Office: Humanities Center, Room 050r
Chair: Francis J. Cunningham, Associate Professor
Professors: Paul Richard Blum; Richard P. Boothby; Malcolm G. Clark (emeritus); John J. Conley, S.J.; Bret W. Davis; Drew L. Leder; Graham James McAleer
Associate Professors: Mavis L. Biss; Francis J. Cunningham; Catriona Hanley; Irmgard Braier Scherer (emerita); Dale E. Snow; Timothy J. Stapleton (emeritus)
Assistant Professors: Fuat Gürsözlü; Jeffrey C. Witt
Vising Assistant Professors: Joseph Farrell; David Gordon; Nina Guise-Gerrity; Selin Gursozlu; James Snow; Oliver Thorndike; Steven Weber
Philosophy is unique among the disciplines. It is distinguished first of all by the fundamental nature of the questions it raises. Over the centuries, philosophers have struggled to explore the true nature of reality and the meaning of human life, to determine the possibility and limits of knowledge, to clarify the demands of justice and the character of good and evil, and to ponder the existence of God.
Philosophical questions are perennially open questions. In this respect, too, philosophy is distinctive. Unlike texts from the past in many other fields, philosophical works, even those from very distant antiquity, retain enduring value and significance for contemporary concerns.
Reading the great thinkers of the past is an indispensable part of training in philosophy. However, philosophical inquiry is by no means a mere history of ideas. Philosophy, said Aristotle, begins in wonder, and to study philosophy is to embark upon an adventure in thinking. Genuine philosophical reflection requires a radical freedom and willingness to question received opinions in an ongoing search for truth.
Training in philosophy, far from being irrelevant or impractical, serves to sharpen the tools of thinking for use in any endeavor. As such, philosophy significantly enriches the study of other disciplines, whether in the humanities, in business, in law, or in the sciences. For this reason, many students choose a double major, taking 10 elective courses in philosophy in addition to fulfilling the requirements for a major in another subject. Students may also incorporate philosophy in an interdisciplinary major, or may choose to minor in philosophy by taking, in addition to PL 201 , one other 200-level offering, and five upper-level philosophy courses, one of which can be a departmental offering in ethics.
- Philosophy students will become meaningfully conversant with a range of primary texts by prominent philosophers.
- Philosophy students will come to possess an understanding of the historical development and diversity of philosophical inquiry.
- Philosophy students will learn how to identify, construct, and critically evaluate philosophical arguments and discourse.