Recover wisdom of the "first things."
The aim of philosophy at the University of Dallas is to recover the possibility of
a wisdom dealing with those "first things" which ground and locate human experience
within the whole of being. Philosophy explores the totality of human existence. It
analyzes the frameworks within which other human endeavors occur and recommends ways
in which they might be situated so as to throw light on the character of the totality.
Such illumination, in turn, affects those other human endeavors by giving them perspective.
By reason of its location in a Catholic institution, the Department is particularly
interested in the ways revelation has led to developments within a properly philosophic
wisdom available to believers and nonbelievers alike.
Dialogue with the masters.
The major tool of philosophic research lies in the careful study of classical texts
from Plato and Aristotle to Heidegger and Wittgenstein. The cultivation of competence
in logic and facility in at least one classical and one modern language are viewed
as indispensable auxiliaries in the project. The underlying conviction is that texts
which have continually attracted reflective minds throughout the centuries contain
profound insights into the fundamental issues of being and thought, and that we neglect
such insights at our own peril, especially since they have been instrumental in the
formation of our own mental horizon. Hence polemical reaction takes second place to
sympathetic dialogue. Not so much "Where do they go wrong?" as "What did they see?"
governs the approach. Such an approach does not aim at the indifferent cataloguing
of historical positions. Rather, it aims at understanding "the things themselves"
through dialogue with the masters. The aim is to see the same things in different
ways and thereby learn to assess the value and limitations of the differing ways with
a view toward an ever-deepening wisdom of the whole.