Philosophy MissionThe mission statement of St. Norbert College describes the college as “committed to providing an educational environment that is intellectually, spiritually and personally challenging.” Consistent with its set of core values, the college is devoted to developing in students “skills in critical and analytical thought, quantification, synthesis, problem solving and communication” that they will learn to apply as responsible citizens of a diverse, interdependent, changing world. The aims of the philosophy program at St. Norbert, and the nature of philosophy itself, place the work of our discipline at the center of our Catholic and Norbertine heritage and the tradition of liberal arts education.
A disciplined and concerned approach to the perennial and fundamental questions of philosophy will require precisely the critical thinking skills that the college prizes in its students and also will help to develop the language skills necessary for their fruitful application. A growing mastery of these skills also should nurture other qualities of mind and character conducive to responsible citizenship such as confidence in one's learning, a sense of wonder and curiosity and a deepening respect for others in our shared quest for wisdom and truth.
Philosophy courses at the college are intended to acquaint students with the great ideas, the prominent figures and the broad sweep of intellectual development that constitute our philosophical heritage. Our curriculum is grounded in the history of philosophy and in the Christian philosophical tradition, which at St. Norbert is an indispensable voice in the broader conversation of philosophy. Among the core values of the college is the advancement of the Catholic intellectual tradition, integrating faith and reason in such a way that persons of all faiths and beliefs are valued contributing partners. In the appropriate courses, we include Christian as well as other religious authors and sources to enrich the dialogue. A community of learning that integrates both the rich resources of faith-based wisdom and the methods and ideals of rational inquiry provides the most effective context in which these core values can be pursued.
The major provides a solid background in the history of Western philosophy and introduces students to the fields of logic, ethics and the philosophy of human nature. The minor program complements various fields of study and gives the student training in thinking skills useful both in and out of academic life.
Although a foreign language is not required for the major or minor, it is highly recommended that majors work on acquiring mastery in a second language in which there is a body of important philosophical writing — for example, ancient Greek, Latin, German or French. A foreign language is particularly important for students planning to pursue graduate work in philosophy.