Many students enter college skeptical that there are any truths about the world to be discovered that go beyond the scope of traditional empirical disciplines. They leave questions about the existence and nature of God, ethics, the nature and destiny of human persons, the scope of knowledge, and the existence and scope of freedom of the will—among many other questions—in the realm of “opinion” and outside the scope of serious intellectual inquiry.
The goal of philosophy is to provide the framework of reason that allows the discovery of truths that extend the reach of empirical disciplines.
Students should develop an acquaintance with the basic concepts of logic in order to identify, construct, and assess arguments; the confidence that arguments can be rationally adjudicated; the ability to examine the preconceptions built into ordinary and scientific arguments and to uncover the significant philosophical questions behind these preconceptions; and the ability to argue, via reason, for and against the central ideas of Christianity. They should also gain an appreciation for philosophy as a unique discipline, especially in its formative and sustained relationship with Christianity.
The core curriculum includes one introductory philosophy course, which would provide the foundation described above. Students then have the option of a second philosophy course or a Catholicism and the Disciplines course. Students who take a second philosophy course will consider a cluster of philosophical questions in the student’s area of interest. This might include, for example, the philosophy of science or the philosophy of religion.