Philosophy steps back from everyday experience to reflect on fundamental questions of meaning and value. Philosophy thus lies at the heart of a liberal arts education and traditionally has played a central role in Catholic and Benedictine higher education. Socrates' conviction that "the unexamined life is not worth living" offers the rationale for the distinctive role that this philosophical thinking plays in the life of an educated person. The discipline of philosophy cultivates the analytic, interpretive, normative, and critical abilities necessary for such thinking. The Philosophy Department therefore is especially committed to the CSB/SJU vision of a liberal arts curriculum "which raises questions important to the human condition, demands clear thinking and communicating, and calls forth new knowledge for the good of humankind" (CSB/SJU Coordinate Mission and Values Statement). This commitment is at the heart of our teaching and scholarship.
Philosophy also makes a distinctive contribution in an academic setting by playing the role of the Socratic "gadfly," encouraging the community towards deeper self-understanding and clear thinking. Philosophy provides the occasion and perspective to examine fully the presupposition and values of the academic community.