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Welcome to Philosophy

Program Description

The study of philosophy develops and refines a rigorous, analytic understanding of certain of our fundamental concepts, e.g., knowledge, reason, truth and value. Since all other disciplines in academia rely on the use of such concepts, the study of philosophy is essential for an education directed toward completeness.

The study of philosophy also yields other tangible academic benefits. It has been shown that philosophy students scored at least five percentage points above average in admission tests for professional and graduate schools in America. No other subject matches philosophy in this respect. Philosophy students do better in examinations for business and management school than anyone except mathematicians.

With employment opportunities beyond academia apparently growing, e.g., consultants to hospitals, state legislatures, Congress, genetic engineering firms and artificial intelligence companies, there has also been a proliferation of philosophical journals focused on such topics as the allocation of scarce medical resources, abortion, euthanasia, disposal of nuclear waste, corporate responsibility and fair profit, etc.

The Philosophy Department additionally provides an Introduction to Philosophy course which surveys most of the standard fields of philosophy -logic, epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, the philosophy of religion and political philosophy.

The other courses offered (Ethics, Logic, Comparative World Religions, History of Philosophy: Ancient, Modern and Contemporary, Issues in Philosophy) are more specific and detailed accounts of these standard fields.

These philosophy courses may be transferred to four-year institutions. (Check for specifics with your counselor)

The department offers an AA-T Degree in Philosophy for Transfer. This degree provides the foundational knowledge in philosophy to students who want to earn a Baccalaureate Degree in Philosophy. This degree is in compliance with the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act {Senate Bill 1440, now codified in California Education Code Sections 66746-66749} and guarantees admission to a California State University (CSU) campus for any community college student who completes an “associate degree for transfer,” a newly established variation of the associate degrees traditionally offered at a California community college. Upon completion of the transfer associate degree, the student is eligible for transfer with junior standing into the California State University (CSU) system. Students will be given priority consideration when applying to a particular program that is similar to the student’s community college area of emphasis. For more information on transfer degrees, visit

Program Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the historically significant questions, problems and theories in the major areas of philosophy (epistemology, metaphysics, value theory, logic), including the views and arguments of the major representative philosophers who have addressed these issues.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of the basic rules and principles of logic, including the skill and knowledge of identifying, analyzing and evaluating arguments.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of the questions, problems, issues and theories that characterize the major historical periods of Western philosophy (Ancient, Medieval, Modern and Contemporary), as well as the views of the some major philosophers within these periods.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge of the complexity of the human condition, including knowledge of the significance of feelings, emotions and cultural/historical influences on philosophical thinking and methodology.
  5. Demonstrate critical thinking skills, virtues and attitudes in the exploration of issues; these include intellectual humility, empathy, fairness, openmindedness and respect for the intellectual standards of clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, scope, depth and coherence.
  6. Demonstrate proficiency in philosophical writing, which includes presenting a philosophical thesis, supporting that thesis with arguments, and articulating and responding to counter-arguments.

Special Programs

Housed within the Department of Philosophy is the Center for Philosophical Education. CPE serves primarily two functions. First, CPE publishes the undergraduate international journal of philosophy, STOA. It is published twice a year and features outstanding faculty-nominated undergraduate papers from around the world.

Second, CPE organizes international conferences in philosophy, which are held on  he SBCC campus.  Hosting groups of outstanding philosophers from primarily the United States and Europe for multiple day events, CPE provides, through its conference offerings, unique and enriching professional academic experiences for both philosophy students as well as the greater Santa Barbara community. Contact the Philosophy Department for CPE or STOA information:

The Philosophy Department also sponsors the Peter A. Angeles Colloquia, a year-long, campus-wide series of lecture-discussions involving scholars, politicians and entertainers of national and international stature.  The lectures are traditionally held in the Garvin Theatre and occur typically once a month. Previous lectures can be seen on videotape in the LRC.

The Philosophy Department also sponsors the Philosophy Club. Any students interested in the study of philosophy are encouraged to join. Officers are elected in the fall, and a yearlong agenda of  speakers and meetings is developed by the membership. All members of the campus community are welcome.

Department Offices
Philosophy Department (IDC-354, ext. 2476)

Faculty & Offices
Marc Bobro, Chair, (IDC-356, ext. 4710, e-mail:
Joseph P. White (IDC-354, ext. 2476, e-mail:

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