Holy Cross College Philosophy LogoHoly Cross College guides students on a path to build a life that matters. One area to accomplish that is through the study of philosophy, and the College now offers a major in philosophy.

“A philosophy major is a college academic program based on the academic discipline of philosophy. The word ‘philosophy’ derives from two Greek words meaning ‘the love of wisdom.’ Since six centuries before Christ in Ancient Greece, and about the same time in China, philosophers have been using natural reason to seek answers to life’s important questions, such as: What is the nature of reality? Is the human soul immortal? What is the difference between true belief and knowledge? What is a just society? Is living an ethical life good for oneself? Does God exist? And many others. For as long as the Catholic intellectual tradition has existed, philosophy has been understood to be an essential part of it,” said David Lutz, Ph.D., professor of philosophy.

According to Lutz, although philosophy and theology seek answers to some of the same questions, philosophy differs from theology in that it is based upon human reason, not divine revelation. Since human reason is a gift of God, philosophy and theology work together. Philosophy strives to learn as much as possible about life’s most important questions by means of thinking excellently, without relying on Sacred Tradition or Scripture.

“Holy Cross College’s philosophy program includes eleven required courses in the history of Western philosophy (ancient, medieval, modern, and contemporary), logic, philosophy of nature, metaphysics, philosophical anthropology, epistemology, moral philosophy (ethics), and natural theology, as well as one elective course and a senior thesis seminar,” notes Lutz.

Major benefits

“A student who completes the philosophy major will be liberally educated in the fullest sense. The purpose of liberal education and the study of philosophy is not to prepare a student for any particular career, but rather to prepare the graduate to live an excellent life in any career and in the family, community, country, and world,” said Lutz.

Goals of major

“The goal of creating this major at Holy Cross College is to fill a void in our liberal arts education. Although we have had major programs in other liberal arts disciplines for years, philosophy has been missing,” commented Lutz. “Philosophy is an essential component of any Catholic academic institution of liberal education. This void is now filled. This enables Holy Cross College to be a more complete and excellent Catholic liberal arts college.”

Practical application

“People who major in philosophy are well-prepared to pursue any vocation to which God calls them. Logic provides thinking skills that enable philosophy graduates to be successful in a wide range of professions, including law, teaching, and public service. The communication skills that one develops by reading and writing about philosophical texts can promote success in all walks of life, from football coach to business executive,” noted Lutz. “For anyone interested in a vocation of religious ministry, an undergraduate program of study in philosophy is an excellent foundation for studying theology in graduate school.”

Learn more about this dynamic opportunity at hcc-nd.edu/philosophy/.