The philosophy option provides students with a broad education in philosophy that is designed to complement the scientific curriculum at Caltech. Students who pursue the philosophy option will be expected to learn about some of the major figures and movements in the history of philosophy, as well as to gain familiarity with contemporary philosophical debates. The philosophy option also aims to provide students with new perspectives on the material they learn in their science courses, and to enable them to bring their technical skills and scientific learning to traditional problems in philosophy.
The philosophy curriculum will help students to acquire the basic tools of philosophical analysis: the ability to read and interpret philosophical texts; the ability to identify strengths and weaknesses of philosophical arguments; the ability to develop well-reasoned defenses of philosophical positions; and the ability to anticipate objections to one's own views. In addition, the philosophy option will train students to express themselves clearly and concisely in both writing and speaking. Students can also choose to minor in Philosophy.
The minor in philosophy is designed for students who want to pursue concentrated study in philosophy without the extensive course work and the senior thesis required by the philosophy option.
Philosophy Coursework at a Glance
Hum/Pl 44. Philosophy Through Science Fiction.
This course will provide a broad introduction to philosophy using examples from science fiction to make abstract philosophical problems vivid. Topics may include: time travel and the reality of the past and future; teleportation and what makes someone the same person over time; fictional tales of extended deception and Cartesian skepticism; futuristic utopias and the question of what make a life good; the moral status of aliens and animals; intelligent robots and the relation between mind and body; parallel universes and the philosophical foundations of quantum physics.