University Core Curriculum
Module II: Exploring the Self and Others

Philosophy of the Human Person

  • This course introduces students to the methods of rigorous philosophical reasoning; introduces students to the philosophical questions, methods, and figures that have played key roles in shaping the Jesuit approach to education and scholarship; and teaches students to critically examine assumptions about reality (especially assumptions about our natures as human beings). Each section explores two or more of the following fundamental philosophical questions: the problem of human knowing, the mind/body problem, the problem of personal identity, the problem of freedom and determinism, and the problem of other persons. This course also aims to develop critical reflective skills to prepare students for more in-depth study in ethics (in the subsequent Ethical Reasoning course), improve critical thinking and writing skills, and enhance students' appreciation for complexity and ambiguity.

    Sample Sections

    Can I Know My Self?

    Faculty: Yancy Hughes Dominick

    This course introduces students to philosophical thinking through a careful examination of our nature as humans.  The character of the human person has been a key topic in philosophy since at least Socrates’ time, and it is also a central concern in the Jesuit intellectual tradition.  In exploring this topic, we will focus on accounts of the nature and limits of human knowledge and on discussions of the human mind and its relation to the body.

    Philosophy of the Human Person

    Faculty: Maria Carl

    This course investigates fundamental questions regarding the nature, value, and capacities of the human person and serves also as an introduction to the discipline and subject matter of philosophy.  Specifically, we will discuss the idea of what it is to be human, what it is to be an individual, and what it is to be the same individual over time; the phenomenon of human knowing and the nature of mind; the possibility of immortality and the relationship between soul or mind and body; the opposition between freedom and determinism; and the significance of the social dimension of human existence.  Throughout the course, students will cultivate their critical reading, writing, and thinking skills, and they will establish a basis for discerning the ethical significance of these foundational questions concerning knowledge, existence, and human nature.

    Philosophy of the Human Person: The Philosophical Life

    Faculty: Elizabeth Sikes

    The guiding questions for this class are: what is the philosophical life and why should I lead one?  In readings and activities designed to respond to these questions, we will open the door to further inquiry into some of the classical problems of the Jesuit philosophical tradition, as well as more contemporary problems surrounding the role of nature and technology in the contemplative life.

  • Learning Objectives

    This course helps students understand the role of philosophical reasoning as a central practice/method of inquiry in the Jesuit tradition, important thinkers and texts in that tradition, and some of the questions about the human person that have shaped that tradition and ground that tradition's study of ethics.

    By teaching rigorous philosophical methods of reasoning, this course helps students develop skills in logical analysis and reasoned dialogue, the ability to understand and assess the soundness of arguments, and improved skills in constructing well-reasoned arguments (including the ability to formulate objections to their own and others' arguments).

    This course helps students understand key content, central problems, major perspectives, and methods of analysis of Philosophy.

    This course assists students in becoming effective writers, including writers of high quality academic prose.

    Through the study of Philosophy, students will encounter and be better prepared to identify and understand issues of ultimate meaning, rights, and justice.