Philosophy

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 MariaQ. 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.

The core curriculum or common body of knowledge of the College of Arts and Sciences consists of 59 to 62 credits which are common to and required of all degree programs in the College: the first 31 credits (of which there is a more complete description in the General Degree Requirements and Procedures section of this catalogue) form the University Core, while the remaining 28 to 31 credits are common to all Arts and Sciences degrees.
Students should attempt to spread the core curriculum over their entire fours years at Gonzaga.

  1. Thought and Expression (7 credits): ENGL 101, SPCO 101, and PHIL 101 (preferably in the same semester).
  2. Philosophy (9 credits): PHIL 201, PHIL 301, and  PHIL  400 level elective.
  3. Religious Studies (9 credits): RELI 100, 200, and 300 levels: one course from each level.
  4. Mathematics (3 credits): one MATH (not CPSC) course on the 100 level or above; NURS 320 is substituted for a MATH course for BSN students; MATH 203 fulfills this requirement only for students who graduate with certification in Elementary Education.
  5. English Literature (3 credits): ENGL 102 or 103H or 105 or 106.
  6. History (6 credits): HIST 101 and either HIST 102 or HIST 112 in their first year. If they are unable to complete all six 100-level HIST credits in their first year, HIST 201 or 202 may be substituted for one 100-level course after the first year.
  7. Fine Arts (3 credits): one course in either VART, MUSC, or THEA from courses approved by Dean of Arts and Sciences.
  8. Laboratory Science (4 credits): one course with laboratory in either BIOL, CHEM, or PHYS.
  9. Mathematics or Natural Science (3 credits): one course in either MATH, CPSC, BIOL, CHEM, PHYS, or ITEC.
  10. Literature (3 credits): one British or American literature course (ENGL 201 - 285).
  11. Social Science (6 credits): CRIM 101, ECON, SOCI, POLS, or PSYC: two courses from these departments.
  12. Foreign Language or Culture (3 credits): one course in any foreign language (classical or modern) or one (foreign culture) course approved by the Dean of Arts and Sciences.  Foreign-language speaking students from foreign cultures who have completed the nine English core credits at Gonzaga prior to their fourth year (last thirty credits) may petition the Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences for a waiver of the foreign language or Culture requirement..
  13. Social Justice (3 credits): One course on Social Justice issues related to experiences of difference (like race, class, gender, ethnicity or sexual orientation), from courses approved by the Dean of Arts & Sciences; (may be combined with other core or major requirements).