Chair: Associate Professor R. Michael Olson
Professors: Ronald Begley, John Izzi, Peter Tumulty
Associate Professors: Katherine E. Kirby, Crystal L’Hôte
Assistant Professor: Allison Kuklok
Instructor: Nicholas Kahm
Henry G. Fairbanks Visiting Humanities Scholar: Peter Gallo
Philosophy has always been considered as the endeavor to escape from ignorance and to investigate the significance of nature, of self and of reality as a meaningful whole. Of course, philosophy is not alone in wanting to escape from ignorance; other disciplines, natural, social and literary, share that desire. But philosophy attempts to take a more comprehensive view, and for over two millennia philosophers have sought the type of understanding that leads to wisdom. Their ideas have become the very roots of the great social, political, educational, economic, literary, and scientific movements of every age. Thus, philosophy includes as one of its tasks a consideration of the presuppositions of other academic disciplines as well as the presuppositions of our fundamental social practices. This is one reason why philosophy is viewed as an essential component of a truly liberal education.
All students at Saint Michael’s College are required to take one basic course in philosophy to enable them to engage these fundamental questions and to see how thinkers of the past and present have responded to them. This course introduces students to some basic philosophical issues with the help of Plato’s dialogues and other philosophical texts. After completing the Introduction to Philosophy course every student has a choice to fulfill the Liberal Studies Curriculum requirement in “Study of Christian Traditions and Thought” by taking any 200-level course in Philosophy or in Religious Studies.
For those students who wish to deepen their knowledge of philosophy, they can either major or minor in philosophy or take as electives courses that are offered to acquaint them with the history, development, methods, and content of nearly the entire range of philosophy.
Philosophy Learning Outcomes:
Students will demonstrate knowledge of the fundamental questions about human existence and ultimate reality. Students will demonstrate familiarity with the major currents in the history of Western Philosophy.
Students will demonstrate knowledge of diverse methodologies, their strengths and weaknesses, as well as possess a critical understanding of the very concept of “method”.
Students will analyze philosophical truth claims.
Students will articulate and evaluate the values, principles and assumptions on which individual and social decisions rest.
Students will construct sustained logical arguments and anticipate counterarguments.
Students will demonstrate intellectual and inter-personal habits that enable one to participate in a (philosophical) dialogue in which different perspectives can engage one another in a way that fosters the maturation of the perspective of the participants.