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Department of


About Us

The Department of Philosophy at USD is pluralistic -covering all significant historical periods and most major philosophical methods. The Philosophy department has a deep and special concern for the study of ethics, values, and the moral life. Also, Philosophy students can expect to be exposed to perennial epistemological, metaphysical, and theological issues and theories in philosophy–both as these are discussed in the classical texts of great philosophers but also in their contemporary treatment. 

Since its humble beginning in 1958 with just one faculty member, the department has grown and now numbers 16 full time and about 10 adjunct faculty members.  The full time faculty represent diverse approaches and interests and are engaged in a wide range of teaching, research, and service activities.  The department offers about 115-120 sections a year, many of which serve the Core Curriculum.  The department also regularly offers courses for majors and minors in the central areas of philosophy and a range of special topics courses.  Department faculty are also regularly involved in offering interdisciplinary special topic team-taught courses.

Mission and Goals

The Philosophy department is a pluralist department and offers a comprehensive program of study leading to a B.A. in Philosophy and to a minor in philosophy, while offering a broad range of courses as part of the University's Core Curriculum.  The mission of the department is to offer students the opportunity to learn about and reflect critically upon the perennial and fundamental questions of human existence and the nature of the world around us, to reflect critically upon the basic questions of ethics and human values, and to develop the critical skills and cultural knowledge necessary for our students to make positive contributions to society.

The Philosophy Department’s goals are to:

  • To provide a range of courses of sufficient breadth and depth to equip majors with the knowledge and skills requisite for holding a B.A. in philosophy, in keeping with the guidelines of the American Philosophical Association.
  • To provide opportunities for in-depth study and research for those students wishing to pursue a graduate degree in philosophy, and to provide those students with adequate advice and guidance during the application process.
  • To support curricular and co-curricular offerings in values and ethics that will enhance the commitment of the College and University to offering a values based education.
  • To support and provide curricular and co-curricular offerings for the intellectual exploration of religious faith.
  • To provide course offerings, both in content and number, that will enable students to integrate their Core Curriculum philosophy requirements, and in general, to integrate philosophy courses with their chosen program of study.  As part of this goal, the department aims to provide courses that enable students to analyze arguments effectively and to recognize the diversity of the USD community and society.
  • To provide an atmosphere for faculty and students that facilitates and supports faculty research and collaborative efforts among faculty and encourages sharing the results of that research.
  • To provide and support opportunities for faculty to develop different and/or innovative course offerings that contribute to meeting the needs of our students.