How should we live? What gives our lives meaning and purpose? What should we believe, and how can we be confident that our beliefs are true? These are the questions that have occupied philosophers for centuries, and that occupy us as we live our lives. Philosophy seeks to give rigorous, well thought out answers to these questions, or, at least, to help us frame the right approaches in the search for truth. At Marquette, we pursue these and other perennial issues primarily through the study of Western philosophical traditions from their Greek origins to contemporary thought.

The Philosophy Department has 27 regular full-time faculty, with a wide range of teaching and research interests. The department has a long tradition of research strengths in Medieval Philosophy and Continental Philosophy. During the past fifteen years, the department has greatly expanded teaching and research strength in ethics, social, and applied philosophy.

For undergraduates, the department offers a major with three specialization tracks: History of Philosophy; Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy; and Ethics and Values. For graduate students, we offer a Ph.D. that allows for specialization in all areas of the history of philosophy as well as many systematic areas. We also offer an M.A with specializations in the History of Philosophy and Social and Applied Philosophy.

Philosophy Department Mission Statement 

          The Philosophy Department at Marquette University aims to enable students in all disciplines with the development of interpretive, critical, analytical and communicative skills necessary to personal intellectual and moral development, cultural literacy, and achievement in the complexities of life in the Twenty-First Century. The Department aims to foster among faculty and students a climate of mutual respect and support for engaging in scholarship, learning, and service that embraces diversity, respect for historic traditions, and the pursuit of knowledge in historic and contemporary approaches to philosophy. The department aims to extend the role of philosophy beyond the university through its publications and leadership in the profession and through innovative programs that engage alumni and community members. As a philosophy department in a Jesuit Catholic University, the Department encourages students and faculty to engage in exploration of the Catholic tradition in the history of philosophy and an examination of the role of philosophy in a life of faith and service. The Department understands its mission in the context of the University’s Mission statement. (Adopted 08/2009)

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Faculty Promoted
Congratulations to Sebastian Luft and Kevin Gibson. Both have been promoted to full professor!

Catlyn Origitano wins Research Grant
Ph.D. Candidate Catlyn Origitano has won a MU Center for Transnational Justice Graduate Student Research Grant to support her project on "Art during Genocide." She will travel to Prague in the Spring to do some research for a paper that will be submitted for publication.

Sebastian Luft Named DAAD Research Ambassador
The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), is excited to announce that DR. SEBASTIAN LUFT, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR at MARQUETTE UNIVERSITY’S DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY, has been selected to serve as a DAAD Research Ambassador for the 2014/2015 academic year. This academic year, the Research Ambassador program is honoring 18 individuals who have conducted a long-term research project in Germany at the doctoral level or above. Dr. Luft will not only be promoting research in Germany, but will also be representing Marquette University on a professional level.

Grad Student wins prize in Latin American Thought
Phil Mack (2nd year PhD), won the American Philosophical Association 2014 Prize in Latin American Thought (http://www.apaonline.org/?latin_american). This is a blind-reviewed, national prize sponsored by the APA Committee on Hispanics in Philosophy. His prize winning essay, "Should a Concept of Truth be attributed to Nahuatl Thought? Preserving 'the Colonial Difference' between Concepts of the West and Nahua Philosophy, will be presented at the APA Eastern, published in the Newsletter and earns a cash prize.

Dr. Nancy Snow receives largest humanities grant in university history
Dr. Nancy E. Snow, professor of philosophy in the Klingler College of Arts and Sciences, is the recipient of a $2.6 million grant that will fund interdisciplinary research on virtue, character and the development of the moral self. The three-year grant was awarded by the Templeton Religion Trust, which funds discoveries relating to the big questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. Snow is leading the large-scale research initiative, "The Self, Motivation, and Virtue," with Dr. Darcia Narvaez, professor of psychology at the University of Notre Dame.

The initiative will include the seeding of 10 new research projects, an interdisciplinary forum, interdisciplinary conferences with international scholars, a project website and several book projects. According to Snow, the project will study how individuals develop virtue in their lives and how it is translated into practical efforts such as education. The researchers hope their work will ultimately impact important societal issues, such as bullying, and focus on how to counter them – a goal that Snow said aligns perfectly with Marquette's Catholic, Jesuit mission.

"We will also look at the development of virtue in the emerging person – what happens as we grow up and develop into people," Snow added. "We want to take a deeper dive into whether the development of virtue involves memories, genetics, etc. In this way, we can develop a more comprehensive picture of how key periods in our lives – adolescence, retirement, physical decline, traumatic incidents – play a role. Ultimately, we want to generate an appreciation of what virtue is, the importance of motivation to virtue and how virtue can be cultivated."

The project's first big event, the Interdisciplinary Moral Forum, will be held at Marquette in spring 2015 and will feature research presentations by international scholars.