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Philosophy

Plato's academy painting

This program presents Philosophy as an integral life activity growing out of a deep and passionate concern with life and its meaning. In its academic mode, Philosophy has been noted for cultivating those dispositions and aptitudes requisite for critical thinking and sound judgment. In this function it provides the strongest preparation for rational living.

The Philosophy program prepares students to enter as intelligent participants in contemporary discussions about issues of freedom, justice, personal authenticity, and morality. It does so through a series of historical and systematic courses that explore the conceptual foundations of our tradition and engage students in great debates about the ultimate questions of existence that perennially confront those who would live examined lives. By critically assessing foundational concepts and systematically evaluating philosophical arguments students acquire that mental freedom and develop those thinking skills that enable them to be intellectually responsible agents in directing their own lives and contributing to the life of society.

A Philosophy major is a thoroughly practical major for a changing world because it allows you to develop the ability to take new perspectives, to think within a variety of frameworks, and to challenge assumptions that often go unquestioned. Philosophy majors are thus well-equipped to face a changing set of career demands and challenges.

Our department is small, and the atmosphere is friendly. We enjoy what we do and our students receive quality advising and close personal attention. Quite often the discussions begun in class continue on down the hall with other faculty and students joining in the debate. We are careful to cultivate and maintain this casual environment of open discussion and we are quite proud of it. While each of us has different interests and specializations, what draws us together as a department is the fun we have exploring new ideas, and sharing this pleasure with our students.

Student Testimonials

It Starts At The Arch

Michael Dubinski '18

Michael Dubinski '18

The Philosophy Department at Misericordia is almost a hidden gem that I was fortunate enough to discover during my sophomore year.
The faculty in the philosophy department were not only there to meet me with incredible support, but what’s more is that it was authentic.

Bethany Flanders '16

Bethany Flanders '16

The one-on-one communication with the philosophy department faculty that was always so readily available to me not only allowed me to excel in my classes, but encouraged me to explore and discuss philosophical topics that interested me and aligned with my studies in the biological sciences.

Angela Menditto '14

Angela Menditto '14

The professors in the philosophy department are knowledgeable and passionate, dedicated to bringing philosophy into the community, and invested in the students’ success. The philosophy department is willing to work with other departments to allow students to double major, encouraging a mutually beneficial relationship that ultimately benefits the students.

Basic Testimonial Slideshow

Meet a Student

Andrew Yannacone
Andrew T. Yannaccone, PT, PhD (’02)

"I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to critically examine my beliefs about morality, justice, and the meaning of life during my undergraduate studies at Misericordia under the patient, knowledgeable and friendly guidance of Drs. Mark Painter and Matt Swanson.

My minor in philosophy enhanced my critical thinking skills – skills I use every day as a physical therapist. Furthermore, the numerous engaging and challenging (but always friendly!) debates between myself and my Misericordia philosophy peers and professors instilled in me a deep love of the Socratic method. It was this passion for knowledge and lifelong learning that inspired me to pursue a PhD in physiology and enter academia."

Sarah Novalsky
Sarah Novalsky, MSOT

“Philosophy is an odd thing. The subject can initiate some amazing conversations, discussing everything from religion and politics, to Aristotle and Socrates, to war propaganda,  and even to art and medicine. When working toward my bachelor degree in health science, and toward the larger degree of master of science in occupational therapy, philosophy seemed an unrealistic feat. But to my surprise, I understood it; I understood it and I liked it. To my even bigger surprise, my professors noticed. Because of the encouragement from the philosophy department, I had this great opportunity to learn from professors who wanted me to learn. We learned by reading, writing, discussing... repeat. I developed my critical thinking skills, something necessary for most aspects life if I’m not mistaken. I refined my writing and I learned how to defend an argument; how to listen and how to give way to someone else’s idea; how to be content with not understanding everything. Philosophy also influenced the ‘human’ in me. Yes, philosophy has had a huge impact on my ‘humanness’. I am more human - I am more ready to interact with others, to see their point of view, to empathize with their cause because of the education I received from my professors and the great philosophers we read from. Philosophy is not always given the credit it is due. To that, I make the claim that without philosophy, I would not be as well prepared to go into the healthcare field. Because in the healthcare field, we must not forget to be human.

Sidney Kabinoff
Sidney Kabinoff

"My experience studying philosophy has not been that of just philosophy, but life entirely. Concerning itself with both existence and the things within existence, philosophy suffuses into life so that the student of philosophy inadvertently embraces as much as they cannot escape the relevance of what they perceive in everyday experience. To me, nothing has felt more intellectually gratifying than this realization.​"

Additional Alumni Testimonials

Department Activities

The Department of Philosophy hosts several recurring activities for students, faculty, and the local community.

Professor Melanie Shepherd

Contact

For more information about the philosophy department, contact Dr. Melanie Shepherd at 570-674-6456 or email her at mshepherd@misericordia.edu