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Philosophy at Villanova

The Mission of the Department of Philosophy

The Philosophy Department of Villanova University is committed to excellence in the teaching and study of Philosophy, broadly conceived, with a primary emphasis on the History of Philosophy, Continental Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy, and Ethics. In its graduate and undergraduate programs, its manner of collective governance, and its commitment to service, the Philosophy Department actively supports the mission and heritage of the University and the wider community served by the University. The courses taught and the research conducted by its faculty constitute a foundation for the rest of the University’s endeavors. In the Philosophy Department, the “enduring commitments” of the University Mission come alive.

The Philosophy Department is a manifestly “diverse community of scholars dedicated to the highest academic standards.” It engages students in critical thinking, intellectual scrutiny and moral reflection. It affirms “the intrinsic good of learning, contemplation and the search for truth.” It “encourages interdisciplinary research, teaching and scholarship,” and it insists on “an informed respect for the differences among peoples and cultures” from a global perspective. Faculty in the Philosophy Department present the Catholic intellectual tradition for students “in ways that engage diverse religious, intellectual and cultural traditions in a vigorous and respectful pursuit of truth and wisdom.” Faculty in the Philosophy Department also apply what they know “to better the human condition” and to foster a “responsible stewardship of the environment” and the more than human world.*

*All quotations from the University Mission.
26 September 2010

The Philosophy Department demonstrates its commitment to serving Villanova students in all the undergraduate colleges by teaching a foundational course in the core curriculum and by offering courses that contribute substantively to majors, minors and concentrations in Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Environmental Studies, Ethics, Gender and Women’s Studies, Honors, Nursing, and Peace and Justice Education. Based in the reading of primary texts, Philosophy courses stress clear and creative critical thinking, cogent writing and open discussion. They introduce students to important concepts at work across the disciplines. And In the foundational courses, Philosophy introduces students to questions and concepts at the heart of Catholic philosophical inquiry especially through the study of ancient and medieval texts. The Philosophy major is dedicated to providing students with the historical foundation for advanced study in the discipline and to developing in its majors a base of knowledge and skills that can be valuable in a wide range of careers. Following one of several tracks of study, Philosophy majors can complement their knowledge of the discipline as a whole with an intensive engagement in a particular area of philosophical thought. Throughout its courses and in the course of study leading to the major, the Philosophy Department emphasizes the value of truth and the inextricable relation of truth to values.

The Philosophy Department is committed to a program of graduate study, culminating in the Ph.D., that forms scholars and teachers “dedicated to the highest academic standards” in the profession of Philosophy. The Ph.D. Program targets a niche in the profession dedicated to the study of the History of Philosophy and Continental Philosophy. It is also committed to teaching and research that expands the diversity of philosophy.  Additionally, the Ph.D. Program supports interdisciplinary studies in Philosophy and Theology that engage philosophical thinking with a vibrant and important part of the growth of contemporary Catholic thought. Within this intellectual context, the graduate program guides its students to become outstanding scholars and supervises and encourages their growth as teachers. Advancing on the University Strategic Plan, the Ph.D. Program is committed to representing the University on a global stage. Its faculty regularly present papers and publish scholarship in Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia, and they are recognized internationally as experts in their fields. Its graduate students are drawn from countries around the world, as well, and those students frequently present their work at conferences in Europe and North America. The reputation for collegiality of the faculty and graduate students in our Philosophy Department is recognized nationally and internationally as exemplary in the profession of Philosophy. The Philosophy Department is honored to contribute to the national and international recognition of the University as a whole.

Philosophy at Villanova

The Philosophy Department is committed to serving Villanova students in all the undergraduate colleges. Philosophy courses, by stressing the reading of primary texts and by teaching critical thinking, writing and discussion skills, introduce students to important philosophical concepts. As part of their introductory course, all students examine the perennial questions at the heart of Catholic philosophical inquiry through the study of ancient and medieval texts.

Through the philosophy major, the Philosophy Department provides students with advanced study, developing valuable skills that can be utilized in a wide range of careers. The diverse courses offered by the department allow students to pursue their interests while exploring the riches that philosophy has to offer.  

The Department strives to fulfill and further the mission of the University by fostering in our students the spirit of critical, reflective thinking and a sense of the importance of values in their lives.