Will Heusser

Professor Will Heusser

Philosophy & Religious Studies | Social Sciences

Email: wheusser@cypresscollege.edu

Phone: (714) 484-7010

Office Hours: Varies: email me, stop by the Social Sciences office, or check a current syllabus if you have one

Location: Humanities-222 A

About Professor Heusser

Will Heusser is Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Cypress College. He has taught philosophy at Santa Monica College, Mount St. Mary’s in Los Angeles, and the University of Rochester in upstate New York. Will was born in the rainy but beautiful Northwest (Portland) and attended Pierce College before transferring to UCLA. Here he obtained a degree in Philosophy, an anti-rationalist and anti-postmodernist bias, as well as strong views on subliminal messages. He did his graduate work on a Presidential Fellowship at the University of Rochester.

He has worked in the private sector for a Test Preparation Company, spent over a decade serving as a private tutor, and has taught secondary level mathematics at an urban Title I school in Los Angeles. Other interests of his include basketball (lives for weekend pick-up games), films, skiing, and chess (Took “Top Senior” Trophy in the Southern California High School Championship. Best win was beating the former Oregon State Champion for all ages in a 6 hour match). He also enjoys surfing but this more often than not involves altitudes of about 10 feet below sea level.

Will’s area of specialization is in the early Modern period of Philosophy with a particular interest in historical epistemology and metaphysics.  His current interests (this year) are in the places where philosophical issues and contemporary film intersect. He is also interested more generally in The History of Logic, Meta-Ethics, Eastern Religion, Political Philosophy, Critical Thinking as a discipline, and the possibilities of merging philosophy with programming technology (such as the internet).

Recommended Course

PHIL 100 C Introduction to Philosophy

Philosophy is more of a way of life for me rather than a mere academic discipline. Some of the topics we cover in this intro course will be theoretical in nature but others will extend to more personal questions about our humanity and the nature of existence. If you take one or more of my courses, I hope I will be able to share some of my passion for the subject.


  • PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy
  • PHIL 110 Religions of the East
  • PHIL 160 Introduction to Ethics
  • PHIL 170 Logic and Critical Thinking
  • PHIL 201 History of Philosophy: Ancient and Medieval
  • PHIL 202 History of Philosophy: Modern and Contemporary

Class Descriptions

PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy

Course Description

This course introduces the student to a variety of philosophical issues in metaphysics, theory of knowledge, and ethics, as well as the methodology used by philosophers to address those issues. The origins of Western philosophy as well as its impact on Western civilization will be emphasized. The course systematically explores and evaluates the concepts of reality, value, knowledge, reason, truth, language, definition, beauty, justice, human nature, personal identity, religion, meaning, and freedom. Analysis and Synthesis will be stressed for these and other topics of interest to students and/or instructor.


None; however, good reading and writing skills are essential. Eligibility for English 100 is advised. Familiarity with Computer operating systems, such as Windows, is needed to a degree.

Reading Materials

  1. Ultimate Questions 2nd ed. 2007 by Rauhut. ISBN: 0321412982 or 9780321412980
  2. Introduction to Philosophy (Western Civilization: The Western World) compiled by Will Heusser. ISBN: 9780558283674
  3. You must rent the film: The Matrix (the first one). I will also place two VHS copies on two-day reserve in the L/LRC (Library and Learning Resource Center).

Recommended Items

  1. “The Examined Life”: four-DVD series ISBN: 1-5837-004-8 or 9781583700044 by Intelecom
  2. Several internet articles (listed below in “Schedule of Readings”). Searle’s is required.
  3. Study Guides (noted as “SG”) provided at no charge.

PHIL 160 Introduction to Ethics

Course Description

This course is an introduction to metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Fundamental ethical concepts, theories, and arguments in classical, medieval, modern, and contemporary ethical thought are presented, analyzed, and critically evaluated.


None; however, good reading and writing skills are essential. Eligibility for English 100 is advised. Familiarity with Computer operating systems, such as Windows, is needed to a degree.

Required Reading Materials

  1. The Moral Philosophers 2ND ed. 1998 by Richard Norman ISBN:9780198752165
  2. Ethics: Contemporary Readings 2004 edited by Gensler, Spurgin and Swindal. ISBN:9780415256810
  3. You must rent/see one of the following films: Boyz in the Hood, Fast Food Nation, Fight Club, Groundhog Day, Gattaca, Lord of the Flies, Return to Paradise, or Wall Street

Recommended Items (Not required but recommended and should be helpful.):

  1. “The Examined Life”: 4 DVD series ISBN: 1-5837-004-8 or 9781583700044 by Intelecom
  2. The Good, the Bad, and the Difference 2003 by Randy Cohen ISBN: 9780767908139 (not at bookstore). Or see “The Ethicist” weekly column in the online New York Times.
  3. Study Guides (noted as “SG”) provided at no charge.