The Borromeo philosophy program encourages genuine thinking by integrating students into the Western and Catholic traditions of philosophy. The course of study is good in itself, because it enlarges and expands the intellectual horizons of the students, and it is good in preparation for theology, because it equips students with categories and distinctions essential for the thoughtful study of the Catholic faith.
The philosophy curriculum consists of ten integrated courses or thirty hours of study, and they are ideally taken in sequence. Four are historical courses, covering ancient and medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy. Six are systematic courses dedicated to important areas of philosophical inquiry: philosophy of nature, philosophy of the human person, philosophy of knowledge, ethics, logic, metaphysics, and philosophy of God.
Freshman Year: Historical Overview
Two courses, Introduction: Ancient Greek Philosophy (PL 210) and Medieval Philosophy and Logic (PL 225), introduce students to the study of philosophy by providing an overview of philosophy’s history. In the first semester, students study the origin and growth of Western philosophy in the ancient and medieval periods. They read Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas, among others.
Sophomore Year: Nature and the Human Person
The second year begins the systematic courses devoted to different areas of philosophy. What Does Science Prove? focuses on the question of what science actually proves with respect to theological claims. Themes investigated in this course include: the origins of the universe, cognitive psychology of religious belief, human uniqueness and immortality, artificial intelligence, moral responsibility and neuroscience, and the historical Adam. 17th/18th Century Philosophy (PL 240) explores central themes in political philosophy and natural theology from the 17th and 18th centuries.
In the second semester, we extend themes from What Does Science Prove? into the philosophical study of the human person. Philosophy of the Human Person (PL 304) considers what human persons are, who human persons are, and the human end/purpose. 19th and 20th Century Philosophy (PL 246) completes the historical courses by providing an overview of philosophy up to the present.
Junior Year: Knowing the True and Willing the Good
The third year continues the systematic courses by investigating the relation of the human person to the true and the good. In Theories of Knowledge (PL 396) students discover both our ability to grasp the truth and the limits of that knowledge. In Ethical Theory (PL 368), students explore the true nature of freedom as found in virtue, the moral law, and the common good.
Senior Year: Being and God
The fourth year completes the student’s systematic study of philosophy. Metaphysics (PL 395) is the study of being as being and its transcendental properties: one, true, good, and beautiful. It culminates in recognition of a first and ultimate cause of existence, God. In the spring, Philosophy of God (PL 308) continues the philosophical approach to God by considering the divine attributes knowable on the basis of creation alone.