John Henry Newman wrote in The Idea of a University the following:
"When I speak of Knowledge, I mean something intellectual, something which grasps what it perceives through the senses; something which takes a view of things; which sees more than the senses convey; which reasons upon what it sees, and while it sees; which invests it with an idea . . . This is how it comes to be an end in itself; this is why it admits of being called Liberal. Not to know the relative disposition of things is the state of slaves or children; to have mapped out the Universe is the boast or at least the ambition, of Philosophy."
Newman continues: "Moreover, such knowledge is not a mere extrinsic or accidental advantage . . . it is an acquired illumination, it is a habit, a personal possession, and an inward endowment."
It is the ambition of the Philosophy Department at the University of St. Thomas to assist Philosophy majors and minors in the acquisition of this knowledge of the "relative disposition of things," and, in so doing, to assist them in the acquiring of a liberally-educated mind, one that understands itself and its place in the cosmos.
To declare a philosophy major or minor, please visit JRC 241 and talk to Ann M. Hale, the Philosophy Department Coordinator.
Prior to graduation, Philosophy majors are expected to make an oral presentation of a paper at a public symposium. The process of developing the paper and making a presentation to peers and faculty allows majors to demonstrate competency in philosophical methodology and argument.