It was Pythagoras who first invented the term "philosophy" ("love of wisdom"), observing that wisdom in the strictest sense belongs to God alone. For that reason, he wished not to be called a wise man, but simply a friend or lover of wisdom.
Traditionally the academic discipline of philosophy deals with the deepest and most enduring human questions that can be approached through reason only. Theology and Religious Studies, of course, also deal with deep and enduring human questions, but not by unaided human reason but rather aided by Divine revelation. Philosophy explores the deepest questions and most basic principles concerning reality, knowledge, and language. It furthermore explores these central issues as they affect all thought – e.g., such as change and permanence, knowledge and belief, unity and diversity, and the meaning of goodness, value, truth, and beauty.
Philosophical reflection and investigation inquire into the assumptions and presuppositions that other academic disciplines take as axiomatic, or as "givens." As a result of Benedictine University's Catholic Christian heritage, philosophy courses at Benedictine must and will always contain a strong measure of and commitment to the overall Catholic Philosophical tradition. However, at Benedictine, this commitment to the Catholic Philosophical tradition is always in relation to wider historical, general, and global philosophical trends.
When you choose to major in philosophy at Benedictine University, you receive the benefits of an extremely broad liberal arts education. This provides multiple practical and career benefits beyond simply attending a professional school or obtaining an entry-level business or public sector position. Philosophy trains the mind to think clearly, helping you to develop an interest in exploring ideas and questions you may have never previously even considered.
As a philosophy major, you will confront and attempt to resolve ethical and foundational issues, while learning how humanity's greatest thinkers have sought to understand global civilization. You will study the history of ideas, investigate ethical principles and their multitudinous contemporary applications, and explore classic questions regarding the nature of the human person and the structure and make-up of reality. In doing so, you'll gain new insight into a wide range of current issues, aesthetic experiences, and human affairs.
Benedictine's philosophy program offers a student- and curriculum-friendly path to a double major, a special pre-law program for both majors and minors, and the opportunity to work closely with a knowledgeable and dedicated faculty.
If you decide to major in philosophy, you will study the history of philosophy and ideas. You will investigate classic questions regarding the human person such as the nature of the self, freedom, death and immortality, and the relationship between the individual human person and the human community. You will examine basic issues and principles concerning reality, knowledge, and language and their implications for other more immediate topics of philosophical exploration. You will investigate ethical principles and their application to a wide range of moral-ethical questions and problems. These may pertain to medicine and health, war and peace, business, political and economic theory, and the advance of technology.
Philosophy students take approximately 12-18 hours of required courses (the number depends somewhat on the individual student's academic intentions and background). The remainder of the student's coursework comes either from the philosophy department's other course offerings or from arts, humanities, or science offerings on which the student and the student's philosophy faculty advisor agree. Each philosophy department faculty advisor assists their students in developing a tailored program specifically suited to the student's particular intellectual needs.
Students majoring in philosophy must complete a minimum of 36 hours of courses toward their major, with a grade of "C" or better. Of these 36 hours, these courses must include at least 24 hours of formally registered philosophy courses, and may include up to 12 hours of Department-approved substitutions for formally registered philosophy courses from related academic fields. Of the formally registered philosophy courses, 24 course hours must be at the 200 level or above and 9 course hours must be at the 300 level or above.
Courses toward the philosophy major must also include:
Philosophy majors are also required to demonstrate competency in a modern or classical language by completion of at least one modern language course at or above the 202 level, or by completing 12 course hours of New Testament Greek I & II and Ecclesiastical Latin I & II.
Note: Students contemplating attending graduate school in philosophy are strongly recommend to take most or all of the following course offerings: PHIL 205 or PHIL 305 (3), PHIL 315 (3), PHIL 320 (3), PHIL 325 (3), PHIL 330 (3), PHIL 335 (3), PHIL 355, and PHIL 365.
Philosophy minors must complete a minimum of 21 hours in the program with a grade of "C" or better. Of these 21 hours, 15 hours must be formally registered philosophy courses, and may include up to 6 hours of Department-approved substitutions for formally registered philosophy courses from related academic fields. Of the formally registered philosophy courses, 12 course hours must be at the 200 level or above and 3 course hours must be at the 300 level or above.
Courses toward the philosophy minor must also include: