The Wojtyla Medal

Wojtyla Medal

The Wojtyla Medal for Philosophical Excellence is awarded by the philosophy faculty to those graduating seniors who pass a voluntary one-hour oral examination.  The exam covers six systematic areas in philosophy: metaphysics, philosophy of God, philosophy of nature, philosophy of the human person, ethics, and epistemology.  The medal is named for the Polish philosopher-priest Karol Wojtyla, who is better known as Pope St. John Paul II.



Patrick Schultz, 2011
Kevin Klonowski, 2011
Brian DeLaat, 2012
Matthew Jordan, 2012
Joshua Arbogast, 2015
Tim Dollard, 2015
Joshua Soldat, 2015
Alexander Clark, 2016
Samuel Martinez, 2016
Alexander Spenik, 2016



1. Explain the concepts of existence, essence, substance, accident, change, act, and potency.
2. Explain the nature of causality and discuss the major kinds of causes.
3. One of the major questions in philosophy is: “What is there?” or “What exists?” Philosophers through the ages have addressed this very question in different ways. Address the responses of various philosophers to these questions, such as (but not limited to) Parmenides, Plato, Aristotle, and Hume.
4. Discuss Aquinas’s account of the transcendentals. What is ‘beauty’, and how is it related to the transcendentals?


Philosophy of God:

1. Discuss the evidential problem of evil and possible responses to the problem.
2. Explain the reasonableness of belief in God.
3. Discuss two of the following, including puzzles related to each: The Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Atonement. In addition, cite some proposed solutions to these puzzles and the attending difficulties associated with these proposals.


Philosophy of Nature:

1. Discuss what Aristotle means by nature: how it is related to substantial principles such as matter and form; how it differs from art and violence; and how natural things can be said to act for an end.
2. Discuss the introduction of mathematics into the study of nature and its effect on the understanding of cause.
3. What is a law of nature? What is a scientific explanation? What is the role of a model in the construction of a scientific theory?
4. Discuss two of the following: time, space, place, motion, and force.
5. Discuss mechanism and materialistic reductionism.


Philosophy of the Human Person:

1. Evaluate differing conceptions of human nature.
2. What role do the concepts of reason, soul, and end play in the discussion of human nature?
3. Discuss human freedom and its limitations.



1. Explain the basic distinctions used in regard to knowledge: how is perception different from imagination, how is knowledge different from opinion, how is truth different from error, how is error different from ignorance?
2. Explain the difference between the senses and the intellect and discuss the activities of both. Why is truth said to reside in the judgment of the intellect?
3. Discuss the relation of skepticism to the theory of knowledge.
4. In what ways can language lead and mislead us with respect to knowledge?



1. What is the difference between judging an act as good or bad in itself and judging it as good or bad because of its consequences?
2. What is virtue and what are the various kinds of virtue? How is prudence related to moral excellence, and what is the relation between virtuous actions and human character?
3. What is the moral good and how is it different from other forms of the good?
4. Discuss some alternative moral theories, such as ethics of character, ethics of duty, and utilitarianism.