Philosophical Study at Duquesne University a guide for seminarians

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1 Philosophical Study at Duquesne University a guide for seminarians 17 November 2011

2 contents Admissions 2 Requirements 3 of the usccb of the Philosophy Department for undergraduates for the m.a coursework-only option Master s Essay option Master s Thesis option for special study Fulfilling usccb requirements at Duquesne 7 Some other noteworthy courses A few stray comments Contacts 10 1

3 admissions To ensure the best choice of courses, apply to Duquesne University as soon as possible, since your application must be reviewed and accepted before you can register for classes. Note that application to Saint Paul Seminary and application to Duquesne University are two distinct processes; admission to the Seminary does not of itself enable you to register at Duquesne. If you have only a high school diploma, you will find forms and instructions at Upon admission, you will be assigned an advisor from the McAnulty College to help you choose and register for classes. In addition, should you have particular questions about your choice of philosophy courses, Prof. Bonin is available to assist you. If you have completed some college courses but do not yet have a bachelor s degree, follow the instructions for transfer students at Upon admission, you too will be assigned an advisor from the McAnulty College. If you have a bachelor s degree or higher, please send transcripts to the Philosophy Department as soon as possible; we will review them and advise you whether to apply for special study or for our m.a. program. Unofficial transcripts suffice for that initial contact with the Department, although we will need official transcripts to complete your admission. The application form may be obtained from the Seminary or from Dr. Bonin. Upon admission, please contact Dr. Bonin as soon as possible to select and register for courses. 2

4 requirements of the usccb The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in the fifth edition of its Program of Priestly Formation, sets forth these expectations: The philosophy program must include substantial studies in the history of philosophy treating ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary philosophy. Some treatment of American philosophy or social thought is also helpful for seminarians in understanding the dynamics of contemporary society in the United States. ( 155) The philosophical curriculum must include the study of the history of philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), logic, epistemology, metaphysics, philosophy of nature, natural theology, anthropology and ethics. ( 178; see also 15) of the Philosophy Department Duquesne University has the resources to help you meet these expectations as well as its own requirements. for undergraduates The major requires at least 10 courses (30 credits) in philosophy, according to this scheme: 1. Basic Philosophical Questions (3 credits). 2. One additional course (3 credits) at any level. 3. Any three additional courses (9 credits) on the 300 level, which explores the history of philosophy. 4. Three additional courses (9 credits) at the 200, 300, or 400 levels. 5. Two additional courses ( credits) at the 400 or 500 levels. 3

5 After Basic Philosophical Questions, majors are encouraged to take at least two courses at the 200 level or in the 300-level history sequence before moving on to thematic 300-level or advanced 400-level courses. Many majors take more than ten courses, and you are especially encouraged to do so because Roman universities expect 3 credits in philosophy. for the m.a. The formation program requires that all seminarians earn 3 credit hours in philosophy, since universities in Rome require this standard for admission. While not all seminarians will study in Rome, the standard is defined for seminarians at Saint Paul Seminary. Thus, pre-theology students take classes beyond the requirements of Duquesne s Master of Arts in Philosophy program; we encourage them to earn these additional credits by taking courses required by the usccb but rarely available on the graduate level (e.g., logic). There are three options available for pre-theology students pursuing the Master of Arts: coursework only, master s essay, and master s thesis options. All options are designed so that seminarians can obtain the m.a. in two years. coursework-only option credit hours of graduate philosophy courses at Duquesne, including one course each in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophy. 2. An additional credit hours of undergraduate and/or graduate philosophy courses at Duquesne courses, or 24 credit hours, at Saint Paul Seminary. One Seminary course taken on the graduate level may be applied toward the 3 credit hours if approved by the Philosophy Department. 4

6 Master s Essay option credit hours of graduate courses in philosophy at Duquesne, including one course each in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophy. 2. A 25- to 30-page essay integrating the philosophical content with subject matters introduced in Seminary courses, such as patristics, moral theology, or the origins of the Catholic faith. The essay will satisfy 3 credit hours. 3. An additional credit hours of undergraduate and/or graduate philosophy courses at Duquesne courses, or 24 credit hours, at Saint Paul Seminary. One Seminary course on the graduate level may be applied toward the 3 credit hours if approved by the Philosophy Department. Candidates pursuing the essay option have two readers: a faculty member from Saint Paul Seminary and one from the Philosophy Department. Both readers and the student sign a prospectus. Determination of the subject matter and the content of the master s essay are approved by both readers. Master s Thesis option credit hours of graduate courses in philosophy at Duquesne, including one course each in ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary philosophy. 2. A master s thesis, equivalent to credit hours. 3. An additional credit hours of undergraduate and/or graduate philosophy courses at Duquesne courses, or 24 credit hours of work, at Saint Paul Seminary. One Seminary course on the graduate level may be applied toward the 3 credit hours if approved by the Philosophy Department. Candidates pursuing the thesis option follow the criteria established by the Philosophy Department. The director, both readers, 5

7 and the student sign a prospectus. Determination of the subject matter and the content of the master s thesis are approved by the director and the readers. for special study Students with a bachelor s degree or higher who do not wish to pursue a degree in philosophy may take 3 credit hours in philosophy; whether a student earns these credits in undergraduate courses, graduate courses, or some combination of undergraduate and graduate courses depends on his preparedness and on the suitability of the courses offered.

8 fulfilling usccb requirements at duquesne requirement course no. course title logic phil 10 Introduction to Logic phil 509 Aristotle: Organon epistemology phil 221 Epistemology phil 42/52 Phenomenology & Epistemology philosophy of nature phil 412/512 Aristotle s Physics phil 503 Aristotle s Natural Philosophy metaphysics phil 407/507 Aristotle s Metaphysics phil 424/524 Plato s Parmenides /Aristotle s Metaphysics phil 350 Elements of Thomistic Thought natural theology phil 498 Philosophy of God phil 521 St. Thomas Aquinas God and Being anthropology phil 409/509 Aristotle: De anima phil 427/527 St. Thomas Aquinas The Soul ucor 151 Philosophical Ethics ethics phil 442/542 Foundations of Moral Philosophy phil 411/511 Aristotle s Nicomachean Ethics ancient philosophy phil 300 Ancient Philosophy medieval philosophy phil 301 Medieval Philosophy modern philosophy phil 302 Early Modern Philosophy phil 304 Later Modern Philosophy phil 305 Contemporary Philosophy contemporary philosophy phil 200 Introduction to Phenomenology phil 208 Existentialism phil 40/50 Introduction to Phenomenology 7

9 Some other noteworthy courses The table above indicates some courses fulfilling usccb requirements; there are others. In particular, the courses listed for the major historical periods are surveys, since some seminaries the North American College especially insist on the breadth provided by surveys. However, if you already have some background in a historical period, we offer a wealth of courses focusing on particular texts or thinkers. Many of the courses on particular Platonic dialogs or Aristotelian treatises are of great value for future students of theology. The following should also be considered: phil 203 phil 219 phil 270 phil 280 phil 415/515 phil 420/520 phil 450/550 phil 471/571 phil 523 phil 525 phil 19 Philosophy of Religion Christian Philosophy American Philosophy Asian Thought Plotinus The Philosophy of Saint Augustine Islamic Philosophy Ricœur: Symbolism of Evil The Names of God The Greek Middle Ages Kierkegaard: The Later Works A few stray comments The North American College in Rome has sometimes had difficulty recognizing which of our courses fulfill which formation requirement; should you apply there and experience this problem, we can send syllabi and other supporting documents. Since we are a large and vibrant department with a long history, the list of philosophy course numbers and titles recognized by the Registrar contains what appear to be duplications and inconsistencies. To take but one example, phil 203, Philosophy of Religion, may also appear as phil 313. Generally, you 8

10 should consider the title and the list of readings when choosing courses; the numbers mean little, except for degree-seeking seminarians who need to ensure that they receive graduate and not undergraduate credit. If you come to the Seminary with a bachelor s degree but fairly new to philosophy, you can ease your transition by reading a few short and accessible books: Mortimer Adler. Aristotle for Everybody: Difficult Thought Made Easy. Macmillan, Adler explains basic notions found in many philosophical texts, not just Aristotle s. Some points of his interpretation toward the end of the book are questionable, but exposure to that way of reading Aristotle will serve you well, because it has a long and noble pedigree, and those points have been debated in a most fruitful way by philosophers you ll study. Ralph McInerny. A Student s Guide to Philosophy. ISI Books, McInerny gives good advice about one s first approach to philosophy and introduces major figures and schools of thought, enough so that your first classes won t seem to consist exclusively of unknown names and terms. He also offers some reflections on the relation between faith and philosophy. Plato. Apology. In the public domain. Plato presents the courtroom speech of Socrates (ca b.c.), his friend and mentor. Since the latter was tried and executed for his philosophical activities, his self-defense amounts to a defense of philosophy, and the text is key to understanding the philosophical enterprise. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have. 9

11 contacts Dr. Thérèse Bonin advisor for seminarians 320 College Hall Dr. Ronald Polansky Acting Chair 303 College Hall Dr. James Swindal Chair; Acting Dean 210 College Hall Mrs. Joan Thompson Administrative Assistant 303 College Hall

12 Plato & Aristotle, detail from The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael in the Stanza della Segnatura, Palazzi Pontifici, Vatican

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