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Department of Philosophy


Guided by the Ignatian principles, the Philosophy Department of the Ateneo de Zamboanga University is a community of educators who are committed to the formation of students through critical thinking and creative pursuits, forming fully human persons who are committed to faith and social transformation, respectful and capable of engaging in dialogue with others who belong to different faiths and cultures.


The Philosophy department of Ateneo de Zamboanga University commits itself to the person’s holistic formation through the development of critical thinking, reflective awareness, commitment to faith, respect for human dignity and recognition of plurality and diversity that characterize human existence.

Philosophy Department

Philosophy as the search for understanding and the pursuit  of wisdom and truth provides a holistic approach to learning, thereby fostering an atmosphere of philosophical discourse enabling the students to develop a habit of reflective and critical thinking in the context of cultural and religious pluralism. Through reflection and critical thinking they become men and women for others and are open to the dimension of faith experience.

To achieve this holistic approach to learning, philosophy facilitates learning through philosophical reflection, providing students the avenue for criticizing and evaluating assumptions and beliefs that constrict them to live in a more meaningful way. In the same way, through philosophy, the students are liberated from the narrowness that restricts human thinking from viewing the various dimensions of reality within the horizon of a whole. Hence, students are encouraged to implicate for themselves the meaning of the act of philosophizing as they relate to these different dimensions – Man, Society and God.

Core Curriculum

The Philosophy subjects in the core curriculum are designed to help students in cultivating habits of critical and creative reflection on their personal, social, religious and ethical experiences. The curriculum also seeks to provide students the opportunity of harmonizing all these experiences into one cohesive and meaningful whole through philosophical reflection. Further, philosophy recognizes that classroom learning is not enough. Hand in hand with philosophical reflection is for the students to be engaged and be involved with the world, thereby making them balanced and well-rounded persons. As such, philosophy makes one’s personal experiences more profound and meaningful and in the end making them more attuned to the various preoccupation of human living.

Philosophy subjects in the undergraduate core curriculum

Philo 100 – Introduction to Philosophy and Logic
No. of Credit: 3

This course is divided into two parts. The first part is an introduction of philosophy which aims to initiate and involve students in the process of philosophical wonder and reflection, impressing both the critical and constructive moments of doing philosophy and a brief discussion on the history of philosophy. The second part is Logic, a branch of philosophy which studies arguments. It’s primary aim is to evaluate and distinguish correct forms of reasoning from an incorrect and invalid one

Philo 101 – Introduction to Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3

This course aims to initiate and involve students in the process of philosophical wonder and reflection, impressing both the critical and constructive moments of doing philosophy. It is an invitation to take a step forward as man tries to understand his own existence as he relates to his own self, society and God.

Philo 102 – Philosophy of Man
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 100 or Philo 101

This course deals with the different approaches to the study of the human person using the existential and phenomenological approaches. It gives emphasis on the role of human experience that provides the foundation for a profound philosophical understanding of what makes man truly human. The students are introduced to the phenomenological method in an attempt to answer the fundamental existential question: “ Who am I?” by exposing them to some profound human experiences such as: Embodied Subjectivity, Freedom, Love and Man as a being towards Death.

Philo 103 – Ethics
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 102

This course is designed for College students who are taking fundamental principles of Ethics. By Ethics, we mean that branch of philosophy that examines the moral standards of an individual or society. It deals with what is right or wrong conduct, good and evil, and the values embedded, fostered or pursued in the act. This course seeks to help the students acquire a fundamental grasp of major ethical theories and give them opportunity to address contemporary moral issues by:

  1. presenting the different ethical theories and their application, thus, giving the students the opportunity to understand and reflect on their moral conviction.
  2. clarifying the options that are found in modern ethical issues, hence, challenging the students to take a personal stand.


Philo 104 – Philosophy of Religion
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 102

Responding to the urgency of the problematic Muslim-Christian relation in Mindanao, this course aims to make Philosophy of Religion a venue for reconciliation and appreciation for each other’s religion, in particular among Muslim and Christian students. The first part of the course takes the existence of God as its focal point of analysis. It explores the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Blaise Pascal, Rudolf Otto, Soren Kierkegaard and Emmanuel Levinas. Each philosopher provides a distinct and unique approach in dealing with the question of God’s existence. Starting from a rational approach, the course moves to a more existential and radical approach in dealing with the issue of God’s existence. The reason for this shift emanates from the presupposition that a personal relationship with the Supreme Being is inextricably related with one’s ethical relationship with other human persons. Hence, the second part of the course focuses on the implication of the existence of a Supreme Being to human existence. In particular, the course specifically adopts major scriptural themes (Truth, Mercy, Justice and Peace) that are common both to Islam and Christianity. A discussion on these themes from Islamic and Christian perspective (with the philosophical and humanistic perspective serving as the common ground) can provide opportunities for students to be in dialogue with one another regardless of their religious affiliations.

AB Philosophy Program

The AB Philosophy Program provides its students the opportunity to engage in serious critical thinking and philosophical reflection as man continually searches for wisdom and truth. As such, the students are equipped with the necessary philosophical foundations for them to be able to appreciate the dynamism and significance of human existence and to translate these into meaningful human actions as man participates in this world and relates with others and God.

The AB Philosophy Program prepares the student for further studies in philosophy. It is also a good preparation for further studies in other fields such as theology, law, business or graduate studies.

(based on the AB Philosophy Curriculum SY 2007-2008)

General Education Subjects – 85 units
Core Subjects – 21 units (includes four RS Subjects and three Philosophy Subjects)
Major Subjects – 42 units
Total – 148 units


Philo 105 Logic
No. of Credit: 3

This course deals with logic, the study of correct reasoning. It is divided into two parts. The first part covers sentential logic. It is the branch of logic that studies ways of joining and/or modifying entire propositions, statements or sentences to form more complicated propositions, statements or sentences, as well as the logical relationships and properties that are derived from these methods of combining or altering statements. After understanding the relationship between the propositions, modern symbolic logic will be discussed to symbolize this proposition and to discern its validity or invalidity when applied to arguments.

Philo 225 Philosophical Essay
No. of Credit: 3

This course seeks to introduce the students to the nature of philosophical discourse by primarily discussing and evaluating the various answers provided by great philosophers to the question, “What is philosophy?” Further, it guides the students how to view a philosopher within his/her cultural and historical context, in the context of the actual historical problems he/she is trying to answer

Philo 108 Basics of Philosophical Research
No. of Credit: 3

The aim of the course is to get students actively involved in philosophical writing. It discusses the different styles of writing a philosophical paper. It explicates how the intellectual temperament of a philosopher should, to a great extent, dictate the methods of research into his/her thought.

Philo 212a Ancient Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 105

This course seeks to present a historical development of the various philosophical ideas that evolved during the ancient period of Western Philosophy. It studies the emergence of key philosophical questions in Western History that undeniably influenced most of the greatest minds that we witnessed in our human history.

Philo 212b Medieval Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 212a

This course seeks to present a historical development of the various philosophical ideas about God and creatures and about belief and disbelief that evolved during the medieval period of western philosophy. It studies the emergence of Arab philosophy, the rise of scholasticism and the Hellenic influence on various medieval thinkers. Lastly, this course aims to present the dialectical connections of faith and reason as presented by medieval philosophers.

Philo 213a Modern Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 212b

This course aims to present major philosophical themes in the modern period. The course is divided into three major philosophers of the modern period. The first part will deal with the philosophy of Rene’ Descartes in his quest for the indubitable truth. Second, as a reaction to Descartes’ rationalism, a study of empiricism will be dealt from the perspective of David Hume. Lastly, as a synthesis of rationalism and empiricism, Immanuel Kant will be given much consideration. A thematic discussion of the philosophers’ insights will  also be utilized starting from the theory of knowledge, ethics and religion.

Philo 213-b Contemporary Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 213a

This course aims to examine the influential European philosophical movements put forth by Friedrich Nietzsche, Karl Marx, Edmund Husserl and Ludwig Wittgenstein. From these, students will be able to learn to make connections about some of the contemporary issues, problems, and topics that we have in the light of the philosophical insights of these philosophers.

Philo 206 Epistemology
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 213b

This course is a survey of the different theories of knowledge from the ancient period to the contemporary period. It aims to provide critical historical information on what thinkers have held on the standard epistemological questions and at the same time present these as living questions. It will attempt to answer these basic questions – “What does it mean to know?”, “How do we know that we know?”, “Under which conditions can I know and to what extent can I know?” etc.

Philo 207 Metaphysics
No. of Credit: 3
Pre-requisite: Philo 213b

This course deals with the study of beings as Being. It is the inquiry into the source of all that is and the end of every being-that towards which every creature tends as its final goal or fulfillment. This emphasis on Being as Being, can lead to all that there is to know. This course is an attempt to understand the very nature of metaphysics as a philosophical inquiry in articulating the vision of reality as a whole in the context of our experience in the hope of discovering the essential and all pervasive properties and structures of all beings as real, their ultimate law/s or principles of intelligibility, and their interrelationships in forming the intelligible whole.

Philo 211 Social-Political Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3

This course centers on the social dimension of being human. It deals with the different social and political theories that attempt to explain man’s natural tendency to form a structure called society and enact laws to govern his existence in that structure. Furthermore, it attempts to shed light on social nature of man beyond the scientific explanation of theories and laws.


Philo 217  Introduction toChinese Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3

This course studies the two predominant schools of ancient China, Confucianism and Taoism by a textual analysis of the Four Books (The Analects, The Book of Mencius, The Great Learning, the Doctrine of the Mean), the Tao Te Ching, and the Way of Chuang Tze.

Philo 231: Emmanuel Levinas and the Possibility of Peace in Mindanao
No. of Credit: 3

The entire effort of this course consists in presenting an alternative path to peace based on a philosophical paradigm. Such an elucidation is basically a response to the urgent peace problem that has long marred the human solidarity among the people of Mindanao. The source of the Mindanao peace problem has always been anchored on the political and economic aspects. This course, however,  focuses on the perceived problem of relationship that exists among Mindanawons. By the problem of relationship, we refer to the essential mistrust and misunderstanding that lie deep within the hearts and minds of  people.

This course employs the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas as its main source. Such a choice is premised on two significant points. First, Levinas’s reflection on the existence of interhuman violence can shed light on the problem of relationship. Second, Levinas’s notion of the human as essentially as primacy of the Other opens a path that can lead to a peaceful and harmonious relationship with others, since it recognizes the radical uniqueness of each historical background of the Mindanao conflict. The reason for this historical overview is twofold. First, it is to demonstrate that the philosophical thought elaborated in this study responds to a situation that is grounded not only on an embattled past but also in the conflictual present condition of Mindanao. Second, since the Mindanao problem is rooted on how the people interpret the events that transpired, and given the fact that such an interpretation lies deep within the people’s collective consciousness, it is only proper to have an adequate historical knowledge of the background concerning the misunderstanding and mistrust among Mindanawons.

This course ends  with a  discussion of the significance of the Levinasian notion of responsibility, as outlined above, to the peace problem in Mindanao. It  reflects on how being-responsible-for-others can serve as the ethical basis for peace amidst the problem of relationship that emanates from the historical biases engendered by centuries-old conflict. It  also discusses the feasibility of responsibility, given the challenges and difficulties that the Mindanao problem offers.

Philo 226 Hermeneutic Philosophy
No. of Credit: 3

This course focuses on the contribution of Hans-Geog Gadamer to philosophical hermeneutics. It deals with the different theories of interpretation from ancient Greek philosophy to the middle ages, from modern to the post-modern era. In short, it traces the development of hermeneutics from being methodical to being philosophical.