Philosophy — Aquinas College, Nashville
The School of Athens Painting


Why study Philosophy?

Traditionally, philosophy is defined as rational inquiry into first causes and first principles; it considers comprehensive explanations and the most basic truths presupposed by every form of human knowing. For example, philosophers seek to understand reason, logic, truth, nature, life, being, goodness, and the human person, among many other topics. The philosophy major at Aquinas College gives students the opportunity to pursue this discipline in an intellectually rigorous program inspired by the insights and method of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Upon completion of the program, the Philosophy graduate will be able to:

  • Identify and evaluate arguments used in academic and popular discussions;
  • Identify and discuss major figures and movements in the history of philosophy;
  • Construct cogent philosophical arguments;
  • Perform scholarly research within the domain of philosophy.
Please note that we are not currently admitting a cohort to this program. However, philosophy courses are available.

Meet the Faculty

Sister Terese Auer, O.P., Ph.D. Director, Student Learning Services Adjunct Lecturer in Philosophy

Ph.D., University of St. Thomas
M.A., Univeristy of St. Thomas
B.A., Silver Lake College of the Holy Family

Sister Elinor Gardner, O.P., Ph.D. Adjunct Associate Professor in Philosophy Arts & Sciences

Ph.D., Boston College
B.A., Saint Anselm College

Sister Elinor is a member of the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia Congregation. She holds a Doctorate in Philosophy from Boston College. Her doctoral work was on the moral and political philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, with a dissertation titled, “St. Thomas Aquinas on Capital Punishment.” She has taught a broad range of undergraduate Philosophy courses at Aquinas College, as well as at The Catholic University of America and the University of Dallas. Her writing and research is focused on ethics and philosophical anthropology.

Sister Thomas Aquinas Halbmaier, O.P. Adjunct Instructor in Philosophy

B.A., Thomas Aquinas College

Sister Thomas Aquinas is a member of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation of Nashville, TN. She has been teaching for over 30 years, primarily in the disciplines of history and philosophy. In addition to teaching as an adjunct instructor in philosophy at Aquinas College, she is currently at St. Cecilia Academy, teaching the Senior Religion course in moral and spiritual theology which she restructured and launched as a Socratic seminar ten years ago. Sister Thomas Aquinas has most recently been serving at our mission in Bracciano, Italy, where she taught philosophy and Church history in the former Aquinas study abroad program.

Sister Jean Marie Warner, O.P. Lecturer in History and Philosophy (615) 297-7545 x373

M.Ed., University of Southern Mississippi
M.A., Catholic University of America
B.A., Notre Dame College

Sister Jean Marie Warner, O.P. is a Dominican Sister of Saint Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee. Her research emphasis is in medieval history with a special concentration in medieval political theory. Other research interest areas include Aristotelian and Thomistic concepts of virtue, medieval intellectual history, Dominican history and topics in early modern and modern European history and African history. She also teaches philosophy of education with an emphasis on the Thomistic concept of teaching and learning.

Sister Anna Wray, O.P., Ph.D. Adjunct Assistant Professor in Philosophy

Ph.D., The Catholic University of America
Ph.L., The Catholic University of America
Ph.B., The Catholic University of America


Aquinas College welcomes all students regardless of race, color, ethnicity, or national origin who desire to be part of the faith-based mission of the College to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the College. It does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity, or national origin in administration of its education policies, admission policies, scholarships and loan programs.

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