Undergraduate Philosophy Courses

Students in the M.T.S. and M.Div. programs are expected to have 12 credits in philosophy from their previous university work. These should include PHIL200 Introduction to Philosophy (or equivalent). The philosophy requirements may be taken concurrently with the degree, but do not count as elective courses towards the M.T.S. and M.Div. degree. Students on the B.Th. program must take PHIL 200 and one other philosophy elective. Students preparing for ordination should note that there are additional philosophy requirements for ordination beyond those required for the degree.

Reading courses in philosophy may be taken by students who are not registered in a program at Newman Theological College. The policy that students must have finished at least one half of their program to take reading courses does not apply to courses in philosophy.

Note: Courses not suitable for this format are PHIL 201 Logic and all language courses.

(Great Books courses marked with *)


PHIL 100 Introduction to Philosophy

3 Credits
A general introduction to the major areas of philosophy and philosophical method. Issues that may be addressed include knowledge, truth, beauty, God's existence, evil, free-will, happiness, morality, political theory.

Recommended first philosophy course. Required for B.Th.


PHIL 110G Historical Introduction to Philosophy I *

3 Credits
An historical introduction to philosophy from the pre-Socratics to modern times. Topics such as the nature of God, of knowledge, of human nature, of society, of friendship, and of beauty will be studied through the close reading and discussion of representative Great Books of the Western philosophical tradition.


PHIL 111G Historical Introduction to Philosophy II *

3 Credits
An historical introduction to philosophy from the pre-Socratics to modern times. Topics such as the nature of God, of knowledge, of human nature, of society, of friendship, and of beauty will be studied through the close reading and discussion of representative Great Books of the Western philosophical tradition. Successful completion of PHIL 110G* is a prerequisite for PHIL 111G*.


PHIL 120 Logic and the Art of Reasoning

3 Credits
The study of logic enables the intellect to engage in the orderly pursuit of truth. In this class, students will hone their ability to use language with precision by mastering the rules of definition, by identifying the relationship between kinds of propositions, and by becoming familiar with valid and invalid syllogistic forms. Besides studying substantial portions of Plato’s Meno, Aristotle’s Categories and Porphyry’s Isagogy, students will learn how to name and avoid the most common logical fallacies.


PHIL 210G Ancient and Medieval Philosophy *

3 Credits
(Students who take this course may not receive credit for PHIL 245 and PHIL 246)
A study of the major early Greek and Medieval philosophers that have been influential in theology. Special attention will be given to Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Anselm and Aquinas.


PHIL 220 Social & Political Thought

3 Credits
A study of the fundamental principles of political philosophy as a basis for Catholic social teaching. The course will address such questions as: Are social and political modes of organization – family, household, city, and nation – natural or merely conventional? What are the appropriate limits of human freedom? Do human beings have rights that everyone should respect? Is there a difference between moral and legal obligations? Can it ever be morally acceptable to disobey the state? These questions will be explored through a study of texts by historical and recent authors such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Locke, Hobbes, de Tocqueville, Rawls, MacIntyre and Finnis, but will focus upon topics of perennial concern.


PHIL 238 Aesthetics

3 Credits
Various theories of aesthetics in philosophy and theology. Beauty as a transcendental. Aesthetics and the arts.


PHIL 240 Philosophy of Human Nature

3 Credits
A philosophical inquiry into human nature and personhood in relation to nature and being in general. The historical development of the concept of person in philosophy and anthropology from past to present, especially in view of theological understandings.

PHIL 241 Philosophy of Nature

3 Credits
Philosophical inquiry into various aspects of nature and the universe, including issues arising from changing views of science and cosmology. The theological importance of various views of nature and God in historical and contemporary times.


PHIL 243 Metaphysics

3 Credits
A philosophical study of being in its various dimensions. Issues such as substance and attributes, transcendental, being and essence, analogy, and universals will be addressed in light of classical and contemporary approaches. Special attention will be given to the functions of metaphysics within theology.


PHIL 245 Ancient Philosophy

3 Credits
A study of the major early Greek philosophers that have been influential in theology. Special attention will be given to Plato and Aristotle.


PHIL 246 Medieval Philosophy

3 Credits
The major early and late medieval philosophers and their schools of thought that have been influential in theology, for example: Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, Bonaventure, John Duns Scotus, Nicholas of Cusa, William Ockham.


PHIL 247 Modern Philosophy

3 Credits
The major modern philosophers and their schools of thought that have been influential in theology, for example: Descartes, Hume, Kant and Hegel.


PHIL 310G Modern and Contemporary Philosophy *

3 Credits
(Students who take this course may not receive credit for PHIL 247 and PHIL 348.) A study of the major Modern and Contemporary philosophers that have been influential in theology. The course will treat some major representatives of some of the following schools of thought: rationalism, empiricism, idealism, existentialism, hermeneutics, phenomenology, personalism, process thought, and analytic philosophy.


PHIL 330 Ethics

3 Credits
Introduction to traditional and contemporary problems and methods of philosophical ethics or moral philosophy. The impact of ethics on theological and religious teachings and concerns and vice versa.


PHIL 340 Epistemology

3 Credits
An inquiry into knowledge, meaning and truth. A consideration of the validity and roles of sense experience and conceptual knowledge in areas such as common sense, the sciences, metaphysics, and religion. The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of realism, empiricism, idealism, phenomenology, and contemporary theories of knowledge.


PHIL 348 Contemporary Philosophy

3 Credits
An overview of major 20th century philosophers, issues and movements that have been influential in theology and philosophy of religion, for example: Existentialism, Pragmatism, Hermeneutics, Phenomenology, Personalism, Process Thought, Analytic Philosophy, Philosophies of Language and Symbol.


PHIL 349 Contemporary Catholic Philosophy

3 Credits
A study of the major Catholic and non-Catholic philosophers that have influenced the Second Vatican Council and the contemporary Church. Figures studied may include: Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Gabriel Marcel, Maurice Blondel, Joseph Marechal, Dietrich Von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, Jacques Maritain, Bernard Lonergan. Recent philosophers who have been of significance to the contemporary church may include Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Germain Grisez, Jean Luc Marion, etc.


PHIL 350G Philosophy of Religion

3 Credits
Across the centuries human beings have longed for something beyond the natural order of goods. This course considers such questions as: Can God’s existence be proved? What is the relationship between experience and revelation in religion? Is there a way to harmonize the claims of faith and reason? Seminal works by authors such as Sophocles, Plato, Aristotle, Lucretius, Justin Martyr, St. Augustine, St. Thomas, Hume, Nietzsche, Weber, Newman, MacIntyre and St John Paul II may be studied.


PHIL 353 Systematic Philosophy I: Philosophy of Nature and Metaphysics

3 Credits
(Students who take this course may not receive credit for PHIL 241 and PHIL 243) A philosophical study of the fundamental principles of the material world and being. The theological importance of various views of nature and God in historical and contemporary times will be addressed.


PHIL 354 Systematic Philosophy II: Philosophy of the Human Person and Epistemology

3 Credits
(Students who take this course may not receive credit for PHIL 240 and PHIL 340) A philosophical inquiry into human nature and personhood. Particular attention will be given to both the body and the spiritual capacities of the human person, namely the emotional life, freedom of the will, and knowledge. The course will examine the strengths and weaknesses of major approaches to epistemology: realism, empiricism, idealism, phenomenology, and contemporary theories of knowledge may be covered.


PHIL 360G St. Thomas Aquinas *

3 Credits
A study of major themes in Aquinas’ philosophy and theology through a study of selections from the Summa Theologiae. Topics such as the nature of sacred Doctrine, the Trinity, nature and grace, Divine Law, the virtues, sacramental theology, Christology and eschatology will be addressed.


PHIL 390 Special Questions in Philosophy

3 Credits
Varied course description.


PHIL 400 Senior Research Thesis & Defence

3 Credits
During the last year of study, each student researches, writes, and presents a written thesis, the results of which they will defend orally before a panel of faculty members. Under the direction of a thesis director, students will explore critically a topic that arises from their program in Catholic Studies. The purpose of this cumulative exercise is to provide each student with an opportunity to develop and manifest what John Henry Newman called “an integrated habit of mind”.