John D. Poling, Ph.D., Chair
Philosophy is the rational effort to understand and reflect upon the various aspects of our human endeavors and existence. The study of philosophy is an essential ingredient in a liberal arts education, both in terms of its subject matter and the capacities it develops for thinking critically. As a central part of a Lasallian and Catholic university, the philosophy department seeks to develop aptitudes for reasoned analysis, evaluation and synthesis, through the disciplined investigation of the chief figures and the areas of systematic inquiry that emerge in the study of the history of philosophy. The careful reading of and reflection on the major texts in philosophy is pursued in both written and spoken forms. The department challenges students to broaden their perspectives by examining their reasoning and value judgments, without losing sight of the university’s Judeo–Christian grounding and vision. Not surprisingly, the full engagement of the questions posed by philosophy is a foundation for life-long learning and growth.
The philosophy curriculum is designed to meet the needs of contemporary young men and women in a Catholic university. The department offers two majors and a minor. However, the overall philosophy curriculum is devised to complement course offerings in the general education content areas, the honors program and the special program of study of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary, in addition to majors in the humanities.
General Department Goals
Upon completion of the major, students are able to:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the major historical movements and figures in philosophy from the Pre-Socratic thinkers through the contemporary period;
- Form and evaluate arguments employing standards of logical validity; and
- Integrate areas of systematic inquiry with broader and perennial philosophical questions and issues.
A background in philosophy is an excellent preparation for a variety of career and vocational pursuits, ranging from teaching/education, theology, law and different forms of Christian ministry/service, to publishing (writing and editing), healthcare (e.g., medical ethics, planning and development of facilities), and arts management and marketing, among others.