College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Philosophy



Philosophy encompasses the systematic study of some of the most fundamental questions regarding existence, nature, knowledge, reality, politics, and morality. It allows us to develop an outlook on life that is broad and reflective and to engage the world rationally and critically. A basic understanding of philosophy and philosophical methods serves as a framework for various other disciplines. Philosophy majors at John Carroll have the option of focusing their study within one of four specialized tracks. The History of Philosophy track provides an excellent foundation for students interested either in enhancing their liberal arts education or in preparing for advanced study in the field. The Critical Social Philosophy track is recommended for students interested in the philosophical analysis of power and the social and political conditions that create and perpetuate oppression and injustice. The Philosophy, Law, and Politics track is recommended for students who are interested in the philosophical study of law and its relation to morality, politics, and the state. The Health, Ethics, and Science track is recommended for students interested in social, ethical, and foundational issues related to science and medicine.

The philosophy department provides a variety of opportunities for students to enhance and apply their philosophical skills outside the classroom. Through its Don Shula Chair in Philosophy, the department annually sponsors and supports campus events (including conferences, speakers, and colloquia) aimed at enhancing undergraduate education in philosophy and promoting awareness and discussion of timely and important issues within the university and broader Cleveland communities. Philosophy students are also able to participate in meetings of and events (such as faculty debates and film screenings) sponsored by John Carroll’s chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the national philosophy honors society.

It is the department’s express aim to provide a high-quality learning experience for all of its students.  Specifically, the department’s learning goals for its students are as follows:

Our students will write and speak knowledgeably about central aspects of and problems within the history of philosophy, as well as about philosophy’s major historical figures.

Our students will critically evaluate arguments and evidence.

Our students will understand the relationship between philosophy and other academic disciplines.

Our students will develop the skills necessary to engage critically with contemporary social issues.

Learn more about our Programs of Study and careers for philosophy majors.