The Philosophy Department of Gonzaga University seeks to communicate to students, the wider academic community, and to extra-academic communities an appreciation of the value of the philosophical life, a life focused on the love and pursuit of wisdom (sophia). In courses, in interaction with students, and in presentations to academic and nonacademic audiences, members of the Department promote this appreciation for philosophy by examining and teaching the rich philosophical content of the Western intellectual tradition and by cultivating in themselves and in others habits of critical thinking and reflection on the concrete problems and issues in a fully human life.
In the philosophy courses that are part of the Gonzaga University core curriculum, the Philosophy Faculty seeks to aid students in developing skills and habits of logical thought and analysis (PHIL 101), to introduce students to sustained reflection on basic questions of human nature, dignity, and personhood (PHIL 201), and to examine the practical and theoretical considerations relevant to human morality and value (PHIL 301). Advanced philosophy courses contribute to a liberal arts education by giving students critical distance, through philosophical reflection, from immediate involvement in career, professional, academic and human concerns. In many cases the advanced philosophy courses are applied ethics courses that enable students to reflect on the ethical values that should guide them in their professional life after academic studies.
For students interested in more extensive study of philosophy (undergraduate majors and minors and Master's Degree students), the Philosophy Department seeks to deepen the love for wisdom by communicating the richness of philosophy as a professional academic and intellectual discipline. The courses for these students stress philosophical inquiry throughout the history of the Western tradition and in a number of areas of systematic and applied philosophy. The objective of these studies is enhancement of the students' commitment to and ability in carrying out sustained philosophical reflection, which besides its intrinsic value will help prepare them for further philosophy studies, for graduate-level professional studies, or tor professional life outside the academy.
The mission objectives of the Philosophy Department serve the mission of the larger University in a number of ways. The focus of the Philosophy Department on the value of the philosophical life supports the University mission objectives of promoting intellectual inquiry and of development and discipline of the faculties of imagination, intelligence, and moral judgment. The stress on the Western philosophical heritage in philosophy courses helps communicate the Christian intellectual tradition of which the University is a part and fosters the preservation and development of that tradition. Further, philosophical investigation of issues in human nature and ethics helps situate students' understanding of the modern world, and advances appreciation of the philosophical grounds of the Christian world view and its classical and modern competitors. Perhaps most of all, the Philosophy Department's emphasis on the value of philosophical reflection promotes personal qualities of self-knowledge, curiosity, and desire for truth, and thereby aids the mission goal of preparing Gonzaga graduates for intelligent and morally informed leadership.