College of Humanities
- Chair: Tim Black
- Sierra Tower (ST) 522
- (818) 677-2757
The characteristic activity of philosophy, from its beginning to the present day, has been reasoned reflection about ourselves, our world, the good life and our relations with one another. Philosophy deals with issues of fundamental human importance—the scope and limits of human knowledge, the nature of reality and truth, what it means to be a person, the relation of mind to body, the sources of value and obligation, the evaluation of social institutions and practices, and the nature of logic and correct reasoning.
The Philosophy Major is designed to acquaint students with the distinctive nature of philosophical activity and to help them think critically about matters of fundamental philosophical concern.
The Department offers a Major and a Minor. The Major provides a well-rounded background in the traditional areas of Western philosophy. It is appropriate for students who plan to do post-graduate work in philosophy, law or related fields, as well as for students who wish to double-major or to combine in other ways the study of philosophy with their other interests. The Minor is a traditional minor in philosophy.
The Sidney A. Luckenbach Memorial Award, established by the family and friends of former philosophy professor Sidney A. Luckenbach Sr., is a cash award presented each year to one or more academically outstanding Philosophy Majors. Recipients are selected by a faculty committee, with preference given to students interested in logic and philosophy of science and to students with need.
The skills and training one receives in philosophy are valuable in many careers. A degree in Philosophy can be evidence to prospective employers that one is capable of creative and analytic thinking and is proficient in reasoning, problem solving and written and oral communication.
Philosophy students have successfully transferred their philosophic backgrounds and skills to many fields, including business, law, politics, theology, secondary education, social work and counseling, the health professions, computer technology, journalism, editing and publishing and government service.
A Major or Minor in Philosophy can be especially useful to stu- dents seeking entry into professional programs in these areas and many others. Philosophy Majors tend to do well on such pre-profes- sional tests as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and the Law School Admissions Test (LSAT). The study of philosophy also can be intensely satisfying for its own sake: It enhances one’s ability to enjoy and pursue a lifetime of learning, self-expression and exchange and debate of ideas concerning ourselves and the meaning of our existence.
The Department of Philosophy helps students select the program and courses that best satisfy their individual needs and interests. Contact Department Chair Tim Black or Associate Chair Adam Swenson at (818) 677-2757 to schedule an appointment. The Humanities Student Services Center/EOP reviews students progress to ensure that the requirements of a Major or Minor in Philosophy are fulfilled. Call (818) 677-4784 or (818) 677-4767 to schedule an appointment with the Student Services Center/EOP.
Honors in Philosophy Program
The purpose of the Honors in Philosophy Program is to identify exceptional philosophy students and to encourage and recognize the development of their potential.
To be eligible to participate in the Program, a student must:
- 1. Be a declared Philosophy Major;
- 2.Have completed a minimum of 9 units of Upper Division Philosophy courses at CSUN;
- 3. Maintain a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counting toward completion of the Major and a GPA of 3.3 or above in all courses taken at CSUN; and
- 4. Obtain the recommendation of a full-time faculty member.
To graduate with Honors in Philosophy, a student must:
- 1. Complete a minimum of 45 units in letter-graded courses taken at CSUN;
- 2. Complete the requirements for a B.A. Degree in Philosophy with a GPA of 3.5 or above in courses counting toward completion of the Major and a GPA of 3.3 or above in all courses taken at CSUN;
- 3. Complete successfully an Honors Thesis consisting of a minimum of 5,000 words. To undertake an Honors Thesis, students must enroll in either PHIL 497 (Senior Research Seminar) or PHIL 499 (Independent Study) during their senior year and declare to their instructor by the end of the second week of instruction their intention to undertake an Honors Thesis. (Those who choose to write an Honors Thesis in PHIL 499 are not exempt from PHIL 497.) Theses must earn a a grade of “A” or “A-” from the instructor of record in order to count as satisfactorily completed.
Students who successfully complete the above requirements are graduated with Honors in Philosophy and receive a special certificate from the Department. The designation “Honors in Philosophy” is noted on the student’s transcript and academic record.