Welcome to Philosophy at Pierce College!




Why study philosophy?

Develop the skills you'll need to succeed in any endeavor! When you study philosophy you:

  • Improve your critical thinking skills
  • Improve your expository and analytical writing skills
  • Improve your reading skills and
  • Improve your argumentation skills.

Philosophy is about the fundamental questions and concerns central to our lives. What is truth? What is knowledge? How should we live? What is beauty? Is math real? Philosophy is also about how these and other questions are asked and answered in subjects like computer science, psychology, and biology.

What can you do with a philosophy degree?

(Hint: Anything!)

That's right! Former Pierce Philosophy majors have gone on to careers in law, education, business, and the arts, among others. For more information on what you can do with a philosophy major, check out this website.

Do philosophy majors transfer to the UC and CSU systems?

  • The Philosophy Department offers CSU and UC Transfer general education course requirements, and general education college transfer courses to most public and private four-year colleges and universities.
  • Pierce College Philosophy majors typically transfer to UC Berkeley, UCLA, and CSUN. We also have graduates who transfer to UC Santa Cruz, Columbia University, and USC, among other institutions.



Dr. Cara Gillis
(818) 710-2256
FO 2603
Philosophy & Sociology
Humanities & Communication
Social & Behavioral Sciences

Full-Time Faculty

Dr. Cara Gills

Dr. Christopher Lay

Dr. Melanie McQuitty

Dr. Mia Wood

Part-Time Faculty

Fahmee El'Amin

Dr. Miguel Endara

Dr. Melissa Gulick

Paul Hicks

Michael Rooney

Vanessa Schultz

James Singer


Philosophy Courses

Students analyze some of the fundamental issues of philosophy and humanity that includes topics such as knowledge and reality, the foundations of truth and science, and the nature of human consciousness and self.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 hours • C-ID: PHIL 100)

Students study and evaluate some of the traditional and contemporary theories in social and political philosophy, covering topics such as rights, governments, social institutions, citizenship, and distributive justice.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 hours)

Students develop and refine the critical thinking skills necessary to formulate and evaluate argumentative essays. Critical writing about philosophical and logical concepts that are applicable to any systematic thinking is emphasized.

(CSU GE Area A3 • IGETC Area 1B • Lecture 3 hours • Prerequisite: English 101 with a grade of “C” or better • May be offered as an honors section)

Students learn how to understand, evaluate, and distinguish arguments and explanations by applying accepted standards of good reasoning. Students will learn techniques to recognize deductively valid arguments and avoid fallacies. They will also consider what is required for inductively strong arguments in order to avoid informal fallacies. There is particular emphasis on the appeals made in advertising and political rhetoric.

(CSU GE Area A3 • Lecture 3 Hours)

This course covers both propositional and quantificational logic through to first-order predicates and identity. Students analyze techniques for representing truth-functional statements using letters and symbols, determining the validity of arguments using such statements, and demonstrating validity through formal proofs using a natural deduction system.

(CSU GE Area A3 • Lecture 3 Hours • C-ID: PHIL 210)

This course introduces the student to a rigorous overview of ancient Greek thought starting with pre-Socratic philosophers and, as time permits, ending with Greco-Roman philosophy of the later ancient period. Major emphasis is placed on the works of Plato and Aristotle. Students read primary source materials, engage in careful analysis of the texts through class discussions and written assignments, and develop a solid conceptual foundation for further study in philosophy. This conceptual foundation is both historical, in terms of the development of ideas from one era or school to the next, but also in terms of the philosophical problems identified and addressed.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours • C-ID: PHIL 130)

Students study western philosophy from the 16th to the 18th centuries. The course explores the rise of modern science, continental rationalism and British empiricism, and completes the historical developments with Kant.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours • C-ID: PHIL 140)

In this course students read, analyze, and discuss recent philosophical developments in Continental and/or Anglo-American philosophy with readings from such figures as Nietzsche, Heidegger, Husserl, Derrida, Foucault, Gadamer, Ricouer, Habermas, Russell, Wittgenstein, Dewey, Quine, Davidson, and Rorty.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students are introduced to some of the traditional ethical theories and how they apply to contemporary biomedical ethical problems. Topics to be discussed will include some of the following; abortion, euthanasia, suicide, organ donation, informed consent, allocation of scarce resources, genetic engineering, human and animal research, stem cell research, and cloning.

(CSU GE Area C2 or E • IGETC Area 3B) • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students consider human conduct, study the rules and institutions of moral order, and philosophically examine a range of today’s moral issues, such as the just distribution of the social good, abortion, euthanasia, the environment, war, and world hunger.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours • C-ID: PHIL 120)

Students study the relationship between human beings and the environment, in particular human obligations to the environment. The focus is on “traditional” normative theories of ethics, morality, and rights, as applied to issues involving the environment and animals, and on a critical examination of environmental ethical theories with consideration of the value and moral status of the environment (animals, plants, ecosystems).

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students will explore and analyze the history and key teachings of the philosophical traditions of East and South Asia with emphasis on Confucianism, Daoism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students consider the mind and its relationship to the body and the world by examining both broad theoretical approaches like dualism, identity theories, reductive materialism, and functionalism and narrower topics such as representation, perception, qualia, intentionality, and consciousness.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B)

Students are introduced to the meaning of art, the meaning of beauty, truth in art, creativity and art, various philosophical theories regarding the nature of art. (CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours • May be offered as an honors section)

This course studies the literary medium as it is employed to express and explore philosophical themes such as freedom, determinism, moral responsibility, and alienation. Each particular class also allows for a review of literature of a relatively specific milieu, for example, twentieth century existentialism. Cognate concepts from literary criticism, psychology and religion are utilized for understanding selected literary works, although no background in any of these fields is required.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students examine film as philosophy, as a philosophical statement by the filmmaker via his or her art form, covering the traditional philosophical problems within the human condition, such as the very meaning of that human condition, reality, self, morality, mortality, along with other questions within the human quest that come under the role of philosophy. Students also examine film philosophically, as a topic for philosophical inquiry.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Students will analyze the major themes in the history of existentialism, as well as identify the contributions existentialist thinkers have made to our contemporary understanding of human existence and humanity's place in the cosmos.

(CSU GE Area C2 • IGETC Area 3B • Lecture 3 Hours)

Each course allows students to pursue directed study in Philosophy on a contract basis under the direction of a supervising instructor:

  • 185  Directed Study - Philosophy (1 unit)
  • 285 Directed Study - Philosophy (2 units)
  • 385 Directed Study - Philosophy (3 units)

(CSU Transfer • Conference 1 hour per unit.)

Earn Your Associate Degree for Transfer!

Associate Degree For Transfer Banner

Earning an AA-T or AS-T provides a number of benefits for students planning to transfer into the California State University (CSU) system, including:

  • Guaranteed admission into the CSU system (no guarantee to a specific campus)
  • Allows students to use the same GE and Major Prep courses for transfer to some CSU campuses
  • Guarantees a 60 unit (Los Angeles Pierce College) + 60 (CSU) unit pathway to CSU graduation

To get the full benefit, students must:

  • Apply to a CSU in a major that is deemed similar to the major at Los Angels Pierce College (LAPC)
  • Indicate on their CSU application that they will complete the AA-T or AS-T
  • Petition for degree verification early by making an appointment with a Counselor