Skip to main content

This is your Donation message.

2020-2021 Undergraduate Bulletin

Undergraduate Department of


College of Arts and Sciences


Chair: J. Piers Rawling; Professors: Bishop, Clarke, LeBar, Mele, Rawling, Schwenkler; Associate Professors: Hinchman, Justus, Kearns, May, Morales, Roberts, Stein, Westlund; Assistant Professors: Bukoski, Herdova; Senior Teaching Faculty: Mahaffey; Assistant Teaching Faculty: Vincent

The undergraduate program in philosophy is designed to enable students to gain an understanding of the substantive issues philosophers have struggled with through the ages. Students majoring in philosophy can expect to develop their abilities to engage in critical examination and evaluation. Such skills have proven to be of great value in almost any type of human endeavor. The program serves as a basis for professional training in other fields, such as law, education, politics, journalism, or theology, or as foundation for future professional training in philosophy. The department offers degree programs at all levels.

The department participates in the honors program, as well as the undergraduate programs in the following departments or programs: women's studies, humanities, Latin American and Caribbean studies, political science, international affairs, and religion. In addition, it offers more than ten courses in the University's Liberal Studies for the 21st Century Program.

Students have considerable latitude to design the content of a major that meets their needs and interests. For example, a student might focus primarily on ethics; on social and political philosophy; on logic and philosophy of science; on the history of philosophy or some distinct period such as ancient, modern, or contemporary; on epistemology; or on cognitive studies. Many students will find it possible to combine a major in philosophy with a major in another discipline. The department welcomes such arrangements.

The department's distinguished faculty is actively engaged in teaching, research, writing, publishing, and editing. Students majoring in philosophy can be assured that not only will they receive an excellent education in the history of philosophy but they will also have the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the latest developments in the discipline. The journal Social Theory and Practice is edited and published by the department.

The department offers regular colloquia in which local faculty, graduate students, and guests from other universities present papers and lead discussions on philosophical topics. In addition, the department regularly sponsors conferences; topics have included biomedical ethics, moral education, philosophy of language, color, Wittgenstein, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, ethical theory, history and philosophy of science in science teaching, human rights, virtue and social diversity, Kantian themes in ethics, and philosophy of biology. Werkmeister conferences on a variety of topics are held annually.

In addition to more formal academic settings, the undergraduate philosophy club offers opportunities for majors and prospective majors to meet and discuss readings or movies of philosophical interest.

Computer Skills Competency

All undergraduates at Florida State University must demonstrate basic computer skills competency prior to graduation. As necessary computer competency skills vary from discipline to discipline, each major determines the courses needed to satisfy this requirement. Undergraduate majors in philosophy satisfy this requirement by earning a grade of "C–" or higher in CGS 2060 or CGS 2100.

State of Florida Common Program Prerequisites

No statewide common program prerequisites have been identified for this program; however, the faculty in this program recommends that students take several lower level courses with the PHH, PHI, PHM, or PHP prefix.

Requirements for a Major in Philosophy

Please review all college-wide degree requirements summarized in the "College of Arts and Sciences" chapter of this General Bulletin.

Note: The required courses listed below may not be offered every semester. Students should check with the department at least two semesters before graduation to make sure they will have the opportunity to complete the requirements.

Thirty semester hours in philosophy are required for the major, including the following:

  1. Logic (three semester hours). One of:

    PHI 2100 Reasoning and Critical Thinking (3)

    IDS 3358 Making the Argument: Symbolic Logic and the Forms of Good Reasoning (3)

  2. History of Philosophy (six semester hours)
    • Ancient Philosophy—one of:

      PHH 3130 Plato and His Predecessors (3)

      PHH 3140 Aristotle to Augustine (3)


  • Modern Philosophy:

    PHH 3400 Modern Philosophy (3)

  1. Ethics (three semester hours)

    PHI 3670 Ethical Theory (3)

  2. Contemporary Metaphysics and Epistemology (three semester hours) One of:

    PHH 4600r Contemporary Philosophy (3)

    PHI 3220 Introduction to Philosophy of Language (3)

    PHI 3300 Knowledge and Belief (3)

    PHI 3320 Philosophy of Mind (3)

    PHI 3330 Free Will (3)

    PHI 4500 Metaphysics (3)

  3. Seminar for Majors, to be taken in the senior year (three semester hours)

    PHI 4938r Seminar for Majors (3)

Additional requirements: At least twenty-one semester hours in the major must be at the 3000 level or above; at least fifteen semester hours must be completed in the Philosophy Department at Florida State University; and completion of a minor.

Grades below "C–" will not be accepted for major or minor credit, nor will courses taken for "S/U" credit.

Requirements for a Minor in Philosophy

Twelve semester hours in philosophy are required for the minor, including:

  1. Logic (three semester hours). One of:

    PHI 2100 Reasoning and Critical Thinking (3)

    IDS 3358 Making the Argument: Symbolic Logic and the Forms of Good Reasoning (3)

  2. History (three semester hours). One of:

    PHH 3061 Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy (3)

    PHH 3130 Plato and His Predecessors (3)

    PHH 3140 Aristotle to Augustine (3)

    PHH 3400 Modern Philosophy (3)

    PHH 3500 Nineteenth-Century Philosophy (3)

At least six semester hours must be at the 3000 level or above. Students must receive a letter grade of "C–" or better in all courses that count toward the minor.

Minor in Political Philosophy

Twelve semester hours in philosophy are required for the minor, including:

  1. Logic (three semester hours). One of:

    PHI 2100 Reasoning and Critical Thinking (3)

    IDS 3358 Making the Argument: Symbolic Logic and the Forms of Good Reasoning (3)

  2. Nine semester hours from:

    PHI 3162 Logic and the Law (3)

    PHM 2121 Philosophy of Race, Class and Gender (3)

    PHM 2300 Introduction to Political Philosophy (3)

    PHM 3123 Philosophy of Feminism (3)

    PHM 3331r Modern Political Thought (3)

    PHM 3351 Philosophy of Human Rights (3)

    PHM 3400 Philosophy of Law (3)

    PHM 4340r Contemporary Political Thought (3)

    PHP 3510 Introduction to Marxist Philosophy (3)

At least six semester hours must be at the 3000 level or above. Students must receive a letter grade of "C–" or better in all courses that count toward the minor.

Minor in Law and Philosophy

Twelve semester hours in philosophy are required for the minor, including:

  1. A required course:

    PHM 3400 Philosophy of Law (3)

  2. Logic (three semester hours). One of:

    PHI 2100 Reasoning and Critical Thinking (3)

    IDS 3358 Making the Argument: Symbolic Logic and the Forms of Good Reasoning (3)

    PHI 3162 Logic and the Law (3)

  3. Six semester hours from:

    PHI 2620 Environmental Ethics (3)

    PHI 2635 Bioethics (3)

    PHI 3670 Ethical Theory (3)

    PHM 3351 Philosophy of Human Rights (3)

At least six semester hours must be at the 3000 level or above. Students must receive a letter grade of "C–" or better in all courses that count toward the minor.

Honors in the Major

Honors work in the major is offered to encourage talented juniors and seniors to undertake independent and original research. Successful completion of honors work results in honors credits and graduation with distinction. For requirements and other information, see the "University Honors Office and Honor Societies" chapter of this General Bulletin.

Definition of Prefixes

IDSInterdisciplinary Studies

PHH—Philosophy, History of


PHM—Philosophy of Man and Society

PHP—Philosophers and Schools

Undergraduate Courses

IDS 2113. Know Thyself: A Philosophical Investigation of Self-Knowledge (3). This course is a philosophical investigation into the nature and importance of self-knowledge. It emphasizes close, critical reading of classic and contemporary philosophical texts, together with excerpts from literary works that explore related themes. The course introduces students to some important philosophical concepts and methods of philosophical analysis, and emphasize how philosophical inquiry can be relevant to everyday life.

IDS 2316. World Without God? (3). This course examines three main questions: (1) Can we explain the existence of our earth, and the universe as a whole, without recourse to God? (2) Can there be an objective moral code that we all have good reason to follow even if there is no God? (3) Can we have a spiritual or religious attitude to the world in the absence of belief in God?

IDS 2454. Fantasy Girls: Philosophical Examinations of Women and Girls in Fantasy and Science Fiction (3). This course provides a critical philosophical examination of representations of girls and women in fantasy and science fiction. Throughout the semester, students make use of traditional philosophical texts as well as non-traditional materials, such as film, literature, television, and comics to examine questions of women's nature, girlhood, beauty, violence, oppression, and sexual agency.

IDS 2456. Who is Human? Culture, Gender and Human Rights (3). This course examines the assumptions underlying arguments about culture, gender and human rights. In particular, students explore, compare, and evaluate fundamental issues in philosophy of human rights.

IDS 2462. Human Nature: Modern and Contemporary Perspectives (3). This course explores and evaluates accounts of human nature that historically influential philosophers have given to the question of human nature and the ways in which their answers are reflected in contemporary debates about what we are.

IDS 2611. Classical Philosophy of India (3). This course engages with the Classical Period in Indian Philosophy through discussion and evaluation of the main claims and arguments of philosophical activity in India to see what students find plausible and what they do not, and to argue for their own responses.

IDS 2675. Philosophy and Film (3). This course uses movies as a vehicle for discussing philosophical issues, such as, the nature of existence, the problem of knowledge, the existence of God, and the rules for proper conduct.

IDS 3179. Ethics Through Art (3). This course is a philosophical investigation into the relationship between ethics and art. We will focus on the following questions: Can art contain ethical content in a way that furthers the philosophical investigation of ethics? Can some works of art help us develop ethical awareness? Does all art by its nature have ethical content, or can art be amoral?

IDS 3320. Human Nature: The War Within (3). This course explores questions about what it means to be human from an interdisciplinary and historical perspective.

IDS 3358. Making the Argument: Symbolic Logic and the Forms of Good Reasoning (3). This course is an examination of the fundamentals of modern symbolic logic (propositional and predicate calculi), with special attention to: (a) symbolizing arguments and evaluating them using both the rules of a system of natural deduction, and semantic method; and (b) explaining the canons of good reasoning, critiquing weak arguments, and developing stronger ones.

IDS 3364. Yesses and Noes: The Ethics of Consent (3). This course provides a critical philosophical examination of consent and the role of consent in everyday life. In the first half of the course, students examine theoretical perspectives on the nature and moral force of consent. In the second half of the course, students examine issues of consent in a broad range of applied contexts.

PHI 2010. Introduction to Philosophy (3). This course introduces some of the central problems in philosophy. Students also learn how to construct and criticize arguments and develop their own philosophical positions.

PHI 2016. Philosophy Through Film (3). This course is an introduction to a broad range of philosophical topics using film as a vehicle for discussion. Philosophical topics may include issues in Ethics, Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, Epistemology, Philosophy of Religion, and/or Political Philosophy. A variety of films are used to raise important philosophical questions and to help in understanding primary philosophical texts that seek to answer these questions.

PHI 2100. Reasoning and Critical Thinking (3). This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the logical foundation of arguments and decisions. The course emphasizes acquisition of the skills necessary to construct clear, persuasive arguments. Students practice using reasoning to support conclusions and decisions. Students also evaluate reasons, data, arguments and conclusions presented in a variety of everyday circumstances.

PHI 2620. Environmental Ethics (3). This course focuses on philosophical issues raised by environmental problems and the sciences designed to resolve them. The course also analyzes the historical development of environmental perspectives and the ethical theories that have been generated by these approaches.

PHI 2630. Ethical Issues and Life Choices (3). This course draws on ethical theories to explore the major ethical issues that one faces as one makes decisions about the kinds of activities to engage in and the kind of life to lead. Issues such as those involving life and death (e.g., abortion, euthanasia, animal rights) and social justice (e.g. discrimination, responsibility to future generations) are examined.

PHI 2635. Bioethics (3). This course is an examination of the philosophical foundations of bioethical theory and an exploration of the trenchant issues in contemporary bioethics with a concentration on discussions of race, gender, and vulnerable populations (e.g. the poor, immigrants). The course employs tools of ethical theory, philosophical analysis, and analytic writing to examine a number of moral issues arising in health care including justice in health care, experimentation and research on human subjects, reproductive technology, aging, organ donation, and euthanasia. Throughout the course we examine assumptions about rights, persons, and ethical principles at work in medical decisions.

PHI 3130. Introduction to Symbolic Logic (3). This course examines the fundamentals of modern symbolic logic (propositional and predicate calculi), with special attention to the evaluation of symbolized arguments using the techniques of natural deduction. Topics include validity, soundness, proof, symbolization, truth-tables, truth-trees, and truth-functional and quantificational inference.

PHI 3220. Introduction to Philosophy of Language (3). This course explores major philosophical contributions to the understanding of language and its functions in communication. Discussion of the concepts of meaning, truth, reference, understanding, and interpretation. Readings include classics of 20th century philosophy.

PHI 3300. Knowledge and Belief (3). This course critically analyzes contemporary theories about the fundamentals of human knowledge: what ought to count as knowledge; how we get it; the roles of certainty, doubt, and skepticism; and the means by which we might maximize it.

PHI 3320. Philosophy of Mind (3). This course analyzes the central issues in the philosophy of mind. Topics may include: the mind-body problem, the unity of the mind, the nature of consciousness, artificial intelligence, and free will.

PHI 3330. Free Will (3). This course covers a number of different philosophical positions on free will and moral responsibility, and some of the arguments for and against these positions.

PHI 3331. Philosophy of Action (3). The philosophy of action lies at the intersection of the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and ethics. Questions examined in this course include the following: How are intentional human actions to be explained? What is t to do something intentionally? How should we analyze or understand such concepts as intention, desire, and reason for action and related concepts featured in ordinary explanations of intentional actions? What is motivation, and how are actions motivated? What is it to act freely, or of one's own free will? Under what conditions are we morally responsible for what we do?

PHI 3400. History and Philosophy of Science (3). This course provides a close look at some of the crucial philosophical problems of the sciences as they have developed throughout history, from Aristotle through Galileo, Pasteur, and Einstein, including what methods count as scientific, along with a consideration of how science has changed the world and the role of values.

PHI 3452. Philosophy of Biology (3). This course introduces the major debates in philosophy of biology, including those surrounding the extended evolutionary synthesis, laws of evolution, units of selection, adaptationism, specification, etc. This course brings together the biological sciences and the tools of analytic philosophy to better understand some of the theoretical problems in biology.

PHI 3641. Business Ethics (3). This course consists of an identification and a discussion of defensible solutions for moral and ethical problems as they arise in the conduct of business and economic transactions. International business settings and the ethical problems arising from the need to design products and services that appeal to diverse national and world populations are considered.

PHI 3670. Ethical Theory (3). This course studies the nature of morality and moral reasoning through critical analyses of the writings of classical and contemporary ethical theorists directed to answering the questions, "What is good?" and "What ought I to do?"

PHI 3700. Philosophy of Religion (3). This course is an analysis of major issues in philosophy of religion. Topics may include the rationality of religious belief, faith, religious experience, religious language, evil, and the relation between religion and morality. Also offered by the Department of Religion.

PHI 3800. Philosophy of the Arts (3). This course introduces students to central issues in philosophy of the arts and aesthetics. Topics may include the nature of beauty, the nature of art, realism in painting, interpretation in literature, the nature of dance, and expressiveness in music. Readings include both historical and contemporary sources.

PHI 3881. Philosophy of Music (3). This course is an introduction to the contemporary literature regarding the philosophy of music. Questions posed include: What is music? Does music express emotions? How is music to be evaluated? How does one "understand" music? Why can cross-cultural understanding of music be difficult? What constitutes an authentic performance?

PHI 3882. Philosophy in Literature (3). This course explores how metaphysical and moral ideas function within the structure of selected novels and plays.

PHI 3930r. Selected Topics (1–3). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

PHI 4083. Research in Philosophy (3). Prerequisites: Philosophy major status, completion of at least two upper division philosophy courses, and instructor permission. This course provides students with the opportunity for an in-depth research experience. Students choose the topic and reading list for the research in consultation with the instructor.

PHI 4134. Modern Logic I (3). Prerequisite: PHI 3130 or equivalent or instructor permission. This course is an intermediate course in modern symbolic logic, with special attention to the semantic evaluation of symbolized arguments. Topics include schemata and interpretation, models, satisfiability, normal forms, expressive completeness, proof procedures, metalogical laws, and soundness and completeness theorems.

PHI 4137. Modern Logic II (3). Prerequisite: PHI 4134. This course is an advanced course in modern symbolic logic. Topics discussed include the compactness theorem, the logic of identity, names and descriptions, second-order logic, type theory, the ancestral, the Frege-Russell definition of natural number, and Gödel's incompleteness results.

PHI 4500. Metaphysics (3). This course takes critical consideration of recent philosophical work from a variety of points of view on the question of what exists; for example: matter, mind, time, space, universal properties, causes, and essences.

PHI 4905r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). May be repeated to a maximum of six semester hours.

PHI 4912r. Honors Work (3). May be repeated to a maximum of twelve semester hours.

PHI 4930r. Philosophical Problems (3). This course examines selected philosophical problems from an advanced point of view. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

PHI 4938r. Seminar for Majors (3). This course is a variable-content seminar for majors to do in-depth work in selected philosophical topics/areas and to practice writing a substantive philosophical paper.

PHI 4999r. Tutorial in Philosophy (1–3). This course consists of critical readings and discussions of important classical and contemporary philosophical texts. Variable content. Variable credit: one to two semester hours for a reading course; two to three semester hours for a reading course with substantial writing. May be repeated with instructor permission to a maximum of twelve semester hours.

History of Philosophy

PHH 3061. Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy (3). This course surveys Western philosophy from the third to the 16th century, beginning with the work of Christian, Jewish, and Arabic philosophers, and then turning to the rise of humanism, individualism, and science.

PHH 3130. Plato and His Predecessors (3). This course focuses on Ancient Greek philosophy from its beginnings to the work of one of its greatest practitioners. Questions posed include: What is there? What can I know about it? What should I do?

PHH 3140. Aristotle to Augustine (3). This course focuses on philosophy from the "Master of Those Who Knew" (Aristotle) through to the end of the ancient world and the dominance of Christianity. Topics include: the structure of the world order, God, man's place.

PHH 3400. Modern Philosophy (3). This course is a critical study of the theories of 17th- and 18th-century Western philosophers through a careful examination of representative texts from both the empiricist and rationalist traditions.

PHH 3500. 19th-Century Philosophy (3). This course explores diverse styles, ideas, and systems of such philosophers as Hegel, Kierkegaard, Schopenhauer, Marx, Mill, Bradley, and Nietzsche.

PHH 3700r. American Philosophy (3). This course examines major trends in American philosophy from Jonathan Edwards through 19th- and 20th-century American idealism and the pragmatic movement with emphasis on Peirce, James, and Dewey. May be repeated once with the permission of the instructor to a maximum of six semester hours.

PHH 4600r. Contemporary Philosophy (3). This course surveys the main recent philosophical movements through selected central representatives. Those considered may include Frege and his background, Russell and Moore, early Wittgenstein, logical positivists and their successors, Husserl and his phenomenology, Heidegger, Sartre, later Wittgenstein and his successors. May be repeated with instructor permission to a maximum of nine semester hours.

Social and Political Philosophy

PHI 3162. Logic and the Law (3). This course is an in-depth examination of the application of logic in a legal context with special emphasis on methods of inductive reasoning, such as analogical and casual reasoning. The course focuses on the construction and presentation of written arguments, and the evaluation of arguments from both historical and contemporary legal decision.

PHM 2121. Philosophy of Race, Class, and Gender (3). In this course, students study selected contemporary philosophical, literary, and journalistic discussions of questions regarding race, class, and gender with a particular emphasis on the status of these discussions in the United States. Students also survey theoretical accounts of the concepts of race, class and gender, as well as their interrelatedness, and examine their application to various contemporary social issues.

PHM 2300. Introduction to Political Philosophy (3). This course introduces students to the main issues in political philosophy: the justification of political authority, role of law, political obligation, neocolonialism, disobedience, revolution, rights, the appropriate ends of government, patterns of distribution and justice.

PHM 3020. Philosophy of Sex (3). This course is an examination of the contemporary philosophical debates about sex and sexual relationships. Topics include, but are not limited to how to define sex, the distinction between 'normal' and 'abnormal' sex, sexual exploitation and objectification, sexual consent, the relationship between sex and the meaning of life, and the nature of romantic love.

PHM 3123. Philosophy of Feminism (3). This course is a comprehensive survey of the most important schools of thought and issues in feminist philosophy, with emphasis on feminist politics and ethics. Liberal, socialist, Marxist, and radical feminism and their differing views about equality and subjection are discussed. Criticisms of now traditional theories from women of color and of "difference" theorists are analyzed. Also considered are problems of particular concern to feminists: the family, sexuality, occupational freedom, harassment, rape, pornography, and domestic violence.

PHM 3331r. Modern Political Thought (3). This course focuses on major political ideas of the modern world emphasized through a study of selected political theorists such as Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Hume, Burke, Hegel, Marx, Engels, Bentham, Mill, Jefferson, Madison, Lenin, and Mussolini. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours. Also offered by the Department of Political Science.

PHM 3351. Philosophy of Human Rights (3). This course is a survey of philosophical discussion of human rights and the moral and political questions arising from their violations. We examine the philosophical foundations for human rights claims, as well as women's human rights, political evil and mass atrocities. We analyze questions of justice and forgiveness in the context of social healing and democratization.

PHM 3400. Philosophy of Law (3). This course is a comprehensive survey of the most important schools of thought, traditional problems, and current issues in Anglo-American philosophy of law. Chief theories discussed are natural law, positivism, realism (including the law and economics movement), and critical legal studies (including race and gender theory). Also explored are different views about the interpretation of law and the role of the judiciary in American politics. Includes analysis of legal cases and consideration of issues such as justice, equality, liberty, privacy, and punishment.

PHM 4340r. Contemporary Political Thought (3). This course is an exploration of a set of issues, a trend, or a school of thought in contemporary political philosophy. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours. Also offered by the Department of Political Science.

Philosophers and Schools

PHP 3510. Introduction to Marxist Philosophy (3). This course is a critical overview of the premises and theses of Marxism concerning the understanding of history, economic realities, political struggles, and ideologies as found in the principle works of its founders.

PHP 3786r. Existentialism (3). This course introduces students to existential philosophy through detailed and critical analysis of selected major works in the field with special attention to Heidegger and/or Sartre. May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

PHP 4930r. Studies in Major Philosophers (3). This course is a detailed study of a major philosopher (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Kant, etc.) or school of philosophy (e.g., the Stoics, the Marxists). May be repeated to a maximum of nine semester hours.

Graduate Courses

PHH 5105r. Greek Philosophy (3).

PHH 5405r. Modern Philosophy (3).

PHH 5505r. 19th-Century Philosophy (3).

PHH 5609r. Contemporary Philosophy (3).

PHH 6009r. Studies in the History of Philosophy (3).

PHI 5135. Modern Logic I (3).

PHI 5136r. Modern Logic II (3).

PHI 5555. Core Course in Metaphysics and Epistemology (3).

PHI 5665. Core Course in Ethics (3).

PHI 5908r. Directed Individual Study (1–3). (S/U grade only.)

PHI 5913r. Supervised Research (1–5). (S/U grade only.)

PHI 5934r. Topics in Philosophy (3).

PHI 5945r. Supervised Teaching (1–5). (S/U grade only.)

PHI 5956. Introduction to Philosophical Methods (3).

PHI 5998r. Tutorial in Philosophy (1–3).

PHI 6205r. Philosophical Logic (3).

PHI 6225r. Philosophy of Language (3).

PHI 6306r. Epistemology (3).

PHI 6325r. Philosophy of Mind (3).

PHI 6406r. Philosophy of Science (3).

PHI 6425r. Philosophy of Social Sciences (3).

PHI 6455. Philosophy of Biology: Basic Topics (3).

PHI 6457r. Philosophy of Biology: Selected Topics (3).

PHI 6506r. Metaphysics (3).

PHI 6607r. Ethics (3).

PHI 6935r. Seminar in Philosophical Topics (3).

PHM 6205r. Social and Political Philosophy (3).

For listings relating to graduate coursework for thesis, dissertation, and master's and doctoral examinations and defense, consult the Graduate Bulletin.


see also Religion


see Art