Dec 05, 2022  
2022-2023 UNDERGRADUATE CATALOG 
    
2022-2023 UNDERGRADUATE CATALOG

Philosophy


Professor   John F. Morris, Ph.D.
    Brendan Sweetman, Ph.D. (Chair)
Associate Professor   Robert Vigliotti, Ph.D.
    Tina Baceski, Ph.D.
    Stephen Chamberlain, Ph.D.
     

Philosophy, as “love of wisdom,” explores the most fundamental questions of human experience, questions concerning the nature of the human person, the existence of God, immortality, freedom, the nature of moral and political values, the question of being, appearance and reality, knowledge and truth. A variety of richly developed and intellectually exciting answers to these questions, and many others, are explored in a systematic and rigorous way by means of a study of the work of outstanding classical and contemporary philosophers.

The study of philosophy enables the student to explore the most vital issues of human life and existence, issues which elude more specialized disciplines; at the same time, because of philosophy’s emphasis on skills in logical clarification,  organization of ideas, and detailed argumentation, it helps cultivate the capacity to think and write with clarity, consistency, and informed insight. Philosophy also promotes the ability to recognize and evaluate assumptions and implications, and at the same time frees the thinker from ideology and overspecialization.

It is essential for a liberal education that each student learn to philosophize and to continue to think through the understanding one has of oneself in the world. Thus Rockhurst requires a certain minimum number of philosophy courses and  encourages students to take even more. The required core courses in the philosophical mode of inquiry explore the fundamental notions underlying all human existence (PL 1100 ), and the nature of value and the philosophical basis of moral judgment (PL 3100 ). These courses contribute to the formation of a broad and coherent outlook, and provide a framework for the development of intellectual habits which foster a life-long integration of knowledge.

Coursework in philosophy is designed to introduce students to a range of profound and stimulating philosophical questions, and to develop the skills necessary for independent thinking. It also provides a broadening perspective for the various areas of specialization in the natural and social sciences, in literature and the arts, and in the various professional programs. A major in philosophy thus provides excellent preparation for a professional career in law, government, business, teaching, the media, higher education, and related areas.

Goals:
  1. Level I coursework (taught by faculty who have professional preparation and credentials in this area) which introduces the student to the practice of the philosophical mode of inquiry and distinguishes philosophical understanding from other ways of  knowing, especially from theology and empirical science.  Such coursework exposes the student to specific philosophical problems, explanations, and ideas which the student must evaluate according to philosophical methods, including explicit use of the techniques of formal and informal logic in identifying, explaining and evaluating assumptions, concepts and arguments.  In this coursework, the student studies and evaluates metaphysical theories in order to acquire a philosophical understanding of reality (including the evidence for the ultimate intelligibility of being), an understanding which is derived from experience, logically consistent and compatible with experience; and the student studies the reality of the human person, to achieve an integrated understanding of the many dimensions of human existence (including the physical, spiritual, social, rational and non-rational).  This coursework practices a concentrated investigation of the types and limitations of human knowing, and a rigorous examination of issues such as human freedom, personal identity, and personal immortality.

  2. Level II coursework (taught by faculty who have professional preparation and credentials in this area) which acquaints the student with an organized body of knowledge based on moral experience, and which shows the student how to evaluate grounds for judging the rightness or wrongness of human conduct, according to philosophical methods.Such coursework includes an explicit use of the techniques of formal and informal logic in identifying, explaining and evaluating assumptions, concepts and arguments, and a rigorous examination of egoism, relativism, emotivism, and major ethical theories so that the student will have the theoretical background needed to analyze and assess concrete moral issues.

  3. Level II coursework (taught by faculty who have professional preparation and credentials in this area) which requires the student to integrate comprehensively a knowledge of philosophical principles and methods, including an explicit use of the techniques of formal and/or informal logic, and to think through the implications of philosophical positions, by applying them to the principles and conclusions of outstanding philosophers, to the assumptions and axioms of other disciplines, and/or to specific philosophical problems and debates, especially toward an analysis of current social issues.

Student Learning Outcomes:
  1. To reflect upon actual experience and to describe experience intelligibly with nothing in experience excluded by some predetermination of what will count in the description.
  2. To acquire a philosophical understanding of reality, by studying and evaluating metaphysical theories.
  3. To acquire a philosophical understanding of knowledge, including its types and limitations.
  4. To acquire a philosophical understanding of morality, including some knowledge of ethical theories and their application to moral problems.
  5. To acquire a philosophical understanding of reality, knowledge and morality so as to know better what it is to be a human person.
  6. To give explanations when possible in terms of ultimate causes, examining all the elements in experience and the premises used to explain experience.
  7. To acquire into, and to learn about, truth, goodness and beauty.
  8. To cultivate the skill of identifying and critically examining with logical techniques assumptions of all kinds.

 

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