The Catholic University of America

School of Philosophy

Officers of Instruction

Faculty

John C. McCarthy, Ph.D.
Dean and Associate Professor
Matthias Vorwerk, Ph.D.

Associate Dean and Associate Professor

Michele Averchi, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Antón Barba-Kay, Ph.D.
AssistantProfessor
Rev. James Brent, O.P., Ph.D. Assistant Professor
Jean De Groot, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Rev. Ignacio de Ribera Martin, D.C.J.M., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Gregory T. Doolan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Jude P. Dougherty, Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus and Dean Emeritus
Thérèse-Anne Druart, Ph.D.
Professor
Michael Gorman, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Herbert Hartmann, Ph.D.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Richard Hassing, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Tobias Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
D. Cristina Ionescu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor
V. Bradley Lewis, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Angela McKay Knobel, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Rev. George McLean, O.M.I., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Melissa Moschella, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Virgil P. Nemoianu, Ph.D.
Professor
Timothy B. Noone, Ph.D. Professor
Michael Rohlf, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Msgr. Robert Sokolowski, Ph.D.
Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy
Rev. William A. Wallace, O.P., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus
Kevin White, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Jeffrey Wilson, Ph.D. Clinical Assistant Professor
Msgr. John F. Wippel, Ph.D.
Theodore Basselin Professor of Philosophy

Associates of the Faculty

Sister Marian Brady, S.P., Ph.D.
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Mary Cashman-McGuire, Ed.D.
Lecturer
Gregory Canning, Ph.D. Lecturer
John Goodreau, Ph.D. Lecturer
Charles McCarthy, Ph.D. Lecturer
Alfred Miller, M.D., Ph.D.
Lecturer
Maria Miller, Ph.D.
Lecturer
Sam Nicholson, Ph.D. Lecturer
Gregory Reichberg, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Elizabeth Shaw, Ph.D. Lecturer
Rev. David Thayer, S.S., Ph.D.
Lecturer
Monsignor James Watkins, Ph.D.
Lecturer
Holger Zaborowski, D. Phil. Research Associate

 

History

Formally inaugurated in 1895, the School of Philosophy has accepted doctoral dissertations on issues confronting every major philosophical discipline and figure in the history of philosophy. The school's approach to the discipline of philosophy is rooted in a broad consensus on the definitive importance of two perennial questions: What is the human good? What are the ultimate principles of being and knowledge? The awareness of these questions and the study of their possible answers constitute an end and an ethos in light of which the School chooses to concentrate on the careful reading of primary sources in the history of philosophy. The School is established as an ecclesiastical faculty and offers undergraduate and graduate programs leading to the ecclesiastical degrees Bachelor of Philosophy (Ph.B.), Licentiate in Philosophy (Ph.L.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), as well as the civil degrees Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), Master of Arts (M.A.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).

 

Mission

Characteristic of the Catholic intellectual tradition is an abiding concern for the relation between faith and reason, the intelligibility of nature, the reality of organic form or soul, the inquiry into causal hierarchies, and the possibility of an ethics and political philosophy based on rational insight into human nature. Accordingly, Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas form a basic framework in relation to which Neoplatonism, the Islamic contribution, the ferment of late Scholasticism, the emergence of early modern philosophy and natural science, the attempts at synthesis of the natural and the human within German idealism, the impact of Nietzsche, and the analytical and phenomenological movements are studied.

Despite its richness and diversity, modern philosophy has from its inception been dogged, paradoxically, by an anti-philosophical tendency. With notable exceptions, modern thought is colored by skepticism concerning the very possibility of philosophy as the search for truth about ultimate principles and human good, and by inattention to the meaning of practical wisdom in non-philosophical life. Cultivation of an intellectual awareness adequate to this situation is a principal goal of the School of Philosophy.

Requirements for Admission

Applicants for admission to the School of Philosophy should obtain an application form from the Office of Admissions of the university or from the dean of the school. Applications can also be submitted online. Full and properly completed applications must be received by the Office of Admissions at least one month in advance of registration as indicated in the university calendar.

Each student must be registered for each semester in residence. No student will be permitted to register later than the last day of the registration period without special permission of the dean. Each student entering the university for the first time must be enrolled and registered on or before the first day of class.

Undergraduate

Students may be admitted to the School of Philosophy as freshmen or as upperclassmen. Upperclassmen who wish to declare a philosophy major or transfer into the school must have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA to be accepted. Transfer students must fulfill all the requirements of the School of Philosophy for courses in the major.

Credits earned in undergraduate courses in philosophy pursued at other institutions will be accepted for undergraduate degrees provided that the requirements of the University-wide policy for earning transfer credit are met, that the courses are equal in quality and content to those offered in the School of Philosophy and that the student has earned high grades in those courses. The maximal number of allowable transfer courses in philosophy is normally limited to half of those required for the major.

The process of evaluating coursework for transfer credit involves the following steps:

1. After an application has been submitted to the University, the Admissions Office will work with the applicant to obtain all requisite documentation (college and high school transcripts, letter of reference, and so forth).

2. If the applicant is accepted into the University, the Admissions Office will forward the completed file to the School of Philosophy, which will oversee the evaluation of all transfer credits for transfer students enrolled in the School. Students who wish to major in philosophy through the School of Arts and Sciences will have their courses evaluated through that School.

3. Students from other institutions interested in transferring to the University should provide the School of Philosophy or the School of Arts and Sciences with both a course description and a syllabus for each course that they have taken or are currently taking.

Transfer students should bear in mind that the entire academic credit-transfer process can take several weeks or longer. The School of Philosophy will notify the student when the evaluation process is completed, at which time all approved transfer credits will be recorded on the transfer student's CUA student record.

Special Students

Special undergraduate students are admitted to such courses as they may select without the intention of going on for academic degrees. Before admission they must furnish satisfactory evidence of their fitness to follow these courses profitably.

Undergraduate Programs

Bachelor of Philosophy or Bachelor of Arts

  1. Candidates for the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Philosophy degree in the School of Philosophy must successfully complete at least 120 semester hours of credit in undergraduate courses, including those taken during the freshman and sophomore years and those prescribed by the program in which they are enrolled. Two programs in the School of Philosophy are open to qualified students at the college level: (a) the program of concentration, and (b) the prelaw program.

  2. Students in the School of Philosophy may choose a minor field of concentration in another school, e.g. Arts and Sciences, Music, or Theology and Religious Studies. The minor comprises six courses. The student should consult with his or her adviser in philosophy to plan for including the minor field in coursework. For minors in departments of the School of Arts and Sciences, the student should consult the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Advising Handbook to see what courses are required.

  3. Students who have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.2 may choose a second program of concentration in another school.

  4. In order to graduate, the student must have a cumulative average of at least 2.0 in coursework at The Catholic University of America.

  5. All courses taken to meet the requirements for a concentration in philosophy, including distribution requirements, must be passed with a grade of C or better. Students who fail to achieve a grade of C or better in a course required for a concentration in philosophy may repeat that course. Any course taken to fulfill requirements for the concentration, however, may only be repeated once.
  6. The comprehensive examination must be passed with at least a grade of C. The comprehensive examination grade will be recorded both as a number and a letter grade on the student's permanent transcript.

  7. Students in the School of Philosophy should normally take at least 15 semester hours of coursework for credit each semester. They will be permitted to over-elect one course in addition to the 15 semester hours only if they maintain at least a 3.0 average. Permission to over-elect or to make changes in the program of studies must be obtained in advance from the associate dean of the School of Philosophy.

Distribution Requirements for Students Entering the School as Freshmen or Sophomores
  1. Theology and Religious Studies. Four courses, including TRS 201 or HSTR 101 (Honors). For specific information consult the website of the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

  2. Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
    1. For those choosing the mathematics and natural sciences option, six courses: two in mathematics, if possible MATH 121 and 122 (but not 108); either PHYS 215 or 205, CHEM 103 with 113, BIOL 103 or 105, and another physics, chemistry, or biology course at a higher level; or four courses in only one of these three sciences at or beyond the level specified above.
    2. For those choosing the language option, four courses: two in mathematics, if possible 121 and 122 (but not 108); and two in physics, chemistry, or biology, both in the same science and at or beyond the level specified above.
  3. Humanities. Four courses, including ENG 101, and three courses to be chosen from the following disciplines: Architecture (ARPL 101, 211, 212); Art; Classics; Comparative Literature; Drama; English (102, 104 and 200 level or higher); Greek and Latin (above 104); History; Honors Culture & Technology (HSCT 101, 102, and others specifically designated); Honors Humanities (HSHU); HUM 101; Media Studies; Medieval and Byzantine Studies (MDST 201); Modern Languages (literature courses); Music, and WASH 101.
  4. Social and Behavioral Sciences. Two courses from the following: Anthropology other than those designated as natural science (i.e., not ANTH 105, 108, 218, or 354); Business and Economics; Classics (ancient history only); Education; History; Honors Environmental Studies (HSEV 203, 204 only); Politics; Psychology; Social Work; Sociology, and WASH 101.

  5. Language.

    1. For all students: two courses at the intermediate level in an ancient or modern language;
    2. Additionally for those electing the language option: two courses in an ancient language if they are fulfilling the basic requirement with a modern language, or two courses in a modern language if they are fulfilling the basic requirement with an ancient language.
Program of Concentration

The program of concentration consists of 14 philosophy courses for students enrolled in the School of Philosophy. If the student is enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences, where it is also possible to major in philosophy, the program of concentration consists of 12 philosophy courses.

PHIL 201 and 202 are prerequisites for all philosophy courses in the program of concentration, except for students participating in the University Honors Program philosophy sequence, or, in exceptional cases, with the special permission of the associate dean.

Two courses may be taken for graduate credit and be applied to the fulfillment of course requirements for the M.A. or Ph.L. degree in philosophy if the total number of credits earned for the B.A. or Ph.B. degree is 126 or more. These would normally be PHIL 456/556 and a graduate course taken for the philosophy elective.

A student in the program of concentration who fails to maintain an acceptable average (i.e., 3.0 in philosophy courses) may be dismissed from the program and may be required to relinquish any scholarship held.

Except for participants in the University Honors Program philosophy sequence, the program of concentration within the School of Philosophy consists of the following elements:

PHIL 309 Theories of Ethics
PHIL 313 Philosophy of Human Nature
PHIL 329 Philosophy of Science
PHIL 331 Philosophy of Knowledge
PHIL 351 Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 353 History of Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 354 History of Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 355 Metaphysics I
PHIL 356 Metaphysics II
PHIL 453 History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL 454 Contemporary Philosophy
PHIL 455 Junior Seminar
PHIL 456 Senior Seminar
 Elective PHIL 310/311/315/317, or 332

Students enrolled in the philosophy major in the School of Arts and Sciences take 12 courses to fulfill the major. The two courses omitted in their program are PHIL 313 and 329. One of these may still be selected by the arts and sciences major as the student's philosophy elective. See "Program in Philosophy" in the Announcements of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Prelaw Program of Concentration

This program is designed for students wishing to prepare for a career in law or related fields through a rigorous and comprehensive training in philosophy.

The prelaw program of concentration in philosophy consists of 14 philosophy courses if the student is enrolled in the School of Philosophy, and 12 philosophy courses if the student is enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences.

PHIL 201 and 202 are prerequisites for all philosophy courses in the prelaw program of concentration, except for students participating in the University Honors Program philosophy sequence, or, in exceptional cases, with the special permission of the associate dean.

Two courses may be taken for graduate credit and be applied to the fulfillment of course requirements for the M.A. or Ph.L. degree in philosophy if the total number of credits earned for the B.A. or Ph.B. degree is 126 or more. These would normally be PHIL 456/556 and a graduate course taken for the philosophy elective.

A student in the prelaw program of concentration who fails to maintain an acceptable average, i.e., 3.0 in philosophy courses, may be dismissed from the program and may be required to relinquish any scholarship held.

Except for participants in the University Honors Program philosophy sequence, the prelaw program in the School of Philosophy consists of the following elements:

PHIL 301 Reasoning and Argumentation
PHIL 313 Philosophy of Human Nature
PHIL 331 Philosophy of Knowledge
PHIL 353 History of Ancient Philosophy
PHIL 354 History of Medieval Philosophy
PHIL 355 Metaphysics I
PHIL 356 Metaphysics II
PHIL 453 History of Modern Philosophy
PHIL 454 Contemporary Philosophy
PHIL 455 Junior Seminar
PHIL 456 Senior Seminar
 Elective

PHIL 309/310/311/315/317, or 329

In addition, two of the following:
PHIL 332 Political Philosophy
PHIL 333 Philosophy of Natural Right and Natural Law
PHIL 403 Morality and Law
Distribution Requirements for Students Enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences and the National Catholic School of Social Service

Students in the School of Arts and Sciences and the National Catholic School of Social Service taking courses in philosophy must observe the following:

1. Except for students participating in the University Honors Program, PHIL 201 and 202 are required courses for students enrolled in each School, and are normally taken during the freshman year.

2. In addition to PHIL 201 and 202, students who are pursuing a B.A. degree or a B.S.W. degree, must elect one course from each of two areas to fulfill the last two of their four-course philosophy requirement:

a. Area I. Logic, Morality, and Action
b. Area II. Nature, Knowledge, and God.

The two required courses may not be from the same area. Students are free to elect additional courses from the two areas and any 500-level course, except 505 and 556.

Area I: Logic, Morality, and Action

PHIL 301 Reasoning and Argumentation
PHIL 303 Biomedical Ethics
PHIL 309 Theories of Ethics
PHIL 310 Philosophy of Art
PHIL 311 Contemporary Moral Issues
PHIL 332 Political Philosophy
PHIL 333 Philosophy of Natural Right and Natural Law
PHIL 351 Introduction to Symbolic Logic
PHIL 403 Morality and Law

Area II: Nature, Knowledge, and God

PHIL 305 Metaphysics
PHIL 308 Philosophy of God
PHIL 313 Philosophy of Human Nature
PHIL 315 Philosophy of Language
PHIL 317 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 328 Philosophy of the Social Sciences
PHIL 329 Philosophy of Science
PHIL 331 Philosophy of Knowledge
PHIL 334 Philosophy in the Islamic World
Subconcentration or Minor Field for Students Enrolled in the School of Arts and Sciences

The minor in philosophy consists of two courses in addition to the four-course distribution requirement. The two additional courses must be from different areas.

Philosophy Requirements for Students Enrolled in Other Schools

Courses in philosophy are also an essential component of the bachelor's degrees in other Schools of the University. Two courses in sequence introduce the student to philosophy and are prerequisites to all other courses:

PHIL 201 The Classical Mind
PHIL 202 The Modern Mind
Engineering Ethics

The following additional course is required for all students pursuing a bachelor's degrees from the School of Engineering:

PHIL 362 Professional Ethics in Engineering

Honors

The Dean's List honors academic achievement following each fall and spring semester. To be eligible for the Dean's List in a given semester, a student in the School of Philosophy must complete at least 15 credits in that semester with a grade point average of 3.5 or higher. None of the courses taken may be pass/fail or repeated courses.

Basselin Foundation

Advisory Committee

President of the University, Provost of the University, Provincial, Society of St. Sulpice

Administrative Officer

Very Rev. Phillip J. Brown, S.S., Rector, Theological College

In fulfillment of the will of Theodore Basselin, The Catholic University of America established a foundation in his name to provide fellowships in a special course of studies for diocesan seminarians preparing for the Catholic priesthood. Candidates for the fellowships must have completed two years of the liberal arts curriculum in a college/university or a college/university program under diocesan sponsorship; they must also have given evidence of superior performance in their studies. The Basselin Foundation fellowships carry such students through three years of intensive work in philosophy: two years on the undergraduate level and one year of postgraduate work. The undergraduate course of studies is the concentration program of the School of Philosophy. Students admitted under the Basselin fellowships must qualify for this program and maintain an acceptable average to retain their fellowships.

In the curriculum, first importance is given to those branches of philosophy most necessary as a preparation for the study of theology; stress is laid upon the courses in scholastic philosophy. The Basselin fellowship, as is stipulated in its charter, also requires its recipient to give special attention to public speaking in view of later pastoral responsibilities.

During the three years of study, full tuition, room, and board are provided to students accepted into the program. In addition to these academic and financial benefits, the students continue their preparation for the priesthood through participation in the life and programs of Theological College of The Catholic University of America. Although the Basselin students are part of the larger community, they receive attention in areas specific to their stage in priestly preparation.

In addition to the regular requirements for degrees cited above, Basselin students are required to take three courses in the area of public speaking. Two of these, taken usually in the junior year, are available in the School of Philosophy: 

PHIL 374 Ritual, Language and Action (3)
PHIL 375 Liturgical Readings (3)

The third course, DR 205, Introduction to Speech Communications, is available in the offerings of the Department of Drama, if the student has not previously taken a speech or drama class.

Six-Year Dual Ph.B.–S.T.B. Program

The School of Philosophy offers in cooperation with the School of Theology and Religious Studies a dual Ph.B.-S.T.B. Program that is completed in six years. The program, designed specifically for the circumstances and needs of the Redemptoris Mater Archdiocesan Missionary Seminary, is open to all applicants.

This six-year dual Ph.B.-S.T.B. program is an integrated program of 64 three-credit courses leading to the two degrees. To complete this program in six years requires taking a total of four courses distributed in the first two summers of the program. The Ph.B. part of the program requires 40 courses for 120 credits distributed as follows: (1) 14 philosophy courses for the major; (2) 4 courses in Latin and 2 courses in Greek; (3) 2 courses in English composition and literature; (4) 2 courses in history; (5) 3 courses in math and the physical sciences; (6) 2 courses in the social sciences; (7) 2 elective courses in the humanities; (8) 3 open elective courses; (9) 6 courses in theology. The senior comprehensive examination is required. For details of the S.T.B. portion of the program, consult the School of Theology and Religious Studies.

Summer Sessions

The School of Philosophy operates in the Summer Sessions. Students in the Summer Sessions are subject to the same scholastic requirements as those enrolled during the regular academic year.