Expertise: Fr. Bukala has special interest in phenomenology, existentialism, the ethics of forgiveness, and philosophy and literature.

Description of Courses Taught:


The most basic description of the human person is that he/she is a thinker, and as such, a questioner. The need to question is built in our very nature, and continues as long as we live. Questions in this course will focus on the concept of “the Self”, “Personal Freedom”, Plato’s “Apology”, understanding “Reality”, Descartes’ “Meditations”, “God”, and “Morality and the Good Life”.
An exam after each major discussion, and two think-papers, one of which will substitute for the final exam.


Existentialism is a study of personal existence (“I”) synthesized in the free choice of one’s own destiny. “I am the artist. I am the clay. What am I making of myself?” — “Who I am is related to who I am yet to become.” — Phenomenology is a careful and accurate description of a first-person (“I”) human experience as that experience manifests itself in consciousness.
A study of human consciousness (Edmund Husserl); the aesthetic, ethical, and religious “Stages on Life’s Way” (Soren Kierkegaard); core characteristics of the human person (Martin Heidegger); personal freedom as human creativity (Jean-Paul Sartre).

An exam after each philosopher, and a paper as a substitute for the final. Topic: “An Exercise in Autobiographical Consciousness” or “What It Means to be Me”.


Issues such as the human person, personal freedom, good and evil, and human sociability considered in “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Jean de Florette,” and “Manon of the Springs.” Movies and music used to illustrate experiences and situations. Exam after each reading, and a paper instead of a final exam.


We move throughout our lives from one situation to another, and realize quickly, and readily admit, that we are fallible; we can and do at times make mistakes. Human sociability demands that we take seriously our mistakes, and do something about these mistakes, especially when they directly affect others.
The point of departure for out study will be to consider the following aspects of the human person: Human individuality, uniqueness, human consciousness, sociability, interpersonal communication, personal freedom, morality, etc., all of which will be considered in the existential perspective of “Who I am is related to who I am yet to become.”

Lectures, with emphasis on discussions, will consitute the basic structure of every class. Interesting and exciting textbooks will be assigned, and handouts distributed in class. Several movies will be shown, and hopefully several guest lecturers will present their ideas and lead a discussion.

Please see Father Bukala for further information.