To view courses offered currently or in the past, please visit the USC course schedule.

PHIL 100g: Central Problems of Philosophy (4 units)
Explores questions about human beings and their place in nature, including questions about knowledge, mind and body, freedom and determinism, and the existence of God.

PHIL 101: Free People, Free Thought, and Free Markets (4 units)
The philosophical foundations of modern political and economic thought, including economic rationality, neoclassical economics, free-market vs. socialist economies, and behavioral economics.

PHIL 102g: Historical Introduction of Philosophy (4 units)
Introduction to the central philosophical works that have shaped western thought.  Includes ancient, early modern and contemporary writings.

PHIL 103g: Philosophy, Politics and Economics in Europe, from Renaissance to Enlightenment (4 units)
Introduction to the central ideas of philosophy, science, politics and economics in western European history between 1450 and 1800.

PHIL 104g: Ancient Foundations of Western Thought (4 units)
Explores writings of ancient philosophers who first raised, and continue to influence our thinking about, fundamental questions concerning nature, knowledge, justice, happiness, and death. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 115g)

PHIL 110g: Modern Foundations of Western Thought (4 units)
Explores the writings of philosophers, From Descartes to Kant, who responded to, and helped to shape, the scientific and political upheavals of the modern period. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 101g.)

PHIL 120g: Introduction to Formal Logic (4 units)
Introduces formal tools for distinguishing between good and bad arguments or inferences. Covers both propositional logic and predicate logic. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 250a/b)

PHIL 122g (a&b) Reasoning and Argument (2-2 units)
Techniques for constructing good arguments and for assessing and criticizing the arguments of others. (Duplicates credit in former PHIL 351)

PHIL 130g: the Physical World and Our Place in It (4 units)
This course explores basic questions about the nature of reality. Topics may include personal identity, freedom and determinism, causation and the laws of nature.

PHIL 138g: Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion (4 units)
Explores arguments for and against the existence of God, as well as questions about the nature and rationality of faith.

PHIL 141g: The Professions and the Public Interest in American Life (4 units)
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.

PHIL 166g: Current Moral and Social Issues (4 units)
Critical study of controversial moral and social issues such as abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, war and terrorism, sexual morality, affirmative action and economic justice. (Duplicates credit in former 140g.)

PHIL 168g: The Meaning of Life (4 units)
This course explores philosophical treatments of the problem of the meaning or purpose of human life. (Duplicates credit in former 155g.)

PHIL 172g: Social Ethics for Earthlings and Others (4 units)
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.(Duplicates credit in former PHIL 137.)

PHIL 174g: Freedom, Equality and Social Justice (4 units)
Explores the nature of justice, and how apparently conflicting ideals, such as freedom and equality, are to be balanced within a just society.

PHIL 178g: Moral Dilemmas in the Legal Domain (4 units)
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. (Duplicates credit in former PHIL 135.)

PHIL 222g: Logic and Language (4 units)
Introduces symbolic logic and explores its applications to the philosophy of language, plus meta-logical and philosophical results about its scope and limits. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 352.)

PHIL 236g: Issues in Space and Time (4 units)
What is time? What is the difference between past, present and future?  Is time-travel possible? And what paradoxes might it give rise to? (Duplicates credit in former Phil 286).

PHIL 240g: Mind, Self and Consciousness (4 units)
Explores philosophical questions about the human mind and consciousness, and how they relate to the brain and to the physical world more generally. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 262g.)

PHIL 246g: Foundations in Cognitive Science (4 units)
This course is an introduction to research in interdisciplinary cognitive science, highlighting ideas and methods from philosophy, psychology, linguistics, neuroscience, and computer science.

PHIL 252: The Ways of Paradox (4 units)
Focusing on selected paradoxes in science and philosophy calling into question common views of infinity, space and time, causation and rational belief and action.

PHIL 254g: Science, Knowledge and Objectivity (4 units)
How does science differ from pseudo-science?  When is it rational to accept a scientific theory?And do such theories provide genuine knowledge of reality?

PHIL 255pg: Existentialism in Philosophy, Literature, and Film (4 units)
A study of existentialist philosophy and its influence in 19th and 20th century culture, including both literature and film. Focus on works by Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Sartre, Beauvoir, Dostoevsky, Godard, and others.

PHIL 256g: Science, Religion and the Making of the Modern Mind (4 units)
Explores the philosophical and religious implication of major scientific revolutions, such as those of Copernicus, Galileo and Darwin. (Duplicates credit in former Phil 220g)

PHIL 258g: Probability and Rational Choice (4 units)
Explores formal tools for thinking about uncertainty.  In an uncertain world, how is it rational to form our beliefs, make decisions, and interact with others?

PHIL 260g: Ethical Theory and Practice (4 units)
Explores various conceptions of morality and what makes actions right or wrong, together with the implication of these views for concrete ethical issues.

PHIL/ENGR 265 Ethics, Technology, and Value (4 units)
Introduces and explores philosophical and ethical questions and theories related to technology, including biomedical technologies, internet applications and artificial intelligence.

PHIL 284g: Ideas on Trial (4 units)
Historically significant trials, from the trial of Socrates to the present day, understood as vehicles for the expression of deep social and cultural attitudes.

PHIL 288gp: Love and its Representations in Western Literature, Philosophy, and Film (4 units)
Key works that have shaped the European and American cultural inheritance, with a special focus on the nature of love (and marriage or domesticity). (Duplicates credit in former PHIL 225.)

PHIL 311: The Quest for the Individual in Early Modern Europe (4 units)
The legal, religious, economic, and philosophical bases of the rise of individualism from its roots in ancient times through its development in Europe from the 15th through the 18th centuries.

PHIL 314: The Origins of Free Market Thought in Early Modern Europe (4 units)
The varied history of ideas of a free market from Cicero, through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, to the Enlightenment, Adam Smith, Colbert, and beyond.

PHIL 315: History of Western Philosophy: Ancient Period (4 units)
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 units)
Central themes in Jewish, Christian and Islamic philosophy from late antiquity through the scholastic period.

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

PHIL 336: Philosophy of Mind and Language (4 units)
We explore how language shapes thought, how social norms impact meaning and communication, the nature of speech acts, with applications to hate speech and pornography.

PHIL 337: Political Philosophy (4 units)
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 units)
(Enroll in ECON 338) Contending politico-economic perspectives in modern Western thought and culture; absolutist, liberal, democratic, Marxist, anarchist, and other traditions, topics and issues.

PHIL 339: Philosophy of Economics (4 units)
Central topics in the philosophy of economics, including models of economic rationality, the aggregation of preferences, and the conditions in which markets yield undesirable outcomes.

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

PHIL 347: Philosophy in Literature (4 units)
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 units)
Introduction to basic techniques of propositional and quantificational logic, and elements of probability. Especially useful to philosophy, mathematics, science, and engineering majors.

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

PHIL 361: Philosophy of Religion (4 units)
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 362: Possible Worlds (4 units)
Introduction to possible worlds as a tool for asking and answering questions about what might be, what must be, and what can never be.

PHIL 363: Philosophy of Perception (4 units)
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 units)
Examination of the rationality of the scientific enterprise, and of the relation between science and human values.

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

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

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

PHIL 416: The Ancient Stoics (4 units)
A study of Stoicism, the ancient Greek and Roman Stoics’ theories about the cosmos, psychology, knowledge, ethics, fate and philosophy as “medicine for the soul.”

PHIL 421: Continental Rationalism (4 units)
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 units)
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 units)
Intensive study of the philosophical works of Kant.

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

PHIL 427: 20th Century Anglo-American Philosophy (4 units)
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 units)
Covers the period starting with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ‘Philosophical Investigations’ and continues through Saul Kripke’s ‘Naming and Necessity’, and beyond.

PHIL 430: Philosophy of Law (4 units)
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 units)
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 units)
The nature of man and society, the nature of justification of state and government, political rights and political obligation, justice and equality.

PHIL 440: Contemporary Ethical Theory (4 units)
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 units)
An historical and critical study of the great moral philosophers, including Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and the British moralists.

PHIL 443: Value Theory (4 units)
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 units)
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 units)
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: The Limits of Logic (4 units) 

Systematic study of the formal limits on what can be counted, expressed in language, systematically computed, or rigorously proved, including Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems.

PHIL 452: Modal Logic (4 units)

Elements of propositional and quantified modal logic and the logic of counterfactual conditionals with an eye to some of their applications in contemporary philosophy.

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

PHIL 460: Metaphysics (4 units)
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 units)

Examination of contemporary theories of mind and its place in the natural world.

PHIL 463: Theories of Action (4 units)

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 units)
The nature of communication, meaning, reference, truth, necessity, speech acts, convention, and language.

PHIL 467: Language, Linguistics, and Mind (4 units)
Topics of current interest at the crossroads of philosophy of language, philosophy of mind and linguistics.

PHIL 470: Theory of Knowledge (4 units)
Discussion of the nature and scope of human knowledge; consideration of such concepts as meaning, evidence, perception, belief, and certainty.

PHIL 471: Metaphysics and Epistemology (4 units)
Capstone course: Classic issues in epistemology and the philosophy of language, leading up to the application of context-sensitivity in language to the problem of skepticism.

PHIL 472: Moral Philosophy (4 units)
Capstone course: 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.

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

PHIL 475: Topics in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (4 units)

The analysis of public policy debates combining the different tools and perspectives of philosophy, political science and economic theory.

PHIL 480: Philosophy of Mathematics (4 units)

The nature of mathematical truth and the nature of mathematical entities.

PHIL 484: Philosophy of Physics (4 units)
A comprehensive introduction to two of the central areas of modern philosophy of physics: the philosophy of spacetime, and the philosophy of quantum mechanics.

PHIL 485: Development of Physical Science (4 units)
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 units)
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 490: Directed Research (2-8, max 8 units)
Individual research and readings. Not available for graduate credit. Prerequisite: departmental approval.

PHIL 494: Senior Thesis (4 units)
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 495: Honors Capstone (4 units)
In-depth study synthesizing important recent developments in one or more central areas of philosophy pursued at a beginning graduate level.

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


Mailing Address
USC School of Philosophy
Mudd Hall of Philosophy (MHP) Room 113
3709 Trousdale Parkway
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0451

Phone 213-740-4084
Fax 213-740-5174


Ralph Wedgwood

Vice Chair
Alexis Wellwood

Director of Graduate Studies
Robin Jeshion

Graduate Admissions
John Hawthorne

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Shieva Kleinschmidt


Academic Program Administrator
Natalie Schaad

Office Administrative Assistant
Donna Lugo

Office Administrative Assistant
J.G.N. Nikolai