American Catholic Philosophical Association Issues Statement Defending Philosophy


The American Catholic Philosophical Association (ACPA) has issued a public statement defending the role of philosophy in higher education. It is a response to a perceived increase in threats to the existence of philosophy programs and presence of philosophy requirements in curricula at colleges and universities, especially Catholic ones.

While directed at administrators and faculty at Catholic institutions of higher education, and written (reasonably, given its aims) with some language and presuppositions non-Catholic philosophers might bristle at, the document contains a number of points that may be worth drawing attention to not just when one’s department or curriculum is in jeopardy, but proactively, to forestall such attacks.

You can read the statement here.

Of particular interest may be the ACPA’s recommendation of what a philosophy requirement for all undergraduates at a Catholic college of university should look like:

  • Classes for each of the four years of a student’s college career so that students can benefit from philosophical integration at each stage of their development; philosophy is the only core subject to which students typically receive no exposure prior to a college or university education; this is therefore a unique opportunity to develop a lifelong habit of reflection.
  • A sequence of four or more courses that build upon each other so that students experience the satisfaction of higher-level philosophical thinking
  • Courses covering central philosophical areas, such as metaphysics, natural theology, epistemology and logic, philosophical anthropology, philosophy of nature, ethics, and the history of philosophy
  • Upper level courses that may relate to the student’s major, such as philosophy of language for English majors or philosophy of science for science majors

Does anyone know of schools which require four philosophy courses of all of their undergraduates?

(Thanks to Thomas Osborne and Chad Engelland for bringing this to my attention.)

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