Department of Philosophy

Smith Hall
Fax: 508-793-3841
Chair: Jeffrey Bernstein
Academic Administrative Coordinator for Philosophy and Religious Studies: Kerstin Bean

The Holy Cross philosophy department, one of the largest departments of philosophy among American liberal arts colleges, is unusual in being philosophically pluralistic, with faculty representing all major contemporary schools of philosophy. As well as permitting the study of topics unique to philosophy — like metaphysics, ethics and epistemology — this allows the department to partner with and engage the subject matters of more than half of the College's other departments and programs. This breadth encourages as well a reflective approach to human living. 

The department provides several kinds of courses: 

a. Montserrat and Philosophical Inquiries (PHIL 110) for freshmen, which satisfy the College's Common Area requirement in philosophy;

b. Intermediate or 200 level courses, almost all of which also satisfy the College's Common Area requirement in philosophy. These courses generally fall into one of two types: those which study the history of philosophy; and "philosophy of" courses that apply philosophical inquiry to particular subject matters and issues (e.g., politics, psychology, art, science). 

c. Advanced seminars, or 300 level courses, open to any student with one prior philosophy course, some focused on the work of particular philosophers or philosophical schools, others on advanced examination of a particular subject matter or issue. 

Lastly, the department offers tutorials, opportunities for one or a small number of students to contract with a professor to work on an agreed upon set of readings. 


Philosophy professor Predrag Cicovacki teaches his course Philosophical Anthropology outside on a warm fall day.


Distinguished Faculty

Faculty members in the philosophy department are widely published, having authored or edited over 50 books. They represent a broad range of scholarly and teaching interests in the history of philosophy (East and West), the philosophy of law, science and medicine, philosophical issues concerning the mind and neuroscience, art and architecture food, environmental and medical ethics, religion, and many other fields. They also come from diverse backgrounds and teach and lecture all over the world.

 "Past Presidents of the Metaphysical Society of America. May Sim 4th from Left."

Philosophy Professor Serves as Editor of Philosophy Journal

John Manoussakis, associate professor of philosophy, is editor-in-chief of the Journal for Continental Philosophy of Religion, an international peer-reviewed journal for scholars interested on any aspect of continental philosophy of religion and, similarly, on every religious tradition. 

Rich Curriculum

For majors, minors and all Holy Cross students interested in deepening their liberal arts education, the department offers courses in the history of philosophy that span the entire tradition from the pre-Socratics to the philosophers of our own century. These historical courses are best pursued in conjunction with courses that cover the principal areas of philosophical inquiry (metaphysics, ethics, epistemology, and aesthetics). Courses exclusively reserved for first-year students are all sections of Philosophical Inquiries (Phil 110). Students are permitted to take only one course at this level.