Department of History, Philosophy, and Religious Studies

Philosophy major and minor

Greek statueIt 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.

Why study philosophy at Benedictine?

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.

Class

As a philosophy major, you will confront and attempt to resolve ethical and foundational issues and think about the ideals and philosophical ideas of global civilization as discussed by its greatest thinkers. You will study the history of ideas, investigate ethical principles and their multitudinous contemporary applications, and confront 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 appreciation for discussing a wide range of current issues, aesthetic experiences, and human affairs, as well as the opportunity to communicate with many different kinds of people.


Studying philosophy at Benedictine offers you:

  • a special pre-law program for both majors and minors;
  • a student and curriculum friendly path to a double major;
  • ideal student-to-faculty ratios;
  • a highly knowledgeable and dedicated faculty


How does the program work?

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.


Requirements for Philosophy major

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 Student discussionfields. 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:

  • PHIL 120 (3): Greek Philosophy
  • PHIL 200 (3): Introduction to Logic
  • PHIL 210 (3): Philosophy of Being
  • PHIL 225 (Medieval Philosophy) or PHIL 335 (Modern Philosophy) (3)
  • one of the following: PHIL 245 (General Ethics), PHIL 246 (General Ethics for the Biomedically-Minded), PHIL 247 (General Ethics for the Business-Minded), PHIL 248 (General Ethics for the Ecology-Minded), PHIL 249 (General Ethics for the Professional), or RELS 250 (Christian Ethics) (3)

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.


Requirements for Philosophy minor

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:

  • PHIL 200 (3):
  • PHIL 210 (3):
  • one of the following: PHIL 245 (General Ethics), PHIL 246 (General Ethics for the Biomedically-Minded), PHIL 247 (General Ethics for the Business-Minded), PHIL 248 (General Ethics for the Ecology-Minded), PHIL 249 (General Ethics for the Professional), or RELS 250 (Christian Ethics) (3)