163, 223

Students must fulfill the semester hour requirement for the minor in philosophy by taking at least three courses drawn from the advanced philosophy course offerings. With the approval of the division director, one of the following courses also may be used to fulfill this semester hour requirement:

Three hours from: PSC 335, 336

Some philosophy courses fulfill general education requirements in the humanities. They provide intellectual breadth not only for prospective teachers and liberal arts students but also for students planning careers in other professional and vocational fields.


153. Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 1301) - An introduction to philosophy through the examination of prominent philosophical problems, topics, and theorists.

163. Introduction to Logic (PHIL 2303) - An introduction to critical thinking and logic by learning the basics of recognizing, analyzing, evaluating, and constructing arguments, as well as the various ways that reasoning can go wrong.

223. Introduction to Ethics (PHIL 2306) - Explanation of ethical theories regarding both what actions are right and wrong and what makes persons of good and bad moral character; application of ethical theories to contemporary moral issues.

310. Classical Philosophy - Development of Western philosophy from pre-philosophical mythology through the collapse of classical Antiquity.

311. Modern Philosophy - Development of Western philosophy from the Renaissance period through the 19th century.

323. Ethical Theory - Investigation of major ethical theories that have been proposed, both in their classical formulations and in their more recent developments.

333. Philosophy in Science Fiction - Focus on philosophical ideas as explored in science fiction short stories, TV shows and movies.

350. Medical Ethics - Application of ethical theories and moral principles to issues associated with medicine and health care.

360. Philosophy of Religion - Analysis of the general philosophical problems that arise in connection with religion and religious beliefs. Topics may include the nature and existence of God, the problem of evil, mysticism and the meaning and validation of religious utterances.

363. Symbolic Logic - Analysis and evaluation of arguments in ordinary language using the tools of symbolic logic.

380. Science vs. Religion - An explanation of the general features of science and religion and the interplay between them as approaches to understanding reality and human existence.

390. Special Topics in Philosophy - An upper-level course with a strong emphasis on critical thinking and writing. Addresses topics such as religion and the nature and existence of God; the philosophical underpinning and diverse expressions of human sexuality; philosophers such as Plato, Augustine, Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard; issues such as sadism/masochism, pornography, homosexuality; and philosophy of the environment, the philosophy of biology, philosophy and animal rights, etc. May be retaken when the topic changes.

400. Philosophical Issues in World Religions - Surveys of the philosophical and theological foundations of the beliefs and practices of the major world religions.

422. Environmental Ethics - Considers issues surrounding the moral significance of humans, non-human animals, plants, and ecosystems, especially as these issues pertain to conflict between their respective interests and well-being.

475. Independent Study: Philosophy - Individual instruction, conference and research for advanced students. Prerequisite: permission of the division director.

480. Philosophy in Media - An upper-level topics course focusing on philosophical issues arising from computers. Topics may include: metaphysics of computer-generated realities; theories of artificial intelligence; and philosophical issues having to do with cyberspace. May be re-taken when the topic changes for a maximum of 6 hours.

482. Ethics, Technology and Society - An upper-level course focusing on the ethical issues arising from the interplay between technology and society. Topics may include: perspectives on technological society; globalization, economics, and human rights; computers, robotics and information technology; biotechnology and genetic engineering; and population, energy and the environment.

490. Advanced Studies in Philosophy - Advanced study and research in an individual philosopher or philosophical problem, topic, period, or movement. Topics will vary by semester. May be repeated once when topic changes for a maximum of six hours.


131. Elementary Latin I (LATI 1311) - Introduction to the grammar, syntax and vocabulary of classical Latin, with attention to historical, cultural and literary background.

132. Elementary Latin II (LATI 1312) - Further development of Latin morphology, syntax and vocabulary; reading of selected texts. Prerequisite: LAT 131 or permission of the instructor.

231. Intermediate Latin I (LATI 2311) - Review and expansion of the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax learned in LAT 131 and 132, with an increased emphasis on translating Latin passages. Prerequisites: LAT 131, 132 or permission of the instructor.

232. Intermediate Latin II (LATI 2312) - A continuation of LAT 231. Prerequisites: LAT 131, 132 and 231 or permission of instructor.

495. Independent Study: Latin - Reading and discussion of excerpts from the works of a classical author of the instructor's choice; if the work chosen is poetry, scansion of Latin verse. Prerequisites: LAT 131, 132, 231 and 232 or permission of instructor.