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Core Curriculum

The study of a "core curriculum," or a selection of classic texts and great books, is the primary focus of inquiry within the Institute of Philosophic Studies. Each of the works read in the Program is distinguished by its extraordinary power to illumine reflective minds through an exploration of the human soul at the deepest moral and metaphysical plane.

Core Reading List

Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Job, Psalms (1, 2, 22, 23, 29, 37, 47, 51, 53, 73, 95, 110, 130, 146-150), Isaiah, Matthew, John, Romans, Corinthians I and II, Revelation

Homer: Iliad

Plato: Republic

Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics

Vergil: Aeneid

Augustine: Confessions

Bernard: On the Necessity of Loving God

Aquinas: Summa Theologiae I, 1-5 (Questions on Theology and God) II.1, 90-110, 112-113 (Questions on Law and Grace)

Dante: Divina Commedia

Machiavelli: The Prince

Luther: Freedom of a Christian

Council of Trent: On Justification

Descartes: Meditations

Shakespeare: Hamlet, Tempest, King Lear

Rousseau: Discourse on the Sciences and Arts and Discourse on the Origin of Inequality

Kant: Prolegomena to Any Future Metaphysics and Grounding for the Metaphysics of Morals

Hegel: Phenomenology of Spirit

Nietzsche: Genealogy of Morals

Newman: Essay on the Development of Doctrine

Dostoevski: Brothers Karamazov

Heidegger: Being and Time


Core Courses

In an effort to bring concentration disciplines into dialogue with each other, a common core of course work was established. Occupying twenty one hours in the doctoral curriculum, it comprises courses that engage fundamental texts, principles, and issues that are formative of the literary, political and philosophical strains in the Western intellectual tradition. The following six courses are taken by all students in all three concentrations. They are scheduled in a three-year cycle, one course each semester.

8311 Homer and Vergil
A study of the Iliad and Odyssey of Homer and Vergil's Aeneid


8321 Plato and Aristotle

Careful reading of seminal texts by two thinkers who laid the foundations of Western philosophy; ordinarily these texts are the Republic and the Nichomachean Ethics


8326 Augustine and Aquinas

A study of the two giant Christian thinkers; readings include Confessions, City of God, and the Summa Theologiae


8341 Dante and Milton

A reading of Dante's The Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost


8342 Hobbes and Rousseau

A study of the Leviathan and various works of Rousseau, such as Emile, the Social Contract and the two discourses


8352 Hegel, Nietzsche, and Dostoevsky

A study of three thinkers in transition between modernity and postmodernity; texts typically are the Preface to the Phenomenology of the Spirit, the Genealogy of Morals, and the Brothers Karamazov


The seventh core course is one in the Bible. This requirement may be satisfied by a number of courses, whose principal text is some portion of the Bible. Such courses are offered most frequently by the Theology Department but also intermittently by the other departments in the Institute.

Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer
Bust of Plato
Aristotle
St. Augustine
St. Thomas Aquinas
Dante and Vergil
Rousseau
Hegel
Nietzsche
Dostoevsky
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