Introduction to Philosophy

Next Session: Aug 26, 2024

This course introduces students to the key figures and central concepts in western philosophy. It pays particular attention to the key points of contact between philosophy and theology. We will identify central questions about the relationship between human reason and faith, between philosophy and theology, and between knowing and believing that constitute what we often refer to as the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. Additionally, as we examine particular figures and ideas, we will also pay attention to the more general and basic processes of questioning, reasoning, arguing, evaluating and judging that philosophy attempt to train us in. We will see the way in which these habits of mind are essential for any field of work, Theology and ministry included.

Course Content

Unit 1: Wisdom

  • Course Introduction
  • Love of Wisdom
  • Socratic Philosophy
  • Platonic Philosophy

Unit 2: Virtue

  • Aristotle
  • Happiness
  • Aristotle on Moral and Intellectual Virtue
  • Friendship and Politics

Unit 3: Faith

  • The Christian Entrance
  • Patristics
  • Augustine
  • Aquinas

Unit 4: Enlightenment

  • The Enlightenment
  • Enlightened Maturity: Reasoning without Faith
  • The Enlightenment’s Reduction of Faith to Rational Religion
  • The Enlightenment’s Double Reduction

Unit 5: Doubt

  • Descartes: Doubt and the Transformation of Philosophy
  • Pascal 
  • Kierkegaard
  • Doubt and the Fragility of Reason

Unit 6: Truth

  • Modernity, Postmodernity, and Suspicion
  • Fides et Ratio
  • Faith and Reason Today

Course Format

  • Seven weeks in duration, with one week for orientation.
  • Typically 15-20 students in each course.
  • Video lectures.
  • Supplemental readings are provided to encourage further exploration of topic, internet links provided for all readings.
  • Written assignments (200-250 words) required.
  • Facilitator moderated Zoom sessions with students in course.

Required Texts

  • All course materials are available online in the course.

Participation Requirements

  • View the lecture for each unit.
  • Read assigned texts; keep notes, questions, and comments for class discussion.
  • Participate in the class discussion using the Forums area: post at least 2 comments, questions, or responses per unit.
  • Respond to the assignment in each unit.
  • Participate in at least 4 scheduled Zoom sessions throughout the course.
  • Complete the course evaluation.

Time Expectations

4 to 6 hours per week, depending on your learning style and schedule.

Course Certificate

A certificate of completion awarding 35 contact hours will be sent upon completion of all course requirements.

Dr. Gregory P.  Floyd

Dr. Gregory P. Floyd

Director of the Center for Catholic Studies and a faculty member in the Department of the Core at Seton Hall University. He is also editor of the Lonergan Review. His research focuses on nineteenth and twentieth century European philosophy and the thought of Bernard Lonergan. He is editor and contributor to Cor ad Cor: Modern Culture and the Catholic University, (Seton Hall, 2021) and The Catholic Reception of Continental Philosophy in North America (Toronto Press, 2020). His recent articles include “Critical Realism, Facticity, and Psychic Conversion” in Intellect, Affect, and God: The Trinity, History, and the Life of Grace (Marquette Press, 2021) and “The Sense of Phenomenology” in Crossing: The INPR Journal (2020).