Philosophy is the discipline that tries to answer the "Big Questions," such as:

  • Does God exist?
  • Do I have a soul?
  • Is there life after death?
  • What is the meaning of life?
  • What makes actions right/wrong?
  • Can I know anything for certain?

Because such questions are central to human life, the study of philosophy is an indispensable part of a liberal arts education. Every student at Saint Anselm College takes two introductory philosophy seminars, which are capped at 20 students.

Why study philosophy?

Do you wonder if God exists, if you have a soul, or if there is life after death? If so, you should study philosophy. Philosophers try to answer such questions in a careful and rigorous way using all the resources of logic and human experience. Studying philosophy will also improve your reading, writing, communication, and critical thinking skills.

What can I do with philosophy?

Studying philosophy is excellent preparation for any number of careers. Philosophy majors outperform all other majors but one on the LSAT, all business majors on the GMAT, all other majors on the GRE Verbal Reasoning, all humanities majors on the GRE Quantitative Reasoning, and all other majors on the GRE Analytic Writing. Philosophy majors graduating from Saint Anselm College have gone on to successful careers in law, public relations, finance, publishing, business administration, and higher education.


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.

  • Human Nature Seminar (PH 105)

    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?
  • Ethics Seminar (PH 107)

    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?
  • The Philosophical Life Seminar I-II (PH 108-109)

    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.

  • Other Courses

    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.

Student Activities

Blog and Journal

  • Department Blog

    The Philosophy Department maintains its own blog. If you wish to contribute, contact the blog moderator, David Banach.

  • Lyceum Journal

    The Philosophy Department publishes its own journal, the Lyceum. The Lyceum is a journal of philosophy concentrating in traditional problems in metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and the history of philosophy. The Lyceum publishes professional articles accessible to both professional and undergraduate audiences, as well as a small number of articles by undergraduates per issue. For more information, contact the Department Chair, Joseph Spoerl.