The minor in Philosophy provides students with an understanding of the principles, methods, and areas of application of contemporary philosophy. Philosophers study conceptual questions within and between the humanities, arts and sciences: What is art? What is justice? What is the relation between mind and brain? Philosophy at UC Merced combines a traditional curriculum with an emphasis on these interdisciplinary linkages. Because of this, students should be able to use their training in philosophy to complement their other coursework and to identify connections between their various areas of study.
Program Learning Outcomes
Upon graduation, we expect students minoring in Philosophy to have gained experience in and be capable of doing each of the following:
- Criticize philosophical arguments, including arguments presented in classic texts and in contemporary philosophical literature.
- Present well-defined claims of one's own, to give clear philosophical arguments in defense of these claims, and to respond to critical objections others might raise against these claims.
- Distinguish between logically valid and invalid deductive arguments, and be able to identify additional premises or logical relationships that could transform an invalid argument into a valid argument.
- Use philosophy in an interdisciplinary way, for example, by philosophically analyzing non-philosophical texts (e.g. texts from literature, history, psychology, or physics), or by using formal methodological tools, such as mathematical and computer models, in the analysis of philosophical problems.
Additionally, we expect students minoring in Philosophy to have gained experience in and be capable of doing at least two of the following:
- Provide and assess evidence for causal claims and identify various fallacies in inductive reasoning (e.g. sample bias)
- Distinguish between descriptive and normative philosophical claims, and to use certain descriptive claims either to support or to criticize certain normative claims.
- Appreciate how the discipline of philosophy has developed over time in response to internal challenges and to advances in science and changes in social life. (E.g., the renaissance in philosophy of mind was stimulated in part by the development of contemporary artificial intelligence).
Graduates from the Philosophy program are working in a variety of professional settings including as administrators in medical companies. One now works as a Washington correspondent with a talk radio station. We congratulate our graduates in their after-college endeavors. If you have an alumni update to share, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations so we can share your success!