Philosophy Department Mission and Objectives

Fordham University, the Jesuit University of New York, is committed to the discovery of Wisdom and the transmission of Learning, through research and through undergraduate, graduate and professional education of the highest quality. Guided by its Catholic and Jesuit traditions, Fordham fosters the intellectual, moral and religious development of its students and prepares them for leadership in a global society. (Fordham University Mission Statement)

In support of that commitment, the Faculty and Schools of Arts and Sciences of Fordham University foster the cultivation of knowledge, wisdom, and a deeper understanding of the human condition and prepare students for teaching and leadership in a global society, by welcoming learners from diverse religious, economic, and cultural backgrounds into full participation in the scholarly endeavor.

The Philosophy Department contributes to the Mission of the University and implements its commitment through its special role in the development of the mature individual by challenging students to reflect on the most fundamental questions that concern human beings and the ultimate dimensions of their world. In acquainting students with the intellectual and moral traditions of their civilization, philosophy sustains this commitment by developing the skills necessary for them to think clearly and carefully for themselves — to question their assumptions and to judge their principles critically with the depth required for them to act as mature, integrated, free persons in their society and to provide it with enlightened, responsible leadership and service.

The following identifies the goals and objectives of the undergraduate programs. To read about the learning goals for our graduate programs, click on the appropriate program name:

Philosophy Major

Our primary goals for undergraduate education with respect to the Major (BA) in Philosophy are to promote the habit of philosophical reflection and the capacity for moral criticism. We aim at fostering a vibrant intellectual exchange among faculty and students.

We take our work to be clearly aligned with Fordham University’s mission: “As a four-year Jesuit liberal arts college, [Fordham] invites and challenges its students to develop their intellectual, volitional and aesthetic faculties by completing a carefully integrated yet flexible liberal arts curriculum that balances core requirements with concentration in a particular field of study. This curriculum is designed to: develop the faculty of clear and critical thinking and of correct and forceful expression; and impart a knowledge of scientific principles and skills, an awareness of historical perspective, an understanding of the contemporary world and an intelligent appreciation of religious, philosophical and moral values” (Undergraduate Bulletin, 2014–2016).

Upon completion of the B.A. program, students will:

  • Be aware of the main outlines of the history of philosophy
  • Be aware of the major fields in philosophy and the central questions proper to each
  • Be grounded in contemporary philosophical movements and issues
  • Exercise critical thinking skills and, in particular, the skills appropriate to critical reflection on philosophical questions
  • Understand the nature of moral reasoning
  • Understand the major normative alternatives in ethics
  • Be able to engage in more intensive and specialized research

Philosophy Minor

Our emphasis for undergraduate education with respect to the minor in Philosophy is on continuing the conversation begun in the Department’s two core courses, PHIL 1000 Human Nature and PHIL 3000 Philosophical Ethics. Students may build from that shared base in a wide variety of ways, making the minor a valuable addition to virtually any major.

Upon completion of the minor in philosophy, students will be able to continue to promote the habit of philosophical reflection and the capacity for moral criticism as begun in the core courses.