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Course Summary

Course Description

Philosophy helps us understand ideas that have profoundly influenced world civilizations; develop an outlook on life that is broad, coherent, and reflective; and deal with ideas logically and critically.  Every educated person needs at least a basic understanding of philosophy, since it serves as a framework for all knowledge.  At Jesuit schools, philosophy has always had a special place; indeed, the Jesuit order was founded by a group of philosophy students led by St. Ignatius of Loyola, who completed an M.A. in philosophy.  A strong background in philosophy is a mark of those educated in Jesuit institutions.
The University Core requirement in philosophy consists of three courses:  PL 101, an introduction to philosophy; a 200-level course on some period of, or problem in, the history of philosophy; and a 300-level course chosen from a variety of philosophical topics.  PL 101 must be taken first, but the 200-level and 300-level courses may be taken in either order. Since philosophy is rarely taught in high school, PL 101 is needed to introduce the nature of philosophical thinking and the skills required for further in-depth studies.  The history of philosophy courses explore specific historical periods, approaches, and movements.  They focus on a related group of thinkers (such as existentialist, ancient Greek, or African) and their worldviews.  They also emphasize how ideas develop over time, how historical context affects us, and how different thinkers interact.  The 300-level courses investigate philosophical questions that emerge from other disciplines.  They focus on questions such as “Is there a God?,” “How are scientific theories established?,” or “What is the moral status of specific business, scientific, or social practices?”
A philosophy major prepares students for graduate work leading to college teaching, or for professional schools in areas such as law, medicine, religion, and social service.  A philosophy major also is a solid basis for any broad program of humanistic studies.  A minor in philosophy can complement other areas of st

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