Home About International University Project Conferences Courses Lectures Projects Publications Readings Contribute Contact      

home \ mcinerny center for thomistic studies \ program in philosophical studies \ about

McInerny Center Home


Chair in Public Philosophy

Annual McInerny Banquet

Program in Philosophical Studies


Obiter Dicta


In The Press

McInerny Center for Thomistic Studies
Program in philosophical studies


Fulvio Di Blasi


About our Program in Philosophical Studies



A Basic Program in Philosophical Studies must have several virtues. It should give a good and reasonable idea of why and how philosophy is different from science and from every other human intellectual activity, including the arts. It should deal with at least some of the major philosophical issues debated in the history of philosophy. It should take into account at least some of the most important philosophers in history, showing the basic differences in their approaches, methodologies, and conclusions about reality. It should take into account ancient Greek philosophy because the best introduction to philosophy is the history of its birth. As Jacques Maritain wrote, “an account of the historical origins of philosophic thought is the best method of acquainting beginners with the problems of philosophy, introducing them into the world, entirely new to them, of rational speculation, and furnishing them, incidentally, with much extremely useful knowledge.” At the same time, a good program in philosophical studies can never be just historical. Rather, it should always show how every issue and historical debate is related to, or can help the understanding of, the problems of our contemporary world.


A program in philosophical studies should focus on the differences between philosophy, on the one hand, and physics, mathematics, history, poetry, the arts, and other techniques, on the other. It should touch upon several branches of philosophy such as metaphysics, philosophy of nature, ethics, and logic. It should address the birth of moral philosophy with Socrates, Plato’s philosophy of ideas, Aristotle’s and Aquinas’ philosophical realism, St Augustine’s view on creation, the birth of modern philosophy with Descartes, Kant’s transcendental philosophy, etc.… These are all key authors and ideas in the history of philosophy, and their (sometimes very different and even conflicting) achievements can help us better understand both ourselves and the world around us. A program in philosophical studies should start with the birth of philosophy in Ancient Greece; but, even while studying historical issues and authors of the past, it should always focus on the most important questions of our contemporary culture and lives: the existence of God and of the human soul, the concepts of person and freedom, the concept of truth, the space and time issue, the point of our duties and of our happiness.


Philosophy should not be approached as if it were just a technique to master. On the contrary, learning philosophy is a matter of achieving, from time to time, genuine insights into reality – insights that will eventually (sometimes after many years and in unexpected ways) reveal themselves to be very useful in our lives and studies. This is what we should expect from this program: to achieve some insight into the reality of our own being and of the things around us.


Philosophy, the Beginning

1. 9/27:  Birth of Philosophy.  Naturalists and Eleatics.  Purpose and Goal of Philosophical Studies.

2. 10/11: Sophists and Socrates.  The Beginning of Moral Philosophy.

3. 10/25: Plato: Theory of Ideas, Second Navigation, and Knowledge as Remembering.. Myth, Faith and Reason.

4. 11/8 : Plato: Philosophy as “Training for Dying.”  The Human Soul.  The Meaning of Life.

5. 11/15: Aristotle: Logic, Physics, and Theory of Knowledge.

6. 11/29: Aristotle: Metaphysics, Ethics, and Politics.

7. 12/13: Hellenistic Philosophy (Epicureans, Stoics, Skeptics), and Neoplatonism.




1st Class

2nd Class

3rd Class

4th Class

5th Class

First course

Second course

Third course

Fourth course

Fifth course

Sixth course