MA Philosophy Program Overview

Sharpen your critical-thinking skills and deepen your understanding of the most fundamental questions of human existence from a Catholic perspective with a philosophy master’s degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville in Ohio.

Blending tradition and trends

Rooted in the Western philosophical and Catholic intellectual traditions, Franciscan’s master’s program in philosophy prepares you for a variety of philosophy jobs by helping you build a firm foundation in the Personalist, Thomistic, and Analytic schools of thought. Then you’ll explore more recent trends in philosophy, with an emphasis on the philosophy of the human person, issues of personalist ethics, and phenomenology.

Explore More of the Philosophy Master’s Degree Program

Here are just a few other ways Franciscan’s philosophy master’s degree program stands out from the rest:

  • Accelerated MA in Philosophy: If you’re an undergraduate student earning your bachelor’s in philosophy from Franciscan University in Ohio, you may qualify to apply for the accelerated MA in philosophy program. The traditional philosophy master’s degree at Franciscan typically takes two years to complete. The accelerated degree pathway allows you to complete the BA and MA, including the optional bioethics concentration, in a total of five years. Move forward with your philosophy career faster.
  • Bioethics concentration: Enhance your philosophy master’s degree with additional studies in the relationship between biomedical technological breakthroughs and the dignity of the human person. Rooted in the Catholic intellectual tradition, the bioethics concentration at Franciscan University will prepare you to make significant contributions in building up the culture of life.
  • A graduate degree for all: Under the belief that reason and faith stand in positive relation to each other, Franciscan’s philosophy master’s degree program serves not only faithful Catholics but also men and women who are serious about questioning human existence and seeking the truth.
  • Faithful, caring, and well-trained faculty: Representing a rich intellectual diversity, Franciscan philosophy faculty members are widely published and recognized leaders in their areas of expertise, including personalist phenomenology, Thomistic philosophy, and analytic philosophy. Their special research interests include philosophy of religion, bioethics, analytic epistemology, personalism, Thomistic ethics, Thomistic metaphysics, and the thought of Kierkegaard, John Henry Newman, and Wojtyła. With the highest degrees in their fields, all Franciscan philosophy faculty members have taken the Oath of Fidelity to the magisterium in Steubenville, Ohio.
  • Graduate student activities: Join Philosophy Club to deepen your Catholic philosophical thinking through critical discussion. Sharpen your persuasion skills with formal debate and discussion through the Veritas Society. Attend guest lectures on campus in Ohio covering philosophy and related topics sponsored by the Disciplinary Intersection Lecture Series. Through social and academic events, you become an active member of the larger graduate student and philosophical communities.
What Can You Do With a Philosophy Degree?

With highly marketable skills, graduates from the philosophy master’s degree program at Franciscan University have wide-ranging opportunities for jobs in philosophy. After earning your MA, you can continue your graduate studies or build your career in any number of fields.

Graduate Programs for Philosophy Graduates

  • PhD in Philosophy
  • PhD in Theology
  • PhD in Literature
  • PhD in Political Science
  • PhD in History
  • PhD in Jurisprudence

Potential Job Fields for Philosophy Graduates

  • Healthcare
  • Law
  • Business
  • Education
  • The Arts
Program Admissions

How to Apply for Admissions

Gaining admission to the MA Philosophy program is simple, and we are ready to help you navigate the process. Here are the things we need:

  • Application
  • Official Bachelor Transcript and Official Transcripts with Relevant Transfer Credit
  • Two Letters of Recommendation
  • 7-10 Page Philosophical Writing Sample

Email them to [email protected]

Or mail them to:

Graduate Admissions
1235 University Blvd.
Steubenville, Ohio 43952

Associated Costs

The costs associated with the MA Philosophy program include:

  • $720 per credit hour

Contact Us

If you have any questions or need help please contact Graduate Admissions at [email protected] or (740) 284-5239

Academic Catalog

View the MA Philosophy Program on the Graduate Catalog

Inquire For More Information

Alumni Profiles
Beyond the Classroom
Quaestiones Disputatae

Sponsored and produced by Franciscan University’s graduate philosophy department, Quaestiones Disputatae is a forum for philosophers to discuss and share their work. The journal addresses significant questions and topics of contemporary philosophic interest, particularly from a Catholic perspective, in the spirit of the medieval “disputed question”.

Center for Bioethics

Responding to the call by Pope John Paul II and the Catholic church, Franciscan University’s Center for Bioethics engages in the conversation on human life and dignity in the age of biomedical technological breakthroughs. In addition to offering the bioethics concentration, the Center hosts conferences and guest speakers.

Phenomenological Realism Collection

St. John Paul II Library on Franciscan University’s campus in Ohio contains a special collection of writings in phenomenological realism.

The Dietrich von Hildebrand Scholarships

Two scholarships (one for first-year and one for second-year students) are available from the Hildebrand Project for students interested in studying the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand, related personalist thinkers, or adjacent traditions (e.g., realist phenomenology). See the Hildebrand Project's website for further details.

Programs Related to the Master’s in Philosophy

Still undecided? You might also be interested in these other graduate degree programs at Franciscan that are similar to the philosophy master’s degree.

Student Work
Student Theses

Since the MA Program in Philosophy began in 1993 almost 200 students have completed their degree. The following list of MA theses is a representative sample that gives some indication of the areas and themes of philosophy investigated by graduate students at Franciscan University.

See List
  • Patrick Toner: Aquinas, Zagzebski, and the Levels of Knowledge
  • Steven Brust: Law, Morality and the Common Good
  • Rebecca Bratten: A Comparison of Nietzsche and Scheler on the Tragic
  • Aaron Urbanczyk: The Role of Mind-Contribution in Perception. A Critical Study of John Locke’s Distinction between Primary and Secondary Qualities
  • Vance Opdyke: Sickness and Consolation. A Kierkegaardian reading of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy
  • Teresa Asam: A Room with a Different View. An Inquiry into Feminine Being-in-the-World
  • Anthony Flood: Augustine’s Notions of Will and Ordo Amoris. Keys to the Ethics of John Duns Scotus and Dietrich von Hildebrand
  • Jason Rivers: A Dialectical Comparison of Bonaventure and Hegel on Divine Self-Expression
  • John-Michael Muller: Mechanistic Perception and Philosophy. An Evaluation of Hume’s Theory of Perception and Phenomenological Examinations of Human Acts of Perceiving
  • Sr. M. Regina van den Berg: Obedience in Light of Karol Wojtyla’s Personalism
  • Nicholas J. Healy: Incommunicability as Gift: A Study in the Philosophical Anthropology of Hans Urs von Balthasar
  • Szabolcs Stikker: The Theodicy of G. W. Leibniz
  • Irene Marie Lagan: Love and Bonum in Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Joshua Miller: On the Knowledge of Personal Uniqueness
  • Mark Spencer: The Value of the Holy and the Trace of God. The Sacramental Experience
  • Celeste-Marie Weber Moore: Human Essence. Existential Concerns and Zubiri’s Theory of Open Essence
  • Stefan Hoffmann: Thomas’ Dynamic Notion of Being (esse) and Its Significance for Man and the Many
  • Karl Orborn: Abortion and the Personhood of the Fetus. An Ethical Analysis Examining the Philosophical Understanding of Preborn Human Beings
  • Scott Henderson: A Philosophical Examination and Evaluation of Some Issues Involving Near-Death Experiences
  • Matthew Brounstein: Relational Space and the Theory of Relativity
  • Margaret Puyat: Beyond Duty. Virtue Ethics and the Critique of Modern Ethical Theory
  • Robert Lee Miller: The Problem of Other Minds in Max Scheler’s The Nature of Sympathy
  • Kyle Cupp: The Splendor of Mystery. An Analysis of Truth in The Literary Work of Art
  • Michael Kleissler: Generosity, a Fundamental Affective Attitude. The Thought of Descartes, Marion and Henry
  • Danny Desmond: A Clarification of Hegel’s Understanding of History and Ethics. From Hegel to Hegel through Kierkegaard
  • Rosemary Fehlner: Justice in the State. Ruling Well and Providing for the Common Good. A Study of Platonic Justice as Contrasted with the Machiavellian Practice of Virtú
  • Michael J. Miller: Karol Wojtyla and Karl Marx on Alienation and Self-Creation
  • David Klassen: Illusions and the Reality of Natural Law. An Inquiry into Hans Kelsen’s Tribunal of Science
  • Poul Lundgren: The Principle of Double Effect and Its Critics
  • Jesse Russell: Goodnight Sweet Ladies. A Reading of the Nature of Poetic Imagination as a Mode of Knowing within the Poetry of William Butler Yeats and Frederick Nietzsche
  • Peter Michael Chukwu: Consciousness and Man’s Experience of Subjectivity. A Critical
  • Exposition of Karol Wojtyla’s Phenomenology
  • Natalie Polzer: Embodiment in Marcel
  • Pamela Osborn: The Role of Love in the Life of the Individual Person
  • Matthew Barry: Metaphysical and Moral Evil: The Influence of Neoplatonism on Saint Thomas Aquinas
  • Andrew Haines: Esse et intelligere et vivere convertunter: Uncovering the Neoplatonic Roots of Thomas Aquinas’ Realist Philosophy
  • Joel Potter: Descent, Ascent, and Service: Scheler on the Philosophical Significance of Humility
  • Diana Valentini: Ressentiment and Modern Humanitarianism
  • Adriand Layug: The Problem of the ‘Collective Person’
  • Joseph Gryniewicz:  Is Friendship Between Unequals Possible?
  • Mark Hoffkins:  Existentialist Aesthetics and the Power of Narrative
  • Joseph Zerovnik: How Griswold v. Connecticut Misled the Court and Culture
  • Christopher Hoff:  The Nature of Self-Love According to St. Thomas Aquinas and Dietrich von Hildebrand
  • Jacqueline Bossman:  A Philosophical Examination of Nietzsche’s Attack on Judeo-Christian Values and of Max Scheler’s Response
  • Ryan Mullen:  Against Euthanasia
  • Robert Paul Shea:  An Augustinian Vision of Christianity’s Relationship to the Political Order
Student Research

The MA Philosophy faculty provide a mentoring program that assists graduate students in writing articles that are then presented at conferences or published in philosophy journals. A sample of these accomplishments is listed below.

See List
  • James Baresel
    • “The Question of Evil and the Need for Natural Theology,” presented at the Annual Conference of the American Maritain Association held at the University of St. Thomas, Houston, Texas, 2009.
    • “Saint Edith Stein’s Theory of Christian Philosophy in Light of the Papal Encyclicals,” presented at the Edith Stein Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2010.
  • Matthew Barry
    • “Evil as Agent Relative in Plotinus,” presented at the Legacy of Neo-Platonism Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
  • Michelle Blohm
    • “Re-Articulating the God-Experience: The Archetypal Significance of Iamblicus and Caputo,” presented at the Legacy of Neo-Platonism Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009. Published in Quaestiones Disputatae, 2, no. 1-2 (2011), 277-287.
    • “The Idolatry of Trent: A Phenomenology of Iconicity,” presented at the Jean-Luc Marion Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2008. Published as “Releasing the Idol-Icon Dichotomy” in Quaestiones Disputatae, 1, no. 1 (2010), 251-257.
    • “The Feminine and Masculine as Fundamental Principles of Ascent in the Itinerarium Mentis In Deum of Bonaventure,” presented at the Sewanee Medieval Colloquium, Sewanee, Tennessee, 2010.
  • Brian Donohue
    • “God and Aristotelian Ethics,” published in Quaestiones Disputatae, 5, no. 1, (2014) 65-77.
    • “Person, A Wax Nose for Bioethics,” presented at the Sixth Annual Graduate Student Conference: Bioethics held at the State University of New York at Albany, 2013.
  • Mark Erste, Jr.
    • “Why the Main Arguments for and Against Same-Sex Marriage are Unpersuasive to the Other Side,” presented at the Pittsburgh Area Philosophy Colloquium held at Washington and Jefferson College, 2014.
    • “Interpreting Hobbes and Locke in Light of Plato’s Republic,” presented at the Spring Meeting of the Indiana Philosophical Association held at Butler University, 2014.
  • Joseph Friona
    • “Neurology and Free Choice,” presented at the Center for Bioethics Annual Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
  • Andrew Haines
    • Vere Ipsum and the Intelligible Object: An Exploration of the Neoplatonic Foundations of Thomistic Realism According to Cornelio Fabro,” presented at the Legacy of Neo-Platonism Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
    • “Aquinas’ Model of Creation & the Neoplatonic Cosmology,” presented at the Patristics, Medieval and Renaissance Conference held at Villanova University, 2009.
    • “Who Are the Greeks? Pastoral Motives in Anselm of Canterbury’s Understanding of the Trinity,” presented for the Saint Anselm Lecture Series held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
    • Inter Fidem et Rationem: Discerning the Proper Intersection of Philosophical and Theological Methodologies in the Works of Nicholas Rescher and Joseph Ratzinger,” published in Lyceum, 2009.
  • Emilyn Haremza
    • “Should We Hold the Professional Athlete Responsible for What He Does in Private?” presented at the Sport and Society Conference, held at St. Norbert College, 2010.
  • Bobby Kenney
    • “The Duty of the Homosexually Inclined Physician,” published in National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 13 (2013) 445-450.
    • “Contraception and Conscientious Objection: A Pharmacist’s Reflection,” published in National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 12 (2012) 675-696.
  • David Loeffler
    • “The Evidential Force of Miracles,” presented at the Ohio Philosophical Association Annual Meeting held at Cleveland State University, 2012.
  • Andrew Moran
    • “The Metaphysics of Blessed John Duns Scotus: Idolatrous or Iconic?” presented at the Jean-Luc Marion Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2008.
  • Catherine Nolan
    • Ratio, Intelligere and Cogitare in Anselm’s Ontological Argument,” presented for the Saint Anselm Lecture Series held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009. Also presented at the American Catholic Philosophical Association Annual Meeting held in New Orleans, Louisiana, 2009. Publication is forthcoming in the proceedings.
    • “The Tripartite Structure of Beauty in Plotinus,” presented at the Legacy of Neo-Platonism Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
  • Vance Opdyke
    • “Obsession with Freedom: A Menippean Reading of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy,” presented at the Boethius Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2007.
  • Andrew Pfeuffer
    • “Correcting the Caricature: God and Kant,” published in Quaestiones Disputatae, 5, no. 1 (2014) 105-117.
    • “Imperative We: Harmonizing Scheler and Kant,” presented at the North American Society for Early Phenomenology Conference on Describing and Exploring Early Phenomenology held at King’s University College, The University of Western Ontario, 2013.
  • Stephen Phelan
    • “Love and Will in Von Hildebrand’s The Nature of Love,” presented at the Dietrich Von Hildebrand Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2007.
  • Joel Potter
    • “The Status of ‘Status.’ Boethian Realism in Abelard,” presented at the Boethius Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2007.
    • “Six Reasons Why Duns Scotus is Probably not a Moderate Realist,” presented for the Duns Scotus Lecture Series held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2008.
  • Marjorie Rowe
    • “The Necessity of Individual Forms for Human Individuation,” presented at the Edith Stein Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2010.
    • “Valuing Human Life by Accurately Defining Death,” presented at the Center for Bioethics Annual Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
    • “The Necessity of Eigenleben in Spousal Love,” presented at the Dietrich Von Hildebrand Legacy Project Conference held in Rome, Italy, 2010.
  • Mark Spencer
    • “Time as a Stratified Phenomenon in the Work of Duns Scotus: Understanding a Modern Concept in a Medieval Context,” presented for the Duns Scotus Lecture Series held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2008.
    • “Full Human Flourishing: The Place of the Various Virtues in the Quest for Happiness in Aristotleís Ethics,” presented at the American Catholic Philosophical Association Annual Meeting, 2007. Published in the Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, 2007.
    • “Liturgy as a Foundation of Ethical Practice: Marion as a Mediator Between Levinas and Radical Orthodoxy,” published in Fides Quaerens Intellectum, 2007.
  • William Tullius
    • “The Problem of Individuation in Scotus and Husserl,” presented for the Duns Scotus Lecture Series held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2008.
    • “The Role of Passivity in Von Hildebrand’s Epistemology,” presented at the Dietrich Von Hildebrand Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2007.
    • “Faith, Reason, and the Place of ‘Christian Philosophy’ in Edith Stein,” presented at the Edith Stein Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2010.
  • Michael Wiitala
    • “Reexamining the Compatibility of von Hildebrand’s Value Ethics and Aristotle’s Eudaimonism,” presented at the Dietrich Von Hildebrand Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2007.
    • “The Good Beyond Reminiscence: Beginning a Dialogue between Levinas, Augustine, and the Neo-Platonic Tradition,” presented at the Legacy of Neo-Platonism Conference held at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, 2009.
Living Philosophers in Dialogue

Most of the philosophers that students study in their philosophy courses are no longer alive, and therefore it is impossible to receive answers to questions they might wish to pose to them. It is also important to realize that philosophy is a living tradition with new and important work currently being done by a number of philosophers representing diverse schools of thought. It is for these two reasons that the MA Philosophy Program offers a course in which students read significant works by living contemporary philosophers. Moreover, these philosophers, near the end of course, then visit the class so that the students have the opportunity to discuss with them, in person, any issues and questions they have regarding the writings they have studied during the semester. It is philosophy done as a dialogue with a living philosopher.

Living Philosophers:

Germain GrisezIn the fall of 2007 a graduate course was offered on the thought of Germain Grisez who then visited the class in November to discuss his work with students. Germain Grisez is a prominent Catholic philosopher and theologian who received his Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago where he studied with the famous medieval scholar Richard McKeon. He taught at Georgetown University and since 1978 has been the Flynn Professor of Christian Ethics at Mount Saint Maryís University, Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Germain Grisez introduced a new refined theory of natural law based upon an understanding of basic human goods using the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. He has written extensively in the area of ethics and bioethics, and his work accounts for the renewal of natural law theory in the last twenty-five years. He is the past president of the American Catholic Philosophical Association and in 2005 received the Paul Ramsey Award. Germain Grisezís scholarly contribution to philosophy, theology and bioethics is extensive. His Magnum Opus is a three volume work entitled The Way of the Lord Jesus. Some of his other books include:

  • Contraception and the Natural Law
  • Beyond the New Morality
  • God? Philosophical Preface to Faith
  • Life and Death with Liberty and Justice
  • Beyond the New Theism
  • Abortion: The Myths, the Realities and the Arguments

Peter van InwagenThis fall the MA philosophy department will offer another course in its series “Living Philosophers in Dialogue.” In these courses the works of a significant living philosopher are studied. Later in the semester the philosopher studied visits the class for a dialogue with the students on the works they have studied. The course this fall will be on the works of Dr. Peter van Inwagen who is the John Cardinal O’Hara Professor of Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame. He is one of the leading figures in contemporary metaphysics and philosophy of religion. His monograph An Essay on Free Will played an important role in rehabilitating libertarianism with respect to free will where he is the first philosopher to introduce the terms incompatibilism and compatibilism with respect to free will and determinism. In 2003 Professor van Inwagen gave the prestigious Gifford Lectures that are published in his book The Problem of Evil in which he argues that the argument from evil fails to disprove the existence of God. Some of his other books are:

  • Ontology, Identity, and Modality: Essays in Metaphysics
  • The Possibility of Resurrection and Other Essays in Christian Apologetics
  • God, Knowledge and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology
  • Metaphysics
  • Material Beings

In the fall of 2006 a graduate course was offered on the thought of Alasdair MacIntyre which culminated in a visit to the class by Prof. MacIntyre at the end of November. MacIntyre, who is noted for his work in moral and political philosophy, was educated at the University of London and Oxford University. His early teaching career was in England where he taught at Manchester University, Leeds University, Essex University and Oxford. He came to the United States in 1969 where he has taught at Brandeis University, Wellesley College, Vanderbilt University, and Duke University where he is professor emeritus. Since 2000 he has been the Rev. John A. O’Brien Senior Research Professor and the Permanent Senior Research Fellow at the University of Notre Dame. Prof. MacIntyre was the recipient of a Metcalf Prize in 1974 and has honorary degrees from Swarthmore College, Queens University of Belfast, University of Essex, Williams College, and The New School for Social Research. He is a past president of American Philosophical Association.

MacIntyre, who converted to Catholicism in the early 1980s, works within the traditions of Augustine and Aquinas and is influential in the revival of contemporary interest in their ethical systems. He is also an important figure in the recent development of virtue ethics. McIntyre also has a scholarly interest in the work of Edith Stein on whom he has written two books. He is also the author of a recent significant work on education entitled, The End of Education: The Fragmentation of the American University, published by Commonweal. MacIntyre is the author of over thirty books. A list of some of his works is given below.

  • Marxism: An Interpretation
  • The Unconscious: A Conceptual Analysis
  • Difficulties in Religious Belief
  • A Short History of Ethics
  • Secularization and Moral Change
  • Herbert Marcuse: An Exposition and a Polemic
  • Against the Self-Images of the Age: Essays on Ideology and Philosophy
  • After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
  • Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry
  • Marxism and Christianity
  • Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues
  • Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue 1913-1922
  • Edith Stein: The Philosophic Background
  • The Tasks of Philosophy: Selected Essays, Volume 1
  • Ethics and Politics: Selected Essays Volume 2
  • Whose Justice? Which Rationality?

In April of 2008 Jean-Luc Marion discussed his work with a class of graduate philosophy students who had been studying his writings during the spring semester. Jean-Luc Marion is an internationally known French Catholic philosopher and theologian who works in the areas of modern philosophy, contemporary phenomenology and philosophy of religion and is known for his attempt to synthesize the Catholic intellectual tradition with post-modernist thought. Marion studied at the University Paris X ñ Nanterre and the Sorbonne. He did graduate work in philosophy at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris where he studied with Jacques Derrida and Louis Althusser. Marion was also influenced by the theologians Henri de Lubac and Hans Urs von Balthasar and the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. He has taught at the University of Poitiers, the University Paris X ñ Nanterre. He currently teaches at the Sorbonne and the University of Chicago. In 1992 Prof. Marion was awarded the Grand Prix du Philosophie de l’Academie Francaise. Some of his original work in philosophy concerns the notion of a saturated phenomenon; the idea that there are phenomena of such overflowing givenness that our consciousness of these phenomena are flooded or saturated. Marion is a prolific writer. His writings include:

  • God Without Being
  • Reduction and Givenness: Investigations of Husserl, Heidegger and Phenomenology
  • Cartesian Questions: Method and Metaphysics
  • On Descartes’ Metaphysical Prism
  • The Idol and Distance: Five Studies
  • Being Given: Toward a Phenomenology of Givenness
  • In Excess: Studies of Saturated Phenomena
  • Prolegomena to Charity
  • The Crossing of the Visible
  • The Erotic Phenomenon: Six Meditations
  • On the Ego and on God
  • Descartes’ Grey Ontology: Cartesian Science & Aristotelian Thought in the Regulae
  • The Visible and the Revealed
  • Descartes’ White Theology

Nicholas RescherIn the fall of 2009, graduate students studied some important works of Nicholas Rescher, who came to visit the class in November. Nicholas Rescher is a University Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh where he is also Chairman of the Center for Philosophy of Science. He was educated at Queens College in New York and Princeton University where he received his Ph.D. at the age of 22, the youngest ever at the time. He has worked for the Rand Corporation as a research mathematician, and has taught at Princeton University, Lehigh University, and since 1970 the University of Pittsburgh.

Nicholas Rescher’s career is extraordinary. He has been the president of the Charles Sanders Peirce Society, G. W. Leibniz Society of America, American Philosophical Association, American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Metaphysical Society. He is a member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, Institut International de Philosophie, Pennsylvania Academy of Science, Academie Internationale de Philosophie des Sciences, Academia Europaea: European Academy of Arts and Sciences, and Royal Society of Canada. He is an honorary member of Corpus Christi College, Oxford and has been a visiting professor at Temple University; University of Western Ontario; Catholic University of America; University of Rochester; Salamanca, Oxford University; and University of Konstanz. He has received honorary degrees from Loyola University of Chicago, National Autonomous University of CÛrdoba (Argentina), Lehigh University, University of Constance (Germany), Queens College of the City University of New York, Fernuniversität Hagen (Germany), and the University of Helsinki. He was a recipient of the Alexander von Humboldt Humanities Prize; the Medal of Merit for Distinguished Scholarship, University of Helsinki; the President’s Distinguished Research Award, University of Pittsburgh; the Belgian Cardinal Mercier Prize; and the Thomas Aquinas Medal of the American Catholic Philosophical Association. He has served on the governing boards of several scholarly organizations, and has held positions in numerous professional societies, scholarly committees and commissions. His work and research has received support from the Ford Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Rescher has been commissioned to undertake support studies for Congressional committees on science/technology matters and has been invited to testify before the Committee on Science and Technology on issues of space exploration and colonization. He has served as editor of the History of Philosophy Quarterly, and the Public Affairs Quarterly, and has served on the editorial board of over 20 journals. He was editor and helped found the American Philosophical Quarterly.

He is a prolific writer whose contribution to philosophy and science extends over five decades. Rescher’s work represents a many-sided approach to fundamental philosophical issues that weaves together threads of thought from continental idealism and American pragmatism. One of the few contemporary exponents of philosophical idealism, Rescher has been active in the rehabilitation of the coherence theory of truth and in the reconstruction of philosophical pragmatism in line with the idealistic tradition. Apart from this larger program Rescher has made various specific contributions to logic, the history of logic, the theory of knowledge, and the philosophy of science.

Rescher has authored over 400 articles and 100 books in several different areas of philosophy. Many have been translated into Spanish, Japanese, German, Italian, French, Bulgarian, and Korean. He has authored a four volume autobiography entitled, Mid-Journey: An Unfinished Autobiography; Ongoing Journey: An Autobiographical Essay; Instructive Journey: An Autobiographical Essay; and Enlightening Journey: An Autobiographical Essay. Among his many other writings are:

  • Hypothetical Reasoning
  • The Coherence Theory of Truth
  • Plausible Reasoning
  • Dialectics: A Controversy-Oriented Approach to the Theory of Knowledge
  • Cognitive Systematization
  • Skepticism
  • Induction
  • Empirical Inquiry
  • Paradoxes
  • Epistemetrics
  • Forbidden Knowledge and Other Essays on the Philosophy of Cognition
  • Pascalís Wager: An Essay on Practical Reasoning in Philosophical Theology
  • Rationality
  • Cognitive Economy: Economic Perspectives in the Theory of Knowledge
  • A Useful Inheritance: Evolutionary Epistemology in Philosophical Perspective
  • Baffling Phenomena and Other Studies in the Philosophy of Knowledge and Valuation
  • Human Knowledge in Idealistic Perspective
  • Satisfying Reason: Studies in the Theory of Knowledge
  • Objectivity: The Obligations of Impersonal Reason
  • Inquiry Dynamics
  • Epistemology: On the Scope and Limits of Knowledge
  • Cognitive Idealization: On the Nature and Utility of Cognitive Ideals
  • Epistemic Logic
  • Realism and Pragmatic Epistemology
  • Cognitive Harmon
  • Essays in Philosophical Analysis: Historical and Systematic
  • Conceptual Idealism
  • A Theory of Possibility
  • The Riddle of Existence: An Essay in Idealistic Metaphysics
  • Complexity: A Philosophical Overview
  • Nature and Understanding: A Study of the Metaphysics of Science
  • Imagining Irreality: A Study of Unrealized Possibility
  • Metaphysics: The Key Issues from a Realistic Perspective
  • The Primacy of Practice
  • Methodological Pragmatism
  • Communicative Pragmatism: And Other Philosophical Essays on Language
  • Realistic Pragmatism: An Introduction to Pragmatic Philosophy
  • Rationality in Pragmatic Perspective
  • Realism and Pragmatic Epistemology
  • Cognitive Pragmatism
  • Reason and Reality: Realism and Idealism in Pragmatic Perspective
  • Process Metaphysics
  • Process Philosophy: A Survey of Basic Issues
  • Scientific Explanation
  • Unpopular Essays on Technological Progress
  • The Limits of Science
  • Scientific Realism: A Critical Reappraisal
  • Priceless Knowledge? An Essay to Economic Limits to Scientific Progress
  • Predicting the Future
  • Introduction to Value Theory
  • Unselfishness: The Role of the Vicarious Affects in Moral Philosophy & Social Theory
  • Ethical Idealism: A Study of the Import of Ideals
  • Moral Absolutes: An Essay on the Nature and the Rationale of Morality
  • Human Interests: Reflections on Philosophical Anthropology
  • The Validity of Values: Human Values in Pragmatic Perspective
  • Luck
  • Sensible Decisions: On the Ways and Means of Rational Decision
  • Value Matters: Studies in Axiology
  • Distributive Justice
  • Welfare: The Social Issues in Philosophical Perspective
  • Pluralism: Against the Demand for Consensus
  • Public Concerns: Philosophical Studies of Social Issues
  • Fairness
  • An Introduction to Logic
  • The Logic of Commands
  • Topics in Philosophical Logic
  • Many-Valued Logic
  • Studies in Modality
  • Conditionals
  • Standardism: An Empirical Approach to Philosophical Methodology
  • Metaphilosophical Inquiries
  • Profitable Speculations: Essays on Current Philosophical Themes
  • Minding Matter and Other Essays in Philosophical Inquiry
  • Philosophical Reasoning
  • What If? Thought Experimentation in Philosophy
  • Philosophical Dialectics: An Essay on Metaphilosophy
  • The Philosophy of Leibniz
  • Leibniz: An Introduction to His Philosophy
  • Leibnizís Metaphysics of Nature: A Group of Essays
  • On Leibniz
  • Galen and the Syllogism
  • Cosmos and Cognition: Studies in Greek Philosophy
  • Peirceís Philosophy of Science
  • Kantís Theory of Knowledge and Reality: A Group of Essays
  • American Philosophy Today, and Other Philosophical Studies
  • Essays in the History of Philosophy
  • Kant and the Reach of Reason
  • Scholastic Meditations
  • Studies in the History of Arabic Logic
  • The Development of Arabic Logic
  • Temporal Modalities in Arabic Logic
  • Studies in Arabic Philosophy

In the spring of 2007 the distinguished American philosopher John Searle visited a class for a discussion with graduate students who had been studying some of his writings in a course devoted to his work in philosophy. John Searle is the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley and one of the leading philosophers in the world. He was educated at the University of Wisconsin and received a B.A., M.A. and D.Phil. from Oxford University. He has received honorary degrees from the University of Lugano, University of Torino, University of Bucharest, Adelphi University, and University of Wisconsin. He has also received numerous awards including the Jean Nicod Prize in France, the Puffendorf Medal in Sweden, The Jovellanos Prize in Spain, the Tasan Award in Korea, and the National Humanities Medal in the United States. He was a past president of the American Philosophical Association. Although Professor Searle has taught at the University of California since 1959, he has also been a visiting professor at dozens of universities including the Sorbonne, the Catholic University of Lublin, Charles University in Prague, Syracuse University, University of Aarhus in Denmark, University of Toronto, University of Florence, the University of Oslo. He has given hundreds of lectures at colleges and universities throughout North and South America, Europe, and Asia.

Searle’s early work, which to a great extent established his reputation as a philosopher, was on speech acts or illocutionary acts. This topic was further developed in his later work on intentionality. Building still further on his work on intentionality, Searle presented a critique of behaviorism arguing for the existence of consciousness in a book entitled The Rediscovery of the Mind; a work also critical of artificial intelligence. Searle also works in the area of social philosophy in which he developed the notion of collective intentionality as distinct form and not reducible to individual intentionality. His more recent work focuses on the nature of rationality. He is the author of numerous books including:

  • Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language
  • Expression and Meaning: Studies in the Theory of Speech Acts
  • Intentionality: An Essay in the Philosophy of Mind
  • Minds, Brains and Science: The 1984 Reith Lectures
  • The Rediscovery of the Mind
  • The Construction of Social Reality
  • The Mystery of Consciousness
  • Mind, Language and Society: Philosophy in the Real World
  • Rationality in Action
  • Consciousness and Language
  • Freedom and Neurobiology
  • Mind: A Brief Introduction

Msgr. Robert Sokolowski philosphyIn the spring of 2012, a graduate course was offered on the works of the renowned phenomenologist Robert Sokolowski. Near the end of the semester, he visited the class to discuss his work with the students.

After completing his PhD in philosophy and S.T.B. at The Catholic University of Louvain in 1963, Robert Sokolowski started teaching at The Catholic University of America where he had completed his B.A. and M.A years earlier. He continues to serve there as the Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy, and he teaches courses on Husserlian phenomenology, Aristotle, and philosophy of religion. He has also served elsewhere as a visiting professor at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research, the University of Texas at Austin, Villanova University, and Yale University. Sokolowski is a two-time recipient of research fellowships sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, consulting theoretical physicists and mathematicians on philosophical issues.

Robert Sokolowski is also the author of numerous articles and books. His 1999 work Introduction to Phenomenology has helped acquaint countless readers across the world with Husserlian phenomenology, as it has been translated into 7 languages so far. His other works include:

  • The Formation of Husserl’s Concept of Constitution
  • Husserlian Meditations
  • Presence and Absence: A Philosophical Investigation of Language and Being
  • The God of Faith and Reason: Foundations of Christian Theology
  • Moral Action: A Phenomenological Study
  • Pictures, Quotations, and Distinctions: Fourteen Essays in Phenomenology
  • Eucharistic Presence: A Study in The Theology of Disclosure
  • Introduction to Phenomenology
  • Christian Faith and Human Understanding: Studies in the Eucharist, Trinity, and the Human Person
  • Phenomenology of the Human Person
Academic Excellence

Dr. John Crosby, Professor of Philosophy, reflects on Philosophy at Franciscan University

An Intellectual Epiphany

Department Faculty

Dr. Javier Carreño

Austria Faculty Chair

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Dr. John Crosby

Dr. John F. Crosby

Professor Emeritus

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Dr. Brandon Dahm

Dr. Brandon Dahm

Associate Professor

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Dr. Logan Paul Gage

Associate Professor

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Dr. James Harold

Dr. James Harold

Professor Emeritus

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Dr. Michael J. Healy


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Dr. Patrick Lee


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Dr. Robert McNamara

Dr. Robert McNamara

Associate Professor

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Dr. Alex Plato

Associate Professor

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Dr. Rashad Rehman

Dr. Rashad Rehman

Assistant Professor

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