Program  Information

Michael Taber, Chair
240 895 4900

Penny Shissler, Office Clerk
240 895 2159

Program Highlight

The department offers a major and minor in Philosophy and a major and minor in Religious Studies. As an active and energetic department, we are committed towards an intercultural, international and interdisciplinary understanding of the world. We teach across the traditional fields of philosophy and religious studies, and beyond the cultural divides of East and West. Departmental faculty likes to teach in a variety of venues (Nitze Program; Women, Gender and Sexuality; Environmental Studies; Asian Studies; African and African Diaspora Studies), to take students on study tours (Greece, Germany/Poland, India, Thailand, and, in the future, England and Israel), and to bring questions of global relevance to the campus communities through scheduling events with renowned speakers and activists.

Philosophy Program

Our philosophy program is designed to inspire students to think critically and creatively, to reflect upon important texts and ideas in the history of world philosophy, to learn how to write thoughtful, analytic essays, and to relate the study of traditional philosophical texts to contemporary issues of social justice, the environment, gender, morality, aesthetics, and what it means to live in the 21st Century.

While the word "philosophy" originated with the Ancient Greeks and means "love of wisdom," our program is uniquely cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary, covering the major Eastern and Western philosophical traditions around the world, and focusing on the insights of important thinkers in Confucianism, Buddhism, Feminism, Environmental Theory, Classical Greek thought, and contemporary European philosophy.

The study of philosophy at St. Mary's also serves as excellent preparation for graduate school or any number of professional careers, including law, bioethics, professional writing, editing, education, counseling, religious vocations, and business. Because the nature of philosophical inquiry attempts to perfect a variety of intellectual skills and abilities used throughout most other academic fields and professional careers, it offers important, critical tools to assist in a variety of activities and endeavors.

Most importantly, however, is that we in the department strongly believe that the study of philosophy will enrich your life. Our classes are devoted to dynamic discussions about the nature of beauty, justice, truth, personal identity, sexuality and love, and these discussions can often lead to deep insights about the human condition--and your own personal life.

Death of Socrates

The Death of Socrates, 1787
Jacques-Louis David