Philosophy, the “love of wisdom,” is the study through the light of reason of the most fundamental causes and reasons of things. It considers such questions as: How should I live? What is the meaning of life? Why is there something rather than nothing? Is there an explanation for the world more basic than the laws of science? What are the most basic principles of thought? What is the origin of political society? What principles ought to govern the development and use of technology? What is true human development? What is true education?
Philosophy differs from other disciplines because it considers the whole. Biology looks at living things only. Physics considers only matter and energy in space and time. But philosophy aims to understand all of reality in relation to the basic principles it looks for. Also, philosophy reflects on everything, including itself. Biology studies living things, not the nature of biology itself; similarly physics. But philosophy reflects on the nature of biology, the nature of physics, and also the nature of philosophy itself.
At Ave Maria, we affirm the harmony of faith and reason: we believe that reason leads to faith, and that faith in turn fosters reason. This harmony is clearly displayed in the Catholic philosophical tradition. We consider Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas to be our great examples and guides. We believe that, through faith, philosophy is not simply a never-ending search for wisdom – as is often held – but rather that it can be a path to finding and embracing true Wisdom.