The University Requirement

The study of philosophy is essential to the mission of the University of Notre Dame, which seeks to produce liberally educated women and men who possess basic cultural literacy, who are capable of articulate and logical reflection on the fundamental problems of human existence and who can take their place as citizens capable of critically evaluating arguments which bear on public affairs.

Because Notre Dame is a Catholic university, its purposes also include the preservation, extension and transmission of Catholic thought. Notre Dame students learn to think in depth about the problems posed by a life of faith. They have the opportunity to learn how the great thinkers of the Catholic tradition approached those problems in the past, and what Catholicism has to say about those problems as they arise in the contemporary world.

For this reason, the University requires that every student complete a two course requirement in Philosophy — one introductory course and one a more focused, advanced course. The Department of Philosophy offers a number of exciting and challenging courses by which undergraduates can satisfy the University’s two-course requirement in philosophy. (Note: No Logic course will satisfy the university requirement.)

Typically, the first course in philosophy taken by Notre Dame students begins with a survey of central philosophical problems, mostly ethical and metaphysical, that are clearly relevant to the Catholic tradition and that are studied through substantial readings from classic texts.  The second course is typically a more focused reflection on a particular domain of ethical or religious issues, often focusing on contemporary moral issues.  Our courses include the strong emphasis on close analysis of ideas and rigorous logical argument that is characteristic of all good philosophy.

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