College of Liberal Arts
Department of Philosophy
Chair: Richard Buck
University Professor: Gertrude Conway
Professors: William Collinge, David Rehm (Provost)
Associate Professors: Richard Buck, Joshua Hochschild (Dean), Michael Miller (Monsignor Kline Professor), Thane Naberhaus, Msgr. Stuart Swetland
Assistant Professors: Christopher Anadale, Jessy Jordan, Angela Schwenkler, John Schwenkler
The study of philosophy is central to a Catholic liberal arts education dedicated to the pursuit of truth and the formation of students in Christian humanism. Courses in the philosophy department seek to (1) cultivate critical reasoning skills, (2) impart knowledge of and foster respect for the history of philosophy, and (3) stimulate lifelong reflection on those questions fundamental to an understanding of the human condition and its possibilities.
The goal of critical reflection is addressed by offering a course in logic, by teaching the principles of logic in the sophomore Veritas Program, and by emphasizing the analysis of arguments in all philosophy courses. The goal of informed appreciation of the history of philosophy is addressed by the historical focus emphasized in core and elective courses. The habit of lifelong reflection is fostered by reasoned examination of the nature of the human person, the goods humans appropriately value, the principles governing their conduct, and their relation to the wider world, their fellow human beings and God. Through its minor and major, the department further addresses these goals by providing opportunities for advanced coursework and preparation for graduate studies.
In keeping with its central role within the liberal arts tradition, philosophy promotes the integration of learning by exploring its relationship to other academic disciplines and professional pursuits. By developing the skills of reasoning, reading, writing and dialogue, the department serves foundational elements of the Veritas Program and prepares students for responsible citizenship in a democratic society and global community.
Program Goals and Competencies
1. To develop in students the interpretive, critical, and argumentative skills necessary for
a. reflection on everyday attitudes and views, major historical and contemporary texts, and important intellectual problems, and
b. success in graduate philosophy programs and the professions;
2. To develop in students an understanding of the history and current state of philosophy, including the cultural contexts in which philosophers have done their work and how their work continues to shape our culture, i.e.,
a. To develop in students an understanding of the major historical figures and texts in philosophy;
b. To develop in students an understanding of the major fields of philosophy (e.g., logic, metaphysics, epistemology, ethics);
c. To develop in students an understanding of major philosophical issues;
d. To develop in students an appreciation of the Catholic intellectual tradition and of philosophy's role in the history of Christian humanism.
3. To provide a perspective from which students can synthesize all their studies and develop a sense of how philosophy bears on other disciplines;
4. To cultivate in students the natural human capacity to know the truth, including truth about what transcends the realm of the empirical, and to foster in students a reflective, critical and unified understanding of themselves as human beings and of their relation to nature, to fellow humans, and to the divine.
5. To develop in students a life-long attitude of reflective inquiry ordered to the enrichment of their personal, communal, and professional lives.
Competencies Developed by the Major:
1. ability to recognize a philosophical question;
2. ability to grasp a philosophical argument ;
3. ability to read and interpret a philosophical text critically;
4. abilities to analyze and to synthesize;
5. ability to criticize positions and the arguments supporting them;
6. ability to engage in philosophical discussion;
7. ability to formulate philosophical questions;
8. ability to construct philosophical arguments;
9. ability to do focused research;
10. ability to write clearly; and
11. ability to explore and develop imaginatively both abstract formulations and their concrete applications