Areas of Emphasis

Areas of Emphasis

The four optional Areas of Emphasis are available to help students focus their courses on a certain area of philosophy. Courses taken to complete an Area of Emphasis are counted toward the 15 courses required for the major. Completing an Area of Emphasis requires majors to pass 5 courses from one area. Minors may complete an Area of Emphasis by taking 4 of their 7 courses from one area. 

Laws, Ethics and Society

This area targets the nature and source of our moral rights and obligations, the authority of the state and law, the basis of value and goodness. Several courses in this area target ethical issues in medicine, the environment, technological change, economic inequality, and matters concerning race, gender, class, ethnicity, and nationality. In this area, students will learn how moral and legal reasoning can reshape the political debates over abortion, the death penalty, privacy on the internet, genetic testing, religious tolerance, free speech, affirmative action and other issues. This area is excellent preparation for law school as well as for postgraduate study and careers in public policy.

148. Philosophy and the Environment

152. Philosophy of Social Science

160. Ethical Theory

161. Topics in the History of Ethics

162. Contemporary Moral Issues

163. Biomedical Ethics

164. Technology and Human Values

166. Classics in Political Philosophy

167. Contemporary Political Philosophy

168. Philosophy of Law

170. Philosophy and Race

Science, Technology and Medicine

This area focuses on the insights and challenges presented by science. Modern science and technologies affect our view of ourselves and of nature, introducing novel promises and problems. For instance, how do we balance technical, economic, environmental, and ethical values in making decisions concerning which technologies or drugs to develop? Modern science has also changed our understanding of nature. Quantum physics, the genetic revolution, and neuroscience (to name a few) present problems and have important implications for human life. Finally, there are questions about science itself. What are the methods of modern science? Do they vary from one science to another? Can the sciences be value free? This area will appeal especially to those students interested in pursuing careers in philosophy, science, clinical medicine, medical research, the social sciences, science journalism and public policy.

123. Philosophy of Logic

145. Philosophy of Science

146. Philosophy of Physics

147. Philosophy of Biology

148. Philosophy and the Environment

149. Philosophy of Psychology

150. Philosophy of Cognitive Science

151. Philosophy of Neuroscience

152. Philosophy of Social Science

163. Biomedical Ethics

164. Technology and Human Values

Mind, Brain and Cognitive Science

Traditional Epistemology (the theory of how and what we know) and Philosophy of Mind (the theory of that-which-perceives-and-thinks) have recently been joined by several scientific disciplines in a collective search for illuminating theories. Psychology, cognitive neurobiology, computer science, and sociology, have all made explosive contributions to a tradition as old as Plato and Aristotle. For example, our growing understanding of the biological brain has given new life to our traditional attempts to understand the nature of the Mind. New accounts of the various mechanisms of cognition - both at the cellular and the social levels - have provided entirely new perspectives on the nature of consciousness, the self, knowledge and free will, and on the nature of science itself. This area is excellent preparation for careers in cognitive science, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, science journalism and philosophy.

132. Epistemology

134. Philosophy of Language

136. Philosophy of Mind

145. Philosophy of Science

147. Philosophy of Biology

149. Philosophy of Psychology

150. Philosophy of Cognitive Science

151. Philosophy of Neuroscience

180. Phenomenology

Historical Perspectives on Philosophy, Science and Religion

Throughout its history, philosophy has developed in a complex relationship with the natural sciences and religion. Philosophical ideas have both contributed to and challenged our understanding of nature and God, and developments in the sciences and religion have posed new challenges for philosophical thinking. The Historical Perspective emphasis focuses on the fertile interplay between philosophy, science, and religion in several key periods: Ancient Greece, the Scientific Revolution, and Enlightenment and Post-Enlightenment Europe. The aim is not simply to document the history of philosophical ideas, but to use this history as a way of better understanding contemporary debates about the basic questions of human life. This area prepares students for post-graduate work in philosophy, and for any career that requires breadth of knowledge, intellectual flexibility, as well as communicative and analytical skills.

100. Plato

101. Aristotle

102. Hellenistic Philosophy

104. The Rationalists

105. The Empiricists

106. Kant

107. Hegel

108. Nineteenth Century Philosophy

109. History of Analytic Philosophy

161. Topics in the History of Ethics

166. Classics in Political Philosophy

180. Phenomenology

181. Existentialism

183. Topics in Continental Philosophy

Staff Contact
Nancy E. Guerrero
Undergrad Program Coordinator
Phone: (858) 534-3077
neguerrero@ucsd.edu

Advising Hours: M-F
9-11AM and 1-3PM