Bachelor of Arts
Undergraduate Minor
Office Phone: (217) 206-6790
ffice Location: UHB 3010

Departmental Goals and Objectives

The Philosophy Department at UIS strives to be a national leader in offering advanced undergraduate education online while serving the entire UIS student population, undergraduate and graduate. The curriculum focuses on the areas of core analytic philosophy (metaphysics, epistemology, and related areas) and values (ethics, aesthetics, and political philosophy) while providing a sound background in the history of philosophy.

The objectives of the Philosophy major include providing students with basic knowledge in the main areas of philosophy (theory of knowledge, values, and history of philosophy); increasing their awareness of ethical issues; improving their analytical skills; and assisting them in developing problem-solving experience in at least one of the main areas of philosophy.

The Bachelor's Degree

The Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy is offered online and on-campus. Courses for the degree can be taken entirely online within two years. Students who take the major on-campus may need to take some classes online. Online students must apply to the program. The admission process to the online major takes quality and diversity into account.


Students should consult with their academic advisor for specific guidance regarding completion of general education requirements.

Three Main Areas of Study

Students must take a minimum of two classes in the following three areas: 1) core analytical philosophy, 2) history of philosophy, and 3) values.

  1. In order to gain analytical skills, students must take at least two classes (eight hours) in the area of core philosophy, such as philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, and analytical metaphysics.

  2. In order to gain a comprehensive outlook on the history of philosophy, students must take one class in ancient and medieval philosophy (such as PHI 421) and one class in the history of modern philosophy (such as PHI 425) or department approved comprehensive equivalents of at least seven credit hours.

  3. In order to gain familiarity with value theory, students are required to take at least two classes (at least eight hours) in the areas of ethics, aesthetics, or political philosophy. This includes at least one course devoted specifically to ethics, satisfied by PHI 242 or PHI 341 or PHI 447  or an equivalent approved by the department.

Area of Specialization

Currently, students may specialize in the area of core analytic philosophy or in the area of values. In addition to the eight hours required of all majors, students specializing in either core analytic philosophy (Area 1) or values (Area 3) must take one advanced class in the area of specialization and a senior seminar associated with the chosen area of specialization. Students should note that advanced courses have at least four hours of Area 1 or Area 3 courses as prerequisites.

Philosophy Electives

In order to gain a broad philosophical perspective, every student needs to take four hours of philosophy electives (an extra class in any area of philosophy, including topics not covered in the main major, such as continental, feminist, or Asian philosophy; American pragmatism; or philosophy of religion).

Degree Requirements

Core Courses
Matriculation module 10
Logic/Critical Thinking
PHI 301Critical Thinking (or equivalent transfer course)4
or PHI 401 Logic
Area 1 (Core Analytical Philosophy)
Select eight hours from the following:8
Person, Identity, and Dignity
Topics in Analytic Philosophy
Philosophy of Science
Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology
Philosophy of Mind
Philosophy of Language
Metaphysics of Things
Area 2 (History of Philosophy)
Select two of the following:8
Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy
Readings in the History of Philosophy
Area 3 (Values) 2
Select eight hours from the following:8
Ethics, Love & Goals of Life
Contemporary American Political Philosophy
Philosophy of Art
Moral Theory
Applied Ethics:Computer Ethics
Rationality and Moral Choice
Moral Values in Political Philosophy
Topics in Normative Philosophy
Social Philosophy
Philosophy Elective4
Any PHI class
Advanced class in specialization
Select one of the following:4
Topics in Normative Philosophy
Topics in Analytic Philosophy
Readings in the History of Philosophy
Philosophy of Language
Metaphysics of Things
Social Philosophy
Senior Seminar in Philosophy
Total Hours40

NOTE: Students may have seven hours in any or all of Areas 1, 2, 3, and three hours in the elective, with additional hours in another area.

Philosophy Minor

The minor in Philosophy is open to all undergraduate students at UIS, both online and on-campus. The minor consists of four classes (at least 15 hours), at least eight hours of which must be upper-division classes taken in Philosophy at UIS, with at least one course in each of the following areas:

Critical Thinking or Logic3-4
Critical Thinking
Rationality and Moral Choice
Values (Ethics, Aesthetics, Political Philosophy)2-4
Ethics, Love & Goals of Life
Philosophy of Art
Contemporary American Political Philosophy
Moral Theory
Applied Ethics:Computer Ethics
Rationality and Moral Choice
Moral Values in Political Philosophy
Topics in Normative Philosophy
Social Philosophy
History of Philosophy4
Person, Identity, and Dignity
Ancient & Medieval Philosophy
History of Modern Philosophy
Readings in the History of Philosophy
Elective (Any class or independent study in philosophy)3-4
Total Hours15

Students who wish to minor in Philosophy must formally declare their minor and consult with a philosophy faculty member to ensure that they are meeting their individual needs and program requirements.

Online Degrees

The online degree allows students to participate in dynamic, diverse, and interactive online learning communities and to complete their degrees via the Internet. The online format enables them to complete course work using the latest networked information technologies for increased access to educational resources, advisors, and materials with no on-campus visits required. The online degree follows the same curriculum as the on-campus degree.  For more information on the admission process, please check out the How to Apply and/or Apply Today links.

Degree Program Program Type Dept Application Materials and Admission Criteria Prerequisite Course Requirements Department ADM Review Dept Conditional Admits Dept Appeal Process
Philosophy BA On campus *International students whose native language is not English must submit TOEFL scores N/A N/A N/A N/A
Philosophy BA Online Additional Application Materials:

*A brief sample of the student’s writing, preferably on a philosophical topic, OR

*A brief statement of purpose (300 to 500 words) presenting the student’s reasons for selecting the online philosophy major at UIS.

*(OPTIONAL) One to three reference letters from individuals who can attest to the student’s ability for successful academic study.

Additional Admission Criteria:

*The Philosophy department strives to provide applicants with multiple options for demonstrating their potential to succeed in our program, including grades, prior coursework, writing samples, and/or letters of recommendation.
Philosophy Minor On Campus and Online In addition to qualifying for admission to UIS, Applicants must submit one of the following:

*A brief sample of the student’s writing, preferably on a philosophical topic, OR

*A brief statement of purpose (300 to 500 words) presenting the student’s reasons for selecting the online philosophy major at UIS.

*Applicants are considered on a rolling basis for fall and spring semesters only. While there are no firm application deadlines, prospective students should bear in mind that it takes time to process an application.


PHI 101. Introduction to Philosophy. 3 Hours.

This course introduces students to some of the basic issues, readings and methods of philosophy. We will cover such topics as right and wrong action, the nature and limits of human knowledge, the relation between mind and body, and the existence of God. Open to all undergraduates. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities (IAI Code: H4 900).

PHI 242. Ethics, Love & Goals of Life. 3 Hours.

Practical social and moral issues are discussed, looking for the solutions in ethical theory, moral psychology, science and literature. Discussion will be informed by considerations of life, death and the value of one's life as well as the issue of love. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities.

PHI 252. Science Fiction and Philosophy. 3 Hours.

Science fiction is used to introduce and explore diverse topics in contemporary philosophy. This advanced survey course most often uses primary sources to learn about the topic. We may include both historical and contemporary readings. Course Information: No prerequisites, but at least one previous philosophy course is strongly recommended. This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the areas of Humanities.

PHI 301. Critical Thinking. 4 Hours.

Principles of logical analysis and argumentation, with special attention to common fallacies in informal reasoning, reasoning by analogy, and decision theory. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities (IAI Code: H4 906).

PHI 312. Philosophy and Animals. 3 Hours.

A philosophical inquiry into the history of ideas about the nature, status, and role of animals. Reference will be made to complementary philosophical thinking about God, the nature of consciousness and humankind. Comparative religious and philosophical accounts of the status of animals will be considered.

PHI 313. Animals and Human Civilization. 4 Hours.

This course examines social, religious, and philosophical perspectives on animals from pre-Biblical times to the present, especially the ways in which animals have provided essential metaphors for social divisions along lines of tribe, gender, clad, race, and other categories. It will look, for example, at the social and political consequences of developments that have helped redefine relations between people and animals such as the Theory of Evolution and, most recently, the development of artificial intelligence.

PHI 315. Comparative Philosophy of Religion. 3 Hours.

A survey of several topics in the philosophy of religion, such as arguments for the existence of God, religious experience, the problem of evil and religious pluralism. Topics examined are from a variety of religious perspectives: eastern and western, non-monotheistic and monotheistic. Primary source readings are used to raise a variety of philosophical issues. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities.

PHI 317. Asian Philosophy. 3 Hours.

An analytical and comparative introduction to some central problems and theories in Asian philosophy.

PHI 336. Contemporary American Political Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Focuses on four late 20th century political philosophies: liberalism, libertarianism, communitarianism, and conservatism. Considers left-wing vs right-wing approaches to social redistribution and individualistic vs. communitarian views of the person as the basis for political theories. Readings include selections from Rawls, Nozick, Walzer, Guttman, and Taylor. Course Information: Same as PSC 336. This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

PHI 341. Ethics. 3 Hours.

This class gives students the background in analytical moral theory, covering issues as the sources of moral obligation, objectivism and relativism, intuitionism, utilitarianism, deontology and virtue. It is recommended to follow this class with PHI 441 or a class in Applied Ethics. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities.

PHI 352. Perspectives on Human Nature. 3 Hours.

What it means to be human: consideration of classical philosophical and literary visions of human nature such as the Greek, Christian, Romantic, and Marxist, along with contemporary contributions of biological and social sciences.

PHI 353. Person, Identity, and Dignity. 4 Hours.

Focuses on such questions as: What makes people different from other things in the world? What makes people identical with themselves over time? Do any moral considerations (questions of value) depend on our status as people? No prior familiarity with philosophy required. Combines elements of philosophical anthropology, moral philosophy, and philosophy of mind. Course Information: This course fulfills a general education requirement at UIS in the area of Humanities.

PHI 358. Classical Greek Wisdom. 3 Hours.

Introduces students who have no background in philosophy to the views of such thinkers as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. These views are related to the cultural context of the ancient world as well as to current controversies in our own society. For example: Can morality be taught? Is there life after death? Is democracy the best form of government? Is happiness the greatest, or the only, valuable goal in life?.

PHI 401. Logic. 4 Hours.

An introduction to the use of symbolic methods in the evaluation and analysis of arguments. Topics covered will include Boolean logic, quantification, truth tables and formal proofs.

PHI 411. Feminist Theories. 4 Hours.

What would a good society be like? We will discuss a range of feminist theories with different views on the good society, including liberal, radical, socialist, post modern, and global feminisms. These theories offer different solutions to such social issues as the division of labor in the home and beyond, reproductive rights, and sexuality. Through the experience of the course, each student will work to develop his or her own view of a good society. Course Information: Same as PSC 433, SOA 408, and WGS 411. Prerequisite: WGS 301 is recommended but not required.

PHI 416. Continental Philosophy. 3 Hours.

This course will trace main themes in Continental Philosophy (nihilism, existentialism, phenomenology, hermeneutics, and critique of technology). Those themes reflect the human reaction to severe economical, intellectual, religious, and martial crisis which have befallen Europe in the 20th century.

PHI 421. Ancient & Medieval Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Familiarizes students with the ancient and medieval traditions which gave rise to present-day philosophy. It consists of four units: A. Presocratics and Plato; B. Aristotle; C. Roman Philosophy, including St. Augustine; D. Medieval Philosophy, including von Bingen, Maimonides, and Aquinas.

PHI 425. History of Modern Philosophy. 4 Hours.

A survey, grounded in primary texts with secondary readings of western philosophical thought, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. The course gives students background information in the history of modern philosophy necessary to understand contemporary philosophical debates.

PHI 428. Globalization and the Future of Democracy. 4 Hours.

Democracy means that national governments must respond to and represent their own national people (the American government represents the American people). But increasing "globalization" has created new "transnational" problems beyond the democratic control of any one government. We consider classic and contemporary theories of globalization and democracy in political philosophy. Course Information: Same as PSC 428.

PHI 432. Philosophy of Art. 2,4 Hours.

Nature and value of art, including such issues as: How is art distinguished from non-art? Can there be objective judgments about art? How is art related to science, religion, and politics? Survey of major philosophical writings about art in the Western tradition. Course Information: Same as ART 471.

PHI 434. Aesthetics. 4 Hours.

The course covers the major concepts and theories of analytic aesthetics, including beauty (the sensory beauty and the beauty of the abstract entities), aesthetic and artistic values, aesthetic experience, aesthetic attitude, aesthetic state of mind, and relations between aesthetics and art. Background in Philosophy or Art recommended but not required.

PHI 437. Marxist Philosophy: Past, Present, Future. 4 Hours.

We examine the origins and development of Marxist philosophy and consider its relevance today. We study essential works of Karl Marx, 18th and 19th century precursors in political theory, and contemporary Continental political philosophy dealing with the legacy of Marx's work. We analyze Marx in light of current events and debates. Course Information: Same as PSC 437.

PHI 438. Postmodern Theory: Politics and Possibility. 4 Hours.

By the 20th century, understandings of truth, reality, and history were shaken to their core. Philosophy had to come to terms with Marx, Nietzsche, and psychoanalysis. What does it mean to "be political" without certain knowledge of truth, reality, and history? What is politically possible in light of postmodernism? Course Information: Same as PSC 438.

PHI 441. Moral Theory. 2 Hours.

Familiarizes students with advanced analytical moral theory on the basis of contemporary readings, mostly anthologies. The issues include: internalism, externalism, impartiality and special obligations. Course Information: Prerequisites: PHI 341.

PHI 442. Applied Ethics:Computer Ethics. 2 Hours.

Ethical theories introduced in PHI 440 are applied to issues in computer ethics in PHI 442. Computer ethics studies the intersection of human values and technical decisions involving computers and telecommunications. Students will read papers, take quizzes, contribute to discussions, write essays, and take a final exam. Course Information: Prerequisites: PHI 341.

PHI 447. Rationality and Moral Choice. 3 Hours.

Ethical behavior is often the most rational approach to be pursued by groups. In this class you learn basic strategies of collaborative and competitive action within the theory of rationality and informal game theory. We focus on moral psychology, the social capital theory and their limitations. Students learn to factor in business ethics and environmental preservation within business rationality, strategy and globalization. The class involves cooperation with online students from the EU. Course Information: Same as LIS 467.

PHI 448. Moral Values in Political Philosophy. 4 Hours.

An advanced inquiry into the connections between ethics and political philosophy, the structure of political theories, and various attempts to justify political principles through moral principles. This course is intended primarily for philosophy majors, but others may enroll.

PHI 459. Europe in the 18th Century: the Enlightenment. 4 Hours.

Cultural and intellectual history of the Enlightenment focusing on formative ideas of modernism (freedom, reason, equality) and movements in literature and the arts. Consideration of works by representative figures such as Hume, Kant, Rousseau, Smith, and Voltaire. Course Information: Same as HIS 461.

PHI 460. Topics in Normative Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Special topics in ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, and related areas. May be repeated if topics vary. Course Information: Counts toward the Advanced Course in Specialization and Area 3, Values requirements of the philosophy major.

PHI 470. Topics in Analytic Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Special topics in metaphysics, epistemology, and related areas. May be repeated if topics vary. Course Information: Counts toward the Advanced Course in Specialization and Area I, Core Analytic Philosophy requirements of the philosophy major.

PHI 471. Philosophy of Science. 4 Hours.

Introduces students to many of the philosophical issues involved in modern science. Topics include: What is science? What is the nature of scientific explanation? How are scientific hypotheses justified? Students also learn about social and moral implications of science and how major discoveries in physical and biological science pertain to creating the new image of the world.

PHI 472. Introduction to Metaphysics and Epistemology. 4 Hours.

Explores a selection of topics from core analytic philosophy, both classical and contemporary, such as knowledge of the external world, the rationality of science, mental content, free will, and private languages. Course Information:.

PHI 473. Philosophy of Mind. 4 Hours.

What is the mind, and how does it relate to the body? This course surveys the major philosophical issues and perspectives on the mind and its place in the natural world, with special focus on subjective experience (consciousness) and mental representation (intentionality).

PHI 474. Feminism Informing Philosophy. 4 Hours.

The study of feminist approaches to philosophical analysis that have reshaped the terrain when it comes to central questions from a range of philosophical disciplines including political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science and mind. Course Information: Prerequisite: 4 credit hours in philosophy (300/400 level, excluding 301/401). PHI 411 recommended.

PHI 480. Readings in the History of Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Guided readings in a period of the history of philosophy or a particular philosophical tradition or figure.

PHI 481. Philosophy of Language. 4 Hours.

What is it for words to mean something? What is the connection between language and reality? We will survey the major topics in the philosophy of language, focusing primarily on the concept of meaning, and will read works by Frege, Russell, Quine, Kripke, and others. Course Information: Prerequisites: PHI 353, PHI 495, or any of PHI 470 through PHI 489 (or instructor's permission).

PHI 482. Metaphysics of Things. 4 Hours.

This advanced course in metaphysics tackles some ongoing puzzles regarding the metaphysics of ordinary things in our world. We engage in active contemporary analytical debates on topics such as identity, constitution, and persistence. Course Information: Prerequisite: At least one upper level philosophy course outside of value theory. Logic strongly recommended.

PHI 485. Social Philosophy. 4 Hours.

Theory of interactions among people that lie at the level of generality between individual life and state politics. We shall discuss overlapping consensus v free market of ideas, and the equality without egalitarianism in a global society. Topics: pornography, freedom of expression, welfare, and the role of the internet. Meant primarily for PHI and PSC majors. Course Information: Prerequisites: PHI 336, or PHI 447, 448, 495, 537, PSC 325, 435, 514, 537, 580.

PHI 495. Senior Seminar in Philosophy. 2,4 Hours.

This capstone class includes a two credit hour seminar (open to all students) and a two credit hour senior overview (for Philosophy majors) which includes a research paper. The seminar covers an advanced issue in analytic philosophy (selected by the program each semester). The overview for majors involves senior assessment. Those who write on a non-seminar topic complete a seminar examination. Non-majors take the seminar only, with examination. Graduate students will also write a seminar related paper.

PHI 499. Tutorial. 1-12 Hours.

Intended to supplement, not supplant, regular course offerings. Students interested in a tutorial must secure the consent of the faculty member concerned before registration and submit any required documentation to him or her. Course Information: May be repeated if topics vary.

PHI 512. Feminist Theories II. 4 Hours.

This seminar offers close readings of major theories and accompanying methodology such as socialist, postmodernist, queer and postcolonial feminism. Our analysis will draw on political studies, communications, history, anthropology, sociology and literary criticism. Topics can include sexuality, race/ethnicity, labor and subjectivity. Course Information: Same as PSC 533, SOA 501, or WGS 501. Prerequisite: WGS 411, or SOA 408, or PSC 433, or PHI 411.

PHI 535. Philosophy of Education. 4 Hours.

Major philosophical views of aims and processes of education. Considerations given to the educational ideas of such thinkers as Plato, Augustine, Rousseau, and Dewey, as well as to assumptions underlying current reform proposals. Course Information: Same as EDL 535.

PHI 537. Social Capital and Values. 4 Hours.

Examines various definitions of social capital and the role it plays in business and politics. The class integrates topics in business ethics, strategy and political philosophy with a research component. Course Information: Same as PSC 537.

PHI 580. Advanced Topics in Philosophy. 4 Hours.

This graduate level seminar in philosophy offers a sustained critical exploration of one special topic per term. The course mainly uses primary sources, most often contemporary, though historical material is not excluded. No prerequisites for graduate students, but undergraduates should have taken at least one upper level philosophy course.