Simultaneous with the foundation of the University, a philosophy program was offered. In 1896, the program was enlarged and subsequently called Faculty of Philosophy and Letters. In 1927, when the Central Seminary was to be established directly under the Sacred Congregation on Seminaries and Universities, a complete separation of religious and lay students was brought about, according to the wishes of the Church. Two courses had to be established: one, ecclesiastical, subject to the laws of the Church; the other, civil, subject to state legislation. For this reason, the Faculty of Philosophy — scholastic philosophy particularly — was established in the Central Seminary. This was intended to enable the students to undertake the study of Sacred Theology more profitably later on.
In the school year 1959-1960, the University of Santo Tomas was allowed to offer a four-year Classical Liberal Arts program simultaneously with the regular philosophy program offered by the Faculty of Philosophy, in accordance with Government Recognition No. 254, series 1966, dated July 22, 1966. Thus, the curricula of the Faculty of Philosophy and of the Faculty of Arts and Letters were integrated in such wise that students enrolled in the Faculty may obtain their A.B. Classical degree. Beginning with the school year 1973-1974, all the institutional courses of Philosophy were given in the first two years, making up the first cycle or first biennium leading to the Bachelor in Philosophy degree. The second cycle or second biennium would comprise the special course leading to the Licentiate in Philosophy degree. In 2011, the Bachelor in Philosophy program has to be updated, and is extended to last for at least three Academic Years, following the Decree on the Reform of Ecclesiastical Studies of Philosophy released by the Congregation for Catholic Education.
The Faculty of Philosophy is an Ecclesiastical Faculty and, together with the Faculty of Sacred Theology and the Faculty of Canon Law, is classified under Ecclesiastical Faculties. It is an integral part of the University of Santo Tomas.
The Faculty of Philosophy intends, through the proper organization of its courses, to help students gradually acquire a solid and consistent knowledge of man, of the world and of God based on a philosophical heritage of St. Thomas Aquinas as the best guide in this philosophical journey (see Veritatis Gaudium’s Norms of Application, Art. 64, §1; Fides et Ratio, nos. 43, 57 and 58). It also aims to make the students conversant with the history of ideas and other human sciences (Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 52) as well as to engage them in an honest and sincere examination of the solutions given to the problem of the world and of life through the centuries, so that they will be able to arrive at a proper conviction and a coherent vision of reality. This training in philosophy will give the students a solid base for the study of theology, and a preparation for the life and ministry which await them, thus, enabling them to enter into dialogue with the men and women of their own time.
Following the Apostolic Constitution Veritatis Gaudium, the Faculty of Philosophy has the aim of “investigating philosophical problems according to scientific methodology, basing itself on a heritage of perennially valid philosophy. It has to search for solutions in the light of natural reason and, furthermore, it has to demonstrate their consistency with the Christian view of the world, of man, and of God, placing in a proper light the relationship between philosophy and theology” (Veritatis Gaudium, Art. 81, §1).
The Faculty of Philosophy is governed by the following laws:
In addition, the Faculty is governed by the following regulations:
The Faculty is under the patronage of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr, the patroness of philosophers and one of the patronesses of the Dominican Order. Her feastday is observed every November 25.