The word "philosophy" is derived from the Greek words meaning "love of wisdom." Philosophy majors understand it as the pursuit of a meaningful life. At La Salle, we provide a better context to help students answer life’s biggest questions through the study of human nature, the nature of goodness, and the many masks that evil wears.
Beyond the core philosophy curriculum, students enjoy a wide range of interesting and unique courses including:
THE HUMAN PERSON
This course is a study of the human person that integrates the biological, social, and religious dimensions of human life. Possible topics include freedom and determinism, body and soul, the individual and society, and mortality and immortality.
MORAL INQUIRY AND MORAL CHOICE
This course is an investigation of classic moral theories. Possible topics include virtue and happiness, social justice, moral relativism, and moral obligation. General principles will be applied to concrete moral issues.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY
This course is a critical examination of the nature of society through the reading and discussion of primary philosophical texts. Themes include: person and society, the foundation of the political order, human rights and law, justice and society, and the natural and the social sciences.
PERSPECTIVES ON DEATH
This course is a study of various philosophical strategies for coming to terms with human death. Philosophical views on death applied to problems such as aging and dying, suicide and euthanasia, the medical conquest of death, and definitions of death are topics to be addressed. This course is of particular value for students choosing careers in the health professions.
This course aims at developing the skill of analyzing, interpreting, and criticizing arguments from a variety of disciplines. Topics include: clarification of concepts, distinguishing between conclusions and reasons for conclusions, evaluation of arguments, and the recognition of fallacies.
PHILOSOPHY OF ART
This course is an introduction to the philosophy of art with emphasis on the metaphysics of beauty and on art’s role in politics and society.
PHILOSOPHY LOOKS AT FILM
This course is an application of philosophical perspectives to the study of film, with special attention to international cinema. The course will approach film either as a unique form of art or as a unique medium for engaging traditional philosophical questions.
PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACHES TO GOD
This course is a study of philosophical positions about the existence and nature of God. Themes discussed include various concepts of God; the possibility of proof for the existence of God; and the philosophical dimensions of the religious experience.
TOPICS IN EASTERN PHILOSOPHY
This course will study the major philosophers and philosophies of the East through a focus on one or more of the following philosophical traditions: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Buddhist, or Islamic.
The course is designed to provide the student with an introduction to a wide range of philosophical issues and problems that are attached to the attribution of moral concern for the environment. Topics may include deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, social action, and the moral standing of animals as well as other living beings.
This course is a critical study of existentialist thinkers and themes from the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics may include absurdity, nihilism, subjectivity, freedom, authenticity, and the other.
PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE
The course looks at the practice of science, its aims, its methods, and its relation to society. Possible topics include the justification of scientific findings, the nature of scientific progress, the various branches of science, morally responsible scientific practice, and science and religion
THE GREAT PHILOSOPHERS
This course is an in-depth study of a single major thinker from the philosophical tradition. Emphasis is on the critical reading of texts, although attention will be given to the historical setting of the thinker’s work. Previous thinkers have included St. Augustine, Karl Marx, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault.
GENDER, BODY, AND CULTURE
This course provides a philosophical analysis of social and cultural practices that construct gender identity. Strategies of resistance to dominant modes of embodiment and concepts of sexual difference will also be explored.
MINDS, BRAINS, AND ZOMBIES
This course examines human consciousness. Topics include the relation between the mind and the brain, the possibility of building conscious machines, the mental life of animals, and conceptual puzzles posed by zombies.
Recent topics have included:
Harry Potter and Philosophy
R.R. Tolkien as Philosopher
Tao and Zen
Art and Fascism
Revolution to Romanticism
Philosophy of Islam
Memory, Identity, and the Self
Evolution and Creation
La Salle’s Philosophy Department serves qualified students by offering an unbeatable liberal arts education defined by:
Guidance and dedication from professors who are recognized scholars of their industry.
Flexibility that allows students to change the direction of their career preparation through their junior year without any notable effect on their ability to complete the program in four years.
Individualized, one-on-one attention.
An average class size of 22 students provides the individualized attention that you deserve.
An invaluable location with Center City Philadelphia at your doorstep.
A close-knit community our well-read cohort of faculty, staff, Christian Brothers and fellow students ignite meaningful discussion and collaboration, as well as lifelong friendships.
Unbeatable value based on a proven return-on-investment. That’s why Money magazine cited La Salle fifth on its list of “50 Colleges that Add the Most Value in 2016, along with mentions in U.S. News and World Reports, Forbes, and the Economist.
An alumni network that offers invaluable support from over 50,000 La Salle graduates and even more from our global Lasallian network.
“We hear again and again that employers value creative problem solving and the ability to deal with ambiguity in their new hires, and I can't think of another major that would better prepare you with those skills than the study of philosophy.”
In today’s demanding and changeable marketplace, employers seek thoughtful and innovative individuals who know how to use their heads. Philosophy majors are marketable because they receive a broad and adaptable education that teaches them to use their heads.
Among the skills and traits that training in philosophy seeks to cultivate, the following have a clear bearing on career options:
Seeing issues from alternative viewpoints.
A cultivated (Socratic) capacity for listening – both sympathetically and critically
Skill at bridging dialogue between individuals who are divided by philosophical differences.
Problem-solving resourcefulness based on a wide-ranging breadth of knowledge and on a habit of asking creative questions.
Skill at developing a clear, orderly, and persuasive presentation of ideas.
Logical rigor in building an argumentative case, and alertness to logical fallacies.
Sensitivity to subtle differences in meaning.
Analytical depth that reaches down to fundamentals.
A cultivated habit of reflecting about larger ends (e.g., of a business enterprise, of a social project, of a political movement) and of charting a course that does not betray those ends.
Attunement to the ethical implications of any practice (based on training in ethics, theoretical and applied).
Education and service are the heart of La Salle’s mission. As a philosophy major, you will be able to dive into a wide range of service opportunities that fall under our Fellowship of Community and University Service (F.O.C.U.S.) umbrella including outreach programs, advocacy groups, mentoring and tutoring programs, and the service and immersion trips.
The groups that fall under the F.O.C.U.S. umbrella include Outreach Programs, Advocacy Groups, Mentoring and Tutoring Programs, and the Service and Immersion Trips. These programs strive to serve others, promote social justice, and work toward the common good. Programs include: