Dr. Eoin O'Connell
Chair of the Department

It is as true today as it was 2,000 years ago: philosophy provides the foundation for a liberal education. Studying philosophy sharpens students' ability to understand and analyze concepts, assumptions, beliefs, logical errors and commonly held opinions. It promotes clarity and precision in speaking, comprehension and writing. Majors in philosophy typically receive among the highest average scores of any major on the GREs and LSATs. Philosophy students enjoy successful careers in a wide variety of fields including law, business, medicine and education.

In philosophy, students grapple with big questions: What is the nature of the good life? What does it mean to be ethical? What can we know with certainty? What is the nature of reality? Philosophers ask a lot of questions that don’t seem to have simple or concrete answers. But one of the great strengths of a philosophical education is that it develops students’ ability to ask good questions. As Aristotle claimed, the mark of a well-educated person is not that he or she has amassed knowledge about many fields but that he or she knows how to ask good questions. To be able to ask the right questions at the right time is highly prized by employers and colleagues.

Manhattan College’s major and minor in philosophy allow students to engage many of the greatest minds in history in four types of courses — core, historical period, philosophical traditions, and major philosophers, as well as in electives. In our courses, students are exposed to a panorama of influential ideas from different periods and traditions. In our major philosopher courses, students have an opportunity to engage exciting, intriguing and profound minds in depth.


A minimum of thirty credits in philosophy courses distributed as follows:

Four required core courses:12
Ancient Greek Philosophy
Modern Philosophy
Introduction to Logic
Critical Thinking
One historical period course:3
Medieval Philosophy
Nineteenth-Century Philosophy
20th Century Philosophy
One philosophical traditions course:3
Faith and Reason
American Philosophy
Chinese and Japanese Philosophies
One major philosopher course:3
PHIL 410
Electives at the 200-level or above chosen in consultation with the major advisor9
Total Credits30

Minor: Philosophy

A minimum of fifteen credits in philosophy courses distributed as follows:

PHIL 201Ethics3
PHIL 215Ancient Greek Philosophy3
Electives selected from PHIL 150 or any course at the 200-level or above chosen in consultation with the minor advisor9
Total Credits15


PHIL 150. Roots: Philosophy. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of selected philosophical texts and developments from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world.

PHIL 152. Roots of Modern Age: Philosophy - FYS. 3 Credits.

An intensive and critical examination of selected philosophical texts and developments from the medieval period to the present that contribute to an understanding of the modern world.

PHIL 201. Ethics. 3 Credits.

An introduction to moral decision making emphasizing the criteria used in assessing moral problems and dilemmas. Required of students in the School of Business.

PHIL 205. Environmental Ethics. 3 Credits.

This course considers the ethical and philosophical dimensions of the relationship between human beings and the natural world. What is an environment; and what, if any, are our moral obligations towards it? Do we have moral obligations to anything other than human beings? Does the environment itself have some intrinsic value? How do we balance sustainability and growth?.

PHIL 211. Introduction to Philosophy. 3 Credits.

The major theoretical and practical issues raised by the classical philosophers, especially Plato, Aristotle, and later figures.

PHIL 213. Introduction to Logic. 3 Credits.

Fundamental principles of correct reasoning; logical validity; deductive argument; formal and informal fallacies; problems of semantics and definition; problem of induction and scientific method.

PHIL 214. Critical Thinking. 3 Credits.

Introduces the principles and techniques of critical thinking. Students will develop a set of concepts and techniques used to analyze and evaluate complex reasoning. Formal and informal fallacies will be studied, and students will develop their own arguments.

PHIL 215. Ancient Greek Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Examines the major theoretical and practical issues raised by the classical Greek Philosophers, especially the pre-Socratics, Plato, and Aristotle. Required for philosophy majors and minors.

PHIL 216. Modern Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Introduces the major texts, thinkers, and ideas of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European philosophy. Texts by Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, and Kant will be studied from the perspective of their contributions to epistemology and metaphysics.

PHIL 220. Philosophy of Religion. 3 Credits.

Symbols and myths in religious experience; arguments for believing or not believing in God; the problem of evil; critiques of religion as projection, opiate or illusion.

PHIL 228. Philosophy & Film. 3 Credits.

An exploration of the intersection of philosophy, one of the most ancient disciplines, and film, one of the youngest art forms. Through discussing the plots and imagery of films, we address such enduring philosophic issues as personal identity, moral decision making, and humanity's relationship to nature, technology, God, and time.

PHIL 230. Philosophy of Law. 3 Credits.

Theories of law; natural law versus legal positivism; legal paternalism; the right to privacy; legal reinforcement of moral standards; justice and fairness; legal responsibility; theories of punishment.

PHIL 232. Africana Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A philosophy course introducing African philosophy, broadly construed. The course may cover traditonal and contemporary African philosophy, Africana philosophy in the dispora, Afro-Caribbean philosophy, African constitutional philsophy and philosophy of law, decolonial philosophy, African feminist and queer philosophy, and the cross-pollination between African and African-American philosophy and political thought.

PHIL 236. Philosophy and Psychoanalysis. 3 Credits.

A concentration on selected major writings of Freud so as to achieve an understanding of the complexity of his thought before undertaking any kind of disciplined criticism in the light of oft-concealed philosophical presuppositions.

PHIL 238. Philosophies of War and Peace. 3 Credits.

Historical-conceptual consideration of war, peace, causes, and conditions of war and peace; social strife, racism, sexism, attitudes toward war and peace, peaceful coexistence, pacifism, nonviolence as techniques of struggle.

PHIL 301. Faith and Reason. 3 Credits.

Focuses primarily on thinkers in the Catholic intellectual tradition, this course is guided by two hermeneutical principles. First, faith and reason are aspects of the human condition that are neither mutually exclusive nor inherently antagonistic. Second, faith and reason can be mutually illuminative and fruitfully conjoined in theory and process.

PHIL 315. Medieval Philosophy. 3 Credits.

Medieval thought generated a variety of philosophical perspectives. To understand the distinctive character of the medieval philosophical pluralism, selected texts will be examined in Augustine, Boethius, Abelard, Anselm, Bonaventure, Aquinas, and Ockham.

PHIL 320. Nineteenth-Century Philosophy. 3 Credits.

The nineteenth century was an extraordinarily rich period for philosophy when the influence of philosophers spread far beyond the academy. Many movements that began in philosophy during the nineteenth century, such as Marxism, Existentialism, and Pragmatism have continued to be influential. This course focuses on philosophers who were central to several important movements, for example, Hegel, Marx, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Willam James.

PHIL 325. Marx and Marxism. 3 Credits.

A study of the genesis and development of Marx's philosophy as a framework for understanding his theories of history and capitalism and his influence on modern thought and economic and social theories.

PHIL 330. American Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A critical analysis of pragmatism and the concept of experience through major figures in American Philosophy, for example, Peirce, James, Mead, Dewey, and Rorty.

PHIL 334. Existentialism. 3 Credits.

An exploration of the major themes in the writings of Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Camus, Beauvoir, Sartre, Weil and others, with emphasis on their religious, social, political and economic implications.

PHIL 335. 20th Century Philosophy. 3 Credits.

This course examines the remarkable variety of topics, philosophers, and movements in the twentieth-century, for example, analytic philosophy, neo-pragmatism, existentialism, and phenomenology. The course typically will emphasize different topics, philosophers, and movements each time it is offered.

PHIL 342. Chinese and Japanese Philosophies. 3 Credits.

The role of filial piety and ancestor worship in perpetuating familial and social continuity; the Confucian union of nature and culture in the harmonious man; the Taoist emphasis on privacy in the midst of an overstructured world; Legalism as the first coherent totalitarian political philosophy; the Japanese sense of beauty.

PHIL 350. Philosophers on Race, Class, and Gender. 3 Credits.

An examination of theories of racial, cultural, class and gender superiority presented by traditional philosophers with a contemporary response.

PHIL 351. Philosophers on Education. 3 Credits.

An examination of conflicting philosophies of education and their implications. Highly recommended for students in the School of Education and Health.

PHIL 352. Philosophers on Sexuality, Love, and Friendship. 3 Credits.

An examination of the views of Plato, Aristotle, Nietzsche, Freud, and other major thinkers on these themes; some contemporary perspectives.

PHIL 371. U.S. Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Analysis from original sources of major United States political and constitutional writers from colonial times to the present.

PHIL 374. Western Political Thought. 3 Credits.

Introduction to Western political theory through examining the written dialogue (between philosophers) which has contributed to what we know as the canon, on the state and society in the West.

PHIL 375. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts.

PHIL 399. Topics: in Philosophy. 3 Credits.

A seminar on a single philosopher, topic, or period. The subject will vary from semester to semester. Open to non-majors as well as majors.

PHIL 401. Major's Seminar. 3 Credits.

An intensive study of an important philosopher, tradition, question, or area of philosophical research. Students will conduct independent research and complete a capstone project. Only open to philosophy majors and minors in their senior year who have completed two 200- or 300-level courses in Philosophy. Required for Philosophy majors. Some juniors majoring in Philosophy may be admitted with the Chair's approval. May be repeated.

PHIL 420. Independent Study. 3 Credits.

Individual study of a philosopher or topic area with a member of the department. Open only to students majoring in philosophy who meet the requirements set by the chair of the department and who secure the consent of the individual instructor.

PHIL 475. Internship. 3 Credits.

Students participate in an off-campus training experience closely related to their area of study. Frequent meetings with the internship advisor and a paper are required. Internships are arranged through the Center for Career Development and must be approved in advance by the chair and the Dean of the School of Arts. Open to majors only.

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