To satisfy the core requirement of Philosophical Reasoning, all students at Saint Anselm College take two introductory philosophy seminars, one in theoretical philosophy and the other in practical or moral philosophy. These requirements can be met in one of two ways, systematically or historically. Systematically, the requirement is met by taking Human Nature Seminar (PH 105) to satisfy the theoretical reason component and Ethics Seminar (PH 107) to satisfy the practical reason or moral component. Historically, the requirement can be satisfied by taking the Philosophical Life Seminar I-II (PH 108-109), a two-course sequence taught by one professor and covering the same topics as PH 105 and PH 107 but ordered historically. All introductory philosophy seminars are capped at 20 students.
An introduction to the traditional topics of speculative philosophy, pertaining to nature, the human person, and God. Typical questions to be addressed include:
What kind of thing am I? Am I just my body, or do I have an immaterial soul?
Do I have free will? Am I morally responsible for any of my actions? Does science show that freedom and responsibility are illusions?
Is there life after death? Is life after death even possible? If there is life after death, then what is it like?
Was I designed and created by God? Is it rational to believe in God? If God exists, then why is there so much evil in the world?
A presentation of the rational principles of moral conduct, with application to specific cases. It includes discussions of major ethical theories. Typical questions to be addressed include:
What makes actions right/wrong?
Are there any "absolute" moral rules?
Are moral rules "relative" to individuals or to cultures, or are they "objective"?
Is torture ever morally permissible?
What are our duties to the poor?
What is the meaning of life?
This two-course sequence considers theoretical questions and moral questions in connection with one another, investigating how these two types of questions influenced one another during each of the four historical areas of western philosophical discourse, as well as possibly in eastern thought. PH 108 covers the history of philosophy from antiquity to the Middle Ages and Renaissance; PH 109 covers modern to contemporary philosophy. PH 108 serves as a prerequisite for PH 109. Students who complete PH 108 must complete their second core course in philosophy by taking PH 109.
The Philosophy Department offers a variety of Philosophy and Great Books courses every semester in addition to introductory philosophy seminars. Refer to the Online College Catalogue for more information, including course descriptions.
A group of students and faculty meets most Fridays during the academic year to discuss philosophy. For more information, visit the club's Facebook page, or contact the faculty advisor, David Banach. You can also sign up to our email list for news and event updates.
A group of students and faculty meet a few times each semester to watch an episode of Star Trek followed by a philosophical discussion of the episode. For more information, contact one of the organizers, Max Latona or Joshua Tepley.