The Catholic University of America
 The Catholic University of America
School of Philosophy
Graduate Course Offerings
Spring 2018


PHIL 602

History of Medieval Philosophy:  Surveys selected major figures in the history of Western philosophical thought, from Augustine to William of Ockham. Concentrates on primary sources. Primarily for students in the Program in Medieval and Byzantine Studies in the School of Arts and Sciences.



Dr. Thérèse-Anne Druart

Tuesday/Thursday 9:40-10:55 AM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 758

Francis Bacon and the Mastery of Nature:  A reading of the New Atlantis, the philosopher’s fictional charter for the hitherto unheralded alliance between scientists and society, his Wisdom of the Ancients, which reflects in a more sustained way upon nature both human and sub-human, and the New Organon, the foundational account of Baconian natural science.



Dr. John C. McCarthy

Wednesday 5:00 -7:00 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 795

Bonaventure and His Sources: This course will focus on Augustinian themes in the thought of St. Bonaventure (1217-1274) and his Franciscan predecessors and contemporaries.  Chief among the themes singled out for treatment and examination are the following: the intellectual journey of the human person back to God, the existence and nature of God, the divine ideas, the notion of creation, the human person as an imago Dei and microcosm of the world order, the role of sense and intellect within human knowledge, the doctrine of illumination, elements of moral psychology, and the return of all knowledge by tracing it to its source in God.  After surveying the necessary background in St. Augustine and St. Anselm, we shall read Bonaventure's De reductione artium ad theologiam, Itinerarium mentis in Deum, and selections from his Commentarius in libros Sententiarium provided in English translation.  In addition, the same themes will be considered in other Franciscan authors of the period.  Although reading knowledge of Latin is not required for this course, it is desirable and recommended.



Dr. Timothy Noone

Tuesday 5:00-7:00 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 836

Thomas Aquinas on the Divine Nature: Using Bk I of the Summa contra Gentiles as its primary source, this course will begin with a discussion of Aquinas's much disputed purpose in writing the first three books of this work.  It will then consider his views on the faith-reason relationship, and his effort to determine what philosophical argumentation can establish about the divine nature and attributes including his development of the via negativa, and analogical predication of certain names of God with positive content such as goodness, intellect, truth, will, freedom to create, love, life and happiness.  An effort will be made to correlate what he says in this writing with what he says elsewhere about praeambula fidei.



Msgr. John Wippel

Thursday 2:10-4:10 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 850


Hegel’s Philosophy of Right: A detailed study of Hegel's political, social, and ethical thought in his 1821 work, Elements of the Philosophy of Right, alongside recent secondary literature, considering also Hegel's relation to the views of other modern philosophers on these subjects, especially those of Kant and Fichte.


Dr. Michael Rohlf

Thursday 12:00-2:00 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 881

Aquinas on Divine Ideas: A consideration of Aquinas’s doctrine of the divine ideas, with a focus on their role as causal principles. This course will examine how, for Aquinas, the divine ideas play an integral role in accounting for the existence and order of the created universe. After looking at the historical influences on his doctrine, the course will consider his arguments for the existence of the divine ideas, his defense of their multiplicity, and his view of their role as exemplar causes. Some familiarity both with Latin and with Aquinas’s metaphysics is recommended for this course, although neither is required.



Dr. Gregory Doolan

Tuesday 2:10-4:10 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 904

Plato’s Theory of Recollection: the Meno, the Phaedo, and the Phaedrus: This course is an exploration of Plato’s understanding of recollection as developed in three of his dialogues, the Meno, the Phaedo, and the Phaedrus. Special attention is paid to examining the similarities and the differences between the ways in which this theory is introduced in the three contexts and the relationship between recollection and the dialectical methods of elenchus, the method of hypothesis, and collection and division, employed in the dialogues. We are going to adopt a holistic approach, combining interest in the ethical, epistemological, and metaphysical questions arising at every step.



Dr. Christina Ionescu

Thursday 4:30-6:30 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 924

Aristotle’s De Caelo: This course is an examination of Aristotle’s influential treatise on the universe in light of the astronomy of his time, his response to Presocratic philosophy, and his own treatise, The Physics.



Dr. Jean De Groot

Monday 5:00-7:00 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 926

The Issue of Truth in Phenomenology and Metaphysics: The course will examine “being as the true” as understood by both Aristotle and Husserl and will try thereby to show how phenomenology can be related to classical metaphysics. It will discuss how the meaning of words is the essence of things and how grammatical parts of speech signal intellectual activity. It will claim that cognitional existence can occur in viewed pictures and spoken words as well as in the intellect. Aristotle’s science of being as being will be compared with Husserl’s epoche and reduction. The course will discuss Husserl’s notion of Sachverhalt and its relation to truth as both correctness and manifestation. It will attempt to show how the theme of kinesis, dunamis, and energeia in Aristotle can be applied to the issue of truth and not just to the change, permanence, and activity of things.



Msgr. Robert Sokolowski

Wednesday 2:10-4:10 PM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 927

Towards a History of the Concept of the Person: The development of the concept of person is largely a Christian phenomenon, but its roots lie in both Graeco-Roman and Christian thought.  In the Middle Ages there was further development, though the job remained unfinished.  Demolition began even before early modern times and has continued more or less unabated, in parallel to the dechristianization of Western thought in general, though there have been interesting if rather uninfluential attempts to reinvigorate the tradition.  The aim of the present course is to introduce students – by the pursuit of the relevant intellectual history – to the possible significance of persons and to possible justifications for claims about human dignity.



Prof. John Rist

** March 12 – April 26 **

Monday 2:10-4:10 PM,      Thursday 9:50-11:50 AM

Location listed in Cardinal Station


PHIL 696

Master’s Thesis Research





PHIL 996

Dissertation Research