AQ Difference

Outstanding Senior Awards 2014
Senior Awards





Graduating senior Mackenzie Kane was honored as the Philosophy Department's Outstanding Senior for the 2013-2014 academic year.


Congratulations Mackenzie!


(Read the text of Professor Pilkington's address below.)


Good evening.

This year’s outstanding philosophy graduate is Mackenzie Kane. Mackenzie is wonderful in many ways, and as a philosopher I am tempted to offer clear and compelling arguments - all of which I can assure you are sound - to illustrate this fact. But I doubt we have the time…


Over the past year, Mackenzie has done some very interesting philosophical work. She has written on the division of the soul in Ancient Greek philosophy and its relation to current conceptions of deeper selves. She has just turned in a clear and fittingly complex analysis of Alasdair MacIntyre’s account of the importance of narrative unity in understanding human lives, in which she carefully distinguishes between the understanding of an action in its proper context and the intelligibility of an action. And I have failed to mention much of her other work, including another excellent paper exploring the relationship between undignified means and dignified ends.


Mackenzie is diligent, honest, and careful. She is neither afraid of hard questions nor serious work – as evidenced by her taking on an independent study on contemporary virtue ethics and an upper-level seminar in ethical theory – in the same term.


The philosophers are very pleased to announce that Mackenzie Kane is our outstanding graduate and the inaugural recipient of the St. Catherine of Siena Philosophy Award. In addition to a very modest gift necessary for philosophical pursuits – coffee and a book, and with Mackenzie’s permission, the philosophers have made similarly modest donations to the Grand Rapids Dominicans and the Central Province of the Dominican Friars in her honor.


Congratulations, Mackenzie. Well done.

- Bryan Pilkington, Ph.D., Wege Ballroom, Aquinas College, 5/9/14

Well-Being and Confucianism
Dr. Richard Kim



In the 2014 Philosophy Department Lecture, Dr. Richard Kim of City University of Hong Kong spoke on Mencius, Xunzi, and the role of narrative significance in considerations of Well-Being. Hosted by Dr. Bryan Pilkington.

Philosophy Department Mission Statement
The Philosophy Department at Aquinas College is committed to the following goals:
I. To provide the general student population with the skills and enthusiasm for doing critical thinking regarding philosophical issues. More particularly, accomplishing this by providing a broad historical overview of some of the answers provided to certain perennial philosophical questions, and/or by providing students with several opportunities to answer these questions on their own in essay form. These questions, such as what is Truth? Reality? Justice? Knowledge? Power?, are foundational for many of the other disciplines and acquiring the skills for answering them cogently, logically and persuasively is invaluable to the college student.
II. To develop an interest in pursuing a philosophy major as a basis for professional work in philosophy, law, medical or environmental ethics, journalism, teaching or public policy work. This requires ongoing contact on the part of the department members with the majors in order for them to tailor their degree to their particular professional goals, and requires a faculty with diverse research and teaching interests, methodologies and professional experiences which are conductive to supporting a philosophy major.

III. Finally, philosophy has traditionally been viewed as a source of insight into foundational issues in the other disciplines, whether they are of a conceptual, ethical, historical or theoretical nature. We in the philosophy department want to involve ourselves as much as possible in the work of our colleagues as it relates to the discovery of answers to the philosophical questions in their discipline. Philosophy faculty also participate in the colleges General Education core program: Inquiry & Expression and Humanities.