Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology

St. John’s offers what might be the strongest undergraduate philosophy curriculum in the world. Through it, we ask and attempt to answer weighty questions. What is the difference between science, knowledge, and opinion? What is characteristically human? What are the elements and the order of the soul? Whether by reading Genesis, Aristotle’s Metaphysics, Augustine’s Confessions, or Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, students strive to know themselves both inside and outside the classroom as they explore the most challenging works in philosophy, theology, and psychology.

NOTE

Philosophy, theology, and psychology are a few of the many subjects studied in the college’s interdisciplinary great books curriculum. There are no majors at St. John’s. Instead, students explore all these subjects over the course of all four years. Learn more about St. John’s classes.

Reading List

Aeschylus Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, Eumenides, Prometheus Bound

Aristophanes Clouds

Aristotle Poetics, Physics, Metaphysics, Nicomachaen Ethics, On Generation and Corruption, Politics, Parts of Animals, Generation of Animals

Euripides Hippolytus, Bacchae

Homer Iliad, Odyssey

Plato Meno, Gorgias, Republic, Apology, Crito, Phaedo, Symposium, Parmenides, Theaetetus, Sophist, Timaeus, Phaedrus

Plutarch “Lycurgus,” “Solon”

Sophocles Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, Antigone, Philoctetes, Ajax

François de La Rochefoucauld Maximes

René Descartes Meditations, Rules for the Direction of the Mind

Aristotle Metaphysics, Nicomachean Ethics, On the Heavens, Physics, Rhetoric, Poetics

Thomas Hobbes Leviathan

David Hume Treatise on Human Nature

Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason, Foundations of the Metaphysics of Morals

Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Monadology, Discourse on Metaphysics, Principles of Nature and Grace, Essays

John Locke Second Treatise on Government

John Milton Paradise Lost

Molière Le Misanthrope

Blaise Pascal Pensées

Jean-Jacques Rousseau Social Contract, The Origin of Inequality

Baruch Spinoza Theologico-Political Treatise, Ethics

Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels

Dante Alighieri Divine Comedy

Anselm Proslogium

Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae

Aristotle De Anima, On Interpretation, Prior Analytics, Categories

Augustine Confessions

Francis Bacon Novum Organum

Geoffrey Chaucer Canterbury Tales

Michel de Montaigne Essays

René Descartes Geometry, Discourse on Method

Princess Elisabeth The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes

Epictetus Discourses, Manual

Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince, Discourses

Maimonides Guide for the Perplexed

Plotinus The Enneads

Plutarch “Caesar,” “Cato the Younger,” “Antony,” “Brutus”

William Shakespeare Richard II, Henry IV, The Tempest, As You Like It, Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, King Lear, Sonnets

Tacitus Annals

Virgil Aeneid

Hebrew Bible

New Testament

James Baldwin Stranger in the Village, The Fire Next Time

Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness

Charles Darwin Origin of Species

Simone de Beauvoir The Second Sex

W. E. B. DuBois The Souls of Black Folk

William Faulkner Go Down Moses

Sigmund Freud Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis, Mourning and Melancholia, Beyond the Pleasure Principle

Georg Hegel Phenomenology of Mind

Martin Heidegger Basic Writings, The Word of Nietzsche: God is Dead, Introduction to Metaphysics

Edmund Husserl Crisis of the European Sciences

Søren Kierkegaard Philosophical Fragments, Fear and Trembling

Karl Marx Capital, Political and Economic Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology

Friedrich Nietzsche Beyond Good and Evil

Plato Phaedrus

Hannah Arendt The Human Condition

Albert Camus The Stranger

Georg Hegel Philosophy of Nature

Martin Heidegger What is Metaphysics?

Laozi Dao De Jing

Ibn Mājah The Sunan

Friedrich Nietzsche Gay Science

Pre-Socratic Philosophers

Ranier Maria Rilke The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge

Bertrand Russell An Introduction to Mathematical Philosophy

Voltaire Candide

Zhuangzi Zhou The Works of Zhuangzi

The information presented is for illustration purposes only and may not reflect the current reading list and preceptorial and study group offerings. Works listed are studied at one or both campuses, although not always in their entirety.

Senior Essay

The Internally Determined Self: Spinoza's Ethics as a Remedy for Postmodernity's Identity Crisis

Senior Essay

Rousseau on Civil Society: Two Provocative and Troubling Accounts

Senior Essay

Machiavelli’s Man – On the Difference Between Men in The Prince

Senior Essay

The Role of Art in Nietzsche’s Moral Philosophy

Senior Essay

An Essay on Einstein’s Special Relativity and the Reconciliation of Science and Religion

Senior Essay

Suffering and Gotama the Buddha: A Case Study of Enlightenment and the Elements of Its Attainment from the Bodhirajakumara Sutta

Senior Essay

Light Upon Light: Seeking Paths of Clarity in Ibn al-Arabi’s Ringstones of Wisdom

Alternative Dispute Resolutions Bureau

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

What Does It Mean to be Properly Human? An Examination of Humanity in Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Senior Essay

Don't think, look! Wittgenstein's Investigations: Turning Philosophy Around on the Axis of Meaning

Christian Fellowship

Student Group

Senior Essay

The Development of Moral Character in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics

Jewish Student’s Union

Student Group

Senior Essay

On Emerson’s Self-Reliance: Our Necessity for Authentic Living

University of Colorado Social Neuroscience Lab

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Kingship Under God in Ancient Israel: The Tragedy of Saul

Senior Essay

In Search of God: Philosophy’s Role in Augustine’s Confession

Senior Essay

The Gadfly and the Cicadas: Countryside Madness in Plato’s Phaedrus

Senior Essay

Communism as Naturalism and Naturalism as Humanism: Karl Marx on Human Nature

Meditation Study and Sit

Student Group

American Institute for Behavioral Research & Technology

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Mindfulness Meditation

Student Group

Senior Essay

The Myth of Self—An Essay on the Réflexions ou sentences et maxims morales of François VI, Duc de La Rochefoucauld

Orthodox Christian Fellowship

Student Group

Senior Essay

Why Economics Cannot be Reduced to Mathematics: The Connection between Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations and Theory of Moral Sentiments

Senior Essay

The Old Man and The Sea: an Argument against the Hierarchy of Humanity and Animals explained in On the Soul

University of Chicago Department of Psychology

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Shammai

Student Group

Senior Essay

Are we at War? A Comparison Between the Lives of Civilians and Soldiers in The Warriors, by Glenn Gray

Senior Essay

The Internal Act of Believing: Aquinas on Intellect and Will

Social Dynamics/Self Actualization Mastermind

Student Group

Senior Essay

Searchers, Tempters, Experimenters: A Study of Transformation in Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Senior Essay

Blessed are the Meek—An Exploration of Self in War and Peace and Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit

Senior Essay

How to Fall from Grace: The Eve Story—An Examination of Eve’s Innocence and Sin in Milton’s Paradise Lost

Talmar Gardens Horticultural Therapy Center and Arundel Lodge

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

The Truth of Lies: on Discourse and Authenticity in Heidegger’s Being and Time

Senior Essay

The Land of Truth: The Epistemology of Objects in Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason

Senior Essay

The Language of the Sons of Men: An Essay on Moses Maimonides’ Guide of the Perplexed

Human Capital Research Collaborative

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

University of Chicago, Experience in Cognition Lab

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Senior Essay

Hide Your Demons—An Exploration of the Quality of Silence in Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling

Georgetown University Department of Psychology, Culture & Emotions Lab

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.

Butler Hospital “Partial Hospital” Program

Internships

The Hodson and Ariel Internship Programs support Johnnies who want to pursue internships that would otherwise be unpaid.