PHILOSOPHY OF THE HUMAN PERSON studies what it is to say that human beings are persons and have freedom and subjectivity; the different powers of the human person, including the powers of understanding, willing, feeling, and loving; the difference between body and soul in human beings, and the unity of the two; and the question of the immortality of the soul. Some classic texts from the tradition of Western philosophy are read. This is a particularly fundamental course that underlies many of the other courses. (Philosophy Core) 3 credit hours
METAPHYSICS begins by asking what metaphysical questions are. One then poses selected metaphysical questions, such as what becoming is, what time is, what goodness is, what it means for a thing to exist, what the transcendental properties of being are, and, as the supreme question of metaphysics, whether God exists. Some classic texts from the tradition of Western philosophy are read. (Philosophy Core)3 credit hours
FOUNDATIONS OF ETHICS inquires into the significance of moral good and evil in the life of the human person; into moral virtue and vice (or moral character); into moral obligation; right and wrong actions; moral laws and the problem of exceptions; and the place of conscience in the moral life. One also studies the contemporary debate between consequentialist and deontological ethics, and the claims of ethical relativism. Some classic texts from the tradition of Western philosophy are read. (Philosophy Core) 3 credit hours
LOGIC is studied not just as an instrument or technique, but as a part of philosophy worthy of being studied in its own right. One inquires into the nature and kinds of concepts and of propositions; the truth and falsity of a proposition; the distinction between synthetic and analytic propositions; syllogistic and other kinds of formal argument; informal arguments; logical fallacies; and the attempt to mathematize logic. One also studies the differences among Aristotelian, Hegelian, empiricist, and other approaches to the issues of logic. 3 credit hours
EPISTEMOLOGYinquires whether is it possible for the human mind to know anything as it really is, and studies the philosophers who have affirmed and those who have skeptically denied this possibility. One inquires into the place of knowledge in the existence of the human person, asking what it is about persons that enables them to know; one also inquires into the social and historical conditions of knowing. One proceeds to distinguish different kinds and degrees of knowledge, as well as different sources of error. Attention is given throughout to the role of the senses in knowing. Classic texts from the tradition of Western philosophy are read.
3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION is to be distinguished from PHL 425 (Philosophy of God). The philosophy of religion is an area of philosophy that has only recently been recognized by philosophers. It deals with religious experience and with revelation; with basic religious acts such as faith or despair; with aspects of religious language; with the social dimension of religious existence; with religious perversions, such as idolatry; and with the religious needs and yearnings of the human person. 3 credit hours
SELECTED PROBLEMS IN ETHICS studies not the foundational categories of ethics, such as virtue or obligation, but rather very concrete ethical problems, such as questions of sexual morality,abortion, surrogate motherhood, killing in self-defense, a just war, or the nature of our responsibility for the environment. The content of the course will vary from semester to semester, according to the issues chosen by the professor. 3 credit hours
ANCIENT GREEK PHILOSOPHY begins with the pre-Socratics and with Socrates and then studies, above all, the thought of Plato and of Aristotle. The main developments in the Hellenistic period, including Stoicism, Skepticism, and Epicureanism are also introduced.
3 credit hours
MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY begins with Plotinus and Augustine and proceeds through Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Scotus, to the thinkers of the late Middle Ages.3 credit hours
RENAISSANCE AND EARLY MODERN PHILOSOPHY begins where PHL 312 leaves off and covers the period from the end of the Middle Ages up to Hume and Leibniz in the 18th century, excluding Kant. It includes Descartes, Pascal, Spinoza, Locke, Berkeley, and Wolff.3 credit hours
KANT AND LATER MODERN PHILOSOPHY deals with the epoch-making philosophy of Kant (1724–1804) and the main philosophers and schools of philosophy in the 19th century, including Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.3 credit hours
THE THOMISTIC TRADITION IN PHILOSOPHY studies primarily the philosophy of St. Thomas himself, whose life and times are reviewed, and who is studied through texts representative of his work. One also studies some of the main trends of subsequent Thomistic philosophy, including some of the leading contemporary Thomists such as Gilson, Maritain, Fabro, Lonergan, and Rahner.3 credit hours
INTRODUCTION TO EASTERN PHILOSOPHY surveys the major philosophical developments that took place in antiquity and during the medieval period in the Moslem world, in India, and in China. As Maritain noted, a sound philosophical education today requires some exposure to the contributions of the East. The student’s grasp of Western philosophy will be strengthened through this course since philosophical development in India and in Greece have much in common.3 credit hours
THE FRANCISCAN TRADITION IN PHILOSOPHY starts with the life of St. Francis and the early Franciscan movement, and then studies, above all, the thought of St. Bonaventure, Blessed John Duns Scotus, and William of Ockham. Then attention is drawn to recent thinkers whose work has been influenced by, or resembles, the work of these three.3 credit hours
AESTHETICS studies first the metaphysics of beauty, which involves issues such as beauty and being, beauty and good, and divine beauty. Then one studies beauty in the fine arts, in literature, and in nature. In addition, the place of beauty in the life of the human person is studied. The course even includes questions that do not directly concern beauty, such as the essence of the tragic and of the comic.3 credit hours
CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY picks up where PHL 316 leaves off. It deals with the main philosophers and schools of philosophy in the 20th century, including phenomenology, existentialism, Thomism, analytic philosophy, and deconstructionism.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF COMMUNITY asks what it means to say with Aristotle that man is a social animal, and then studies how modern philosophies of intersubjectivity (Hegel, Scheler, Levinas, von Hildebrand) have contributed to our understanding of the relation of each person to others. One also inquires into the structure of communities such as the family, the state, and mankind, and also how the individual can participate in them in a manner appropriate to his personhood.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY IN LITERATURE studies the philosophical views expressed in works of literature such as The Divine Comedy, Camus’ The Plague, and Dostoevski’s Crime and Punishment, examining these views in terms both of their assumption and their philosophical implications. One studies the difference between philosophical statement of truths and the distinctively literary expression of them.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE studies questions first raised by Aristotle in his Physics, such as questions regarding space, time, matter, and number. One is also introduced to the philosophical problems arising from contemporary science, such as from the theory of relativity or the theory of evolution. The philosophical assumptions of some of the sciences are explored. Questions of scientific method are raised.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF GOD inquires whether the existence of God can be proved and studies some of the main attempts to prove it (including the cosmological, the teleological, the ontological, and the moral proofs). One studies the problem of speaking about God without anthropomorphism (that is, speaking in such a way as not to reduce God to finite being). One comes to grips with the main objections to traditional theism, such as those of Kant and Hume, and those of process theology, and with the attempt to disprove the existence of God on the basis of the evil in the world.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF LAW studies the different orders of law, especially the natural moral law and the positive law of the state, and their interrelations; this involves issues such as justice, authority, the “is-ought” distinction, the common good, and state punishment. Aquinas’ Treatise on Law is typically read, as are modern authors such as Hegel, Kelsen, and Reinach.3 credit hours
THE NATURE OF LOVE allows one to study this special area of the philosophy of the human person, looking closely at the personal response of love and the interpersonal relationship constituted by love. One studies the role both of the will and of the emotions in the act of loving. The relations between love and happiness, love and unity, and love and morality are explored. Different types of love may be examined, such as eros, agape, love of friendship, and familial loves. Betrothed love and its expression in and through the body sexually are also discussed. Both classical (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Aquinas, Scotus, Bernard of Clairvaux) and modern (e.g., Kierkegaard, Buber, Marcel, von Hildebrand, Pieper, Wojtyla) sources are utilized.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHICAL TEXTS studies closely some classics of philosophy, such as Plato’s Republic, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, some part of the Summa Theologiae of St. Thomas, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, and Husserl’s Logical Investigations. Sometimes the seminar may center around several related texts. The idea is to study the great works of philosophy in greater depth than is normally possible when they are dealt with in other courses.3 credit hours
PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE inquires into what the meaning of a word is and into the kind of reality that meaning has. One studies the “performative” functions of language, which philosophers have only recently noticed, and also the emotive and prescriptive force of language. One is introduced to recent philosophical studies of grammar and also to the question of function of language in religion. One inquires into the place of language in the existence of persons, asking whether language is only an instrument of communication and action, or a realm in which the human person dwells.3 credit hours
THESIS requires one to write a major paper not only of research but also, and even primarily, of analysis and reflection. This project is carried out under the direction of a professor and in discussion with other students. Open to non-majors.1 credit hour
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