Philosophy

Chair or Program Director: 

Steven Berg, Ph.D., Chair
Alumni Hall 119, Phone 502.272.8226, sberg@bellarmine.edu

Faculty: 

Joshua Golding, Ph.D.; David Mosley, Ph.D; Katherine Biederman, Ph.D.; Evanthia Speliotis, Ph.D.

“Philosophy,” a name said to have been coined by the ancient Greek thinker Pythagoras, literally means “love of wisdom.” It begins in wonder: wonder at the perplexing nature of the world and of human beings within it. Wonder drives philosophers to question, to investigate, and to reason about the nature of the whole and the nature of human beings as that part of the whole that is open to the whole. Because of the character of its investigations, philosophy often finds itself in tension with the political community or society within which it exists. For any political community is based upon certain fundamental opinions about the world and about human beings that are long-standing and are taken to be both sacred and true. Yet it is only the kind of questioning that philosophy pursues that is able to relieve political life of the dangers of an unrelenting and unqualified dogmatism, or a wholly unreflective adherence to opinion.

Within the Catholic liberal arts tradition that Bellarmine University embraces, philosophy and theology provide the foundation. Philosophy is not simply one among the many liberal arts, but rather foundational insofar as it takes up and examines the unexamined first principles of all the other disciplines. Thus, for example, though every science makes certain claims about what it knows and what is true, it is philosophy alone that investigates what knowledge and truth are and what it means to say “I know” and “That is true.” The study of philosophy, therefore, is central to the mission of Bellarmine University. Guided as it is by the love of truth (in veritatis amore), and directed toward encouraging students to develop the intellectual and moral qualities necessary to pursue a life worth living, a Bellarmine education is rooted in and enriched by philosophy’s ongoing investigation.

The study of philosophy at Bellarmine is primarily oriented toward helping students uncover and understand the fundamental and permanent questions that stand at the center of human existence. It takes seriously the indispensable contributions to the uncovering and articulation of these questions that have been made by the greatest thinkers from Greek antiquity to the present day. Moreover, the study of philosophy is undertaken in light of the recognition that, when it comes to the understanding of these questions, the greatest thinker is not necessarily the most recent.

The study of philosophy enhances analytical, critical, and interpretive skills. A major in philosophy provides the foundation not only for graduate studies and degrees in philosophy, but for virtually any discipline that requires critical, evaluative, or diagnostic skills. According to a study conducted by the American Philosophical Association in the early 1990s, which was reported in the Wall Street Journal (10/24/95), “philosophy majors who took the Graduate Record Examination between 1990 and 1993 finished first among all fields in verbal skills and third in analytical skills.”

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