Chairperson: Ted Di Maria
Director of the Philosophy Graduate Program: David Calhoun
Professors: M. Alfino, B. Henning, T. Jeannot, D. Kries, R. McClelland, W. Pomerleau, T. Rukavina (Emeritus), M. Tkacz, R.M. Volbrecht
Associate Professors: K. Besmer, D. Calhoun, J. Ciaffa, T. Clancy, S.J., B. Clayton, T. Di Maria, Q. Liu, E. Maccarone, W. Ryan, S.J. (Emeritus), E. Schmidt, J. Wagner
Assistant Professors: D. Bradley
Philosophy has played a central role in Jesuit education since its inception, a tradition that is reflected by the place of philosophy in the Gonzaga University core curriculum. Philosophy courses required as part of the University core curriculum for all undergraduate programs aid students in developing skills of thought and logical analysis (PHIL 101), introduce students to sustained reflection on basic questions of human nature and personhood (PHIL 201), and examine the practical and theoretical considerations relevant to human morality and value (PHIL 301). The 400-level elective requirement vitally contributes to a liberal arts education by giving the student critical distance, through philosophical reflection, from immediate involvement in career, professional, academic, and human concerns.
The Philosophy Department also offers courses leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree with a major or minor in philosophy. Beyond courses required by the university core, students must complete an additional nine (9) credits of upper-division course work for a philosophy minor, and twenty-seven additional upper-division hours for the philosophy major. Two special features of the philosophy major curriculum are the philosophy major proseminar, which orients new philosophy majors to the main issues and problems in philosophy and offers practice in philosophical writing, and the senior seminar. Philosophy majors should register for the proseminar as soon as possible after declaring a philosophy major, normally in the fall of their junior year; the senior seminar is a capstone course to be taken in the spring of the senior year.
Students may also earn a philosophy major by completing the department's Kossel Concentration in Philosophical Studies. The Kossel Concentration follows the course of studies established for the training of college seminarians by the Program of Priestly Formation of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The goal of the Kossel Concentration, as stated in the Program, is for students (1) to organize and synthesize their study of the liberal arts through the study of philosophy and (2) to prepare for the study of theology in the post-baccalaureate seminary. Although specifically designed for the students of Bishop White Seminary, the Kossel Track is open to all Gonzaga students. The curricular requirements for the Kossel Track include all of the requirements of the regular philosophy major, but students in the Kossel Track must devote their elective courses to traditional areas of Catholic philosophy. They must also complete extra courses in Latin and in Religious Studies. The Concentration is named after the late Clifford Kossel, S.J., who taught philosophy at Gonzaga for most of his adult life.
An undergraduate major in philosophy is useful preparation for a variety of careers. The focus on logic, argumentation, and moral theory is valuable to students with career plans in law. Students with interests in business, public policy, or government service can benefit from the many courses which provide reflective analysis on the ways in which political, moral, and social values are embedded in social institutions. A degree in philosophy can be valuable when applying to a variety of professional schools which actively look for liberal arts majors and to employers who do the same.
Transfer students who have taken philosophy courses at other institutions may have some or all of the core courses substituted if, in the judgment of the department, they are equivalent to those courses required at Gonzaga and if a grade of “C” or better was earned.