“All men and women are in some sense philosophers.” - Pope Saint John Paul II
“Some people will cross mountains and the sea for money. So should you labor for wisdom.” - Saint Thomas Aquinas
“The unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.” - Socrates
The undergraduate program in philosophy comprises five different kinds of courses:
- Core courses (Philosophy and the Ethical Life, The Human Person, and Philosophy of Being). Since
all UD students take these courses, they lay a foundation for cross-disciplinary philosophical
conversation. Philosophy majors will often find themselves discussing philosophical
core texts with other majors. The different perspectives—literary, political, theological,
scientific, aesthetic, etc.—will help to come to a more complete understanding of
these extraordinarily rich texts.
- Historical courses. The History Sequence aims to acquaint the student with the basic elements of the
history of Western philosophy: its major authors, works, themes, and currents. Seeking
an understanding of how philosophical traditions work, it asks how philosophers in
the Western tradition have responded to major challenges by rethinking and reconfiguring
their heritage. It explores the methodological claim that philosophy can attain a
progressively clearer picture of its fundamental problems and their solutions only
through a work of memory and retrieval by which it continually resituates its present
in relation to its past. The study of origins in “From Ancient to Medieval Philosophy”
plays an important role in this project, and is often reserved for the student’s final
semester. Continental and Analytic Philosophy are the two major strands in contemporary
Western philosophy. Philosophy majors may choose between them.
- Studium philosophiae non est ad hoc quod sciatur quid homines senserint, sed qualiter
se habeat veritas rerum, Thomas Aquinas famously said: the study of philosophy is not about getting to know
the opinions that people have defended, but rather the truth of the things themselves.
Hence the importance of the topical courses, in which you will study some of the central subject areas of philosophy: logic,
epistemology, ethics, and philosophy of religion or philosophy of God.
- The Junior and Senior Seminars. Complementing the core courses and the historical courses, which always present several
thinkers together (usually in historical sequence), the Junior Seminar is devoted
to the in-depth study of one thinker and his works. The Senior Seminar, for its part,
focuses on a specific topic. The Senior Seminar’s main goal is to lead the student
from an attitude of (critical and intelligent) absorption of material to the ability
to construct detailed philosophical arguments, and to present these arguments both
orally and in writing in a methodologically sound way. Thus, the Senior Seminar prepares
for the Senior Thesis.
- Electives. In the schedule of the philosophy major, there is room for a number of electives,
typically about four. These can be taken either in philosophy itself (the department
offers courses such as Aesthetics, Philosophy of Education, Bioethics, Philosophy
of Language, Philosophy of History, and Philosophy of Technology, among others) or
in other areas that complement your philosophical studies.