The Philosophy, Politics & the Public Program brings together many of Xavier’s traditional curricular strengths in an innovative and rigorous undergraduate honors program of study focusing on the unifying concept of “the public sphere” in democratic societies. The program is inspired by the Philosophy, Politics & Economics programs commonly found in the British university system, but differs from them by placing greater emphasis upon philosophical conceptions and historical context.
The approach taken by this honors program is expressed in the meanings of the several conceptions identified in its very name. In its original meaning, philosophy denotes “the love of wisdom.” Aristotle, one of the greatest and most influential philosophers of the western tradition, defined politics as “the master science of the good.” “The public” represents a multi-dimensional domain of shared consciousness, ideals and action. Through course work that is both multi-disciplinary as well as centered in a particular disciplinary concentration, students are encouraged to follow their own interests in the theoretical engagement of the public in its many embodiments and meanings. In addition, the theoretical work in the program is complemented by engagement in the active world of politics through working on political campaigns, lobbying of behalf of legislation, internships in local and national government offices and summer study in Paris that includes a seminar in Brussels, the seat of the European Union. The program is highly selective, with 15 to 20 freshman students enrolling each fall.