Sarah Borden, Ph.D.

Professor of Philosophy, Department Chair
On Faculty since 2001

Phone: (630)752-5888
Fax: (630)752-7777


Ph.D., Philosophy, Fordham University, 2001 Dissertation: “An Issue in Edith Stein’s Philosophy of the Person: The Relation of Individual and Universal Form in Endliches und ewiges Sein” (mentor: Fr. Joseph Koterski, S.J.)

M.A., Philosophy, Fordham University, 1998

B.A., Philosophy, Wheaton College (IL), 1995 magna cum laude, honors. Honors thesis: “A Study in the Actor-Character Relationship,” on Constantin Stanislavski, Tolstoy and Kant

About Sarah Borden

Before coming to Wheaton as a freshman, I was intrigued by philosophy. One of my aunts teaches philosophy at the University of Dayton, and short holiday conversations sparked my curiosity. But I had no intention of doing more than a few classes, or maybe a minor - if it proved really interesting. It did. So I followed the introductory course with Arthur Holmes's History of Philosophy course, although the original impetus for signing up was as much because I had a little time and a friend talked me into it, as interest. But before it was half over, I was captivated. Philosophy raised questions that I had (more and less clearly) asked for many years and offered models and structures for reflection. At the end of that year, on the final day of classes, I dropped my IDS major in film and dramatic arts, canceled my slot at a semester film program in LA, and decided that I wanted a Ph.D. in philosophy.

I did both the MA and Ph.D. at Fordham University in Bronx, New York. Fordham's program strongly emphasizes the history of philosophy, and between coursework and exams, I developed an interest in the relationship between medieval and contemporary thought. I am struck by the beauty and elegance of Thomas Aquinas's synthesis of Plato and Aristotle, as well as his concern for the relationship between philosophical and theological pursuits. On the other hand, the philosophical method and approach of phenomenology strike me as, in broad strokes, correct. I wrote my dissertation on Edith Stein, someone who was deeply formed by the early 20th century phenomenological school yet also developed a great love for medieval metaphysics. The work on Stein's thought has deepened both of these interests, and much of my work has centered around questions regarding essences and essential structures, the problem of universals, individual and universal forms, individuality and uniqueness, and the nature of emotions and value.

Courses Taught

  • Phenomenology
  • Historical Seminar: Edith Stein
  • Feminist Philosophy
  • Postmodernism and Christianity
  • History of Philosophy
  • Introduction to Philosophy

Independent Studies Directed

  • Heidegger's Basic Problems in Phenomenology
  • Aristotle and Kierkegaard
  • Phenomenological Psychology
  • Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations
  • "A Phenomenology of Religious Belief: Edith Stein on Believing and Willing"
  • Faith and Fideism
  • Husserl's Logical Investigations
  • Existentialism
  • Gadamer's Truth and Method

Membership in Professional Societies

International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES)


  • Phenomenology
  • Feminism
  • Thomistic Metaphysics

Professional Activities


An Aristotelian Feminism, in the series Historical-Analytical Studies on Nature, Mind and Action  (Springer International Publishing, 2016)

(edited with Sr. Josephine Koeppel) Edith Stein's Writings on Saint Teresa of Avila (Washington, D.C.: Institute of Carmelite Public forthcoming 2016).

Thine Own Self: Individuality in Edith Stein’s Later Writings (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2009).

Edith Stein, in the series Outstanding Christian Thinkers (London: Continuum Publishers, December 2003).


“Edith Stein's Use of Hering's Wesenheit to Move through Phenomenology to Metaphysics" in Discipline Filosofiche 26:1 (2016), 193-204.

"Reconciling Time and Eternity: Edith Stein's Philosophical Project" in Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being: Edith Stein's Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy ed. Mette Lebech & John Hadyn Gurmin (Peter Lang, 2015), 7-20.

“Stein, Edith" for Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy Online (

"Values, Emotions, and Edith Stein" (part of a volume edited by Kathleen Haney for Institute of Carmelite Studies, forthcoming).

"Eternal rest: The Beauty and Challenge of Essential Being" in Quaestiones Disputatae (special volume entitled, Selected Papers on the Legacy of Edith Stein's Finite and Eternal Being), 4:1 (Fall 2013), 45-64.

"Edith Stein: Suffering for the Cross” in The Sword: A Journal of Historical, Spiritual and Contemporary Carmelite Issues 71:1 (2011), 83-104.

“The Meaning of Being in Thomas Aquinas and Edith Stein” in Ideas, Discussions and Probings: The Aquinas Lectures at Maynooth, volume 2: 2002-2010, ed. James McEvoy,  Michael W. Dunne, & Julia Hynes (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2011), 85-100. 

With John Sullivan: “Stein, Edith” (encyclopedia entry) in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010, ed. Robert Fastiggi (Detroit: Gale, 2010).

“How does One Limit Being?: W. Norris Clarke on Thomas’s ‘Limitation of Act by Potency,’” in The Saint Anselm Journal 7:1 (Fall 2009), an on-line journal found at

With Christopher Manzer:  “Feminism and Metaphysics” in Journal of Personalist Metaphysics (2009), an on-line journal found at rmlemmons/SienaJournalCurrent.htm.

“Being a Person in a Political World: Edith Stein and the Soul” in Colloquium, a journal of the Far Eastern University Humanities and Social Sciences Department, vol. 2 (2008), 1-18. 

“Edith Stein and John Paul II on Women” in Karol Wojtyla’s Philosophical Legacy, ed. Nancy Mardas Billias, Agnes B. Curry, & George F. McLean (Washington, DC: The Council for Research in Values in Philosophy, 2008), 265-276.

“Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas on Being and Essence,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 82:1 (Winter 2008), pp. 87-103.

Foreword of Maybelle Padua’s Contemplating Woman in the Philosophy of Edith Stein (Far Eastern University Press, 2007), pp. xiii-xxiii.

 “Edith Stein and Individual Forms: A Few Distinctions regarding Being an Individual” in Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society (2006), pp. 49-69.

“Edith Stein’s Understanding of Woman” in International Philosophical Quarterly, 46:2 (June 2006), pp. 171-190.

“What makes You You?: Edith Stein on Individual Form” in Contemplating Edith Stein, ed. Joyce Berkman (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), pp. 283-300.

“Review of Literature in English on Edith Stein” in Contemplating Edith Stein, ed. Joyce Berkman (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2006), pp. 320-342. 

Introduction to Edith Stein’s “The Interiority of the Soul” for a Reconsiderations piece in Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 8:2 (Spring 2005), pp. 178-182.          

Journal Editing

Guest editor for Quaestiones Disputatae (special volume entitled, Selected Papers on the Legacy of Edith Stein's Finite and Eternal Being), 4:1 (Fall 2013) 

Ongoing Compilation Work

With Kevin Jones:  “Bibliography of Secondary Sources on Edith Stein” for the Baltimore Carmel website:

Book Reviews

Review of Experience Live from the Inside Out: Social and Political Philosophy in Edith Stein by Antonio Calcagno, in International Philosophical Quarterly, 55:4 (December 2015): 520-523.

Review of Edith Stein Gesamtausgabe, Volume 23: Übersetzungen III: Thomas von Aquin, Über die Wahrheit 1 and Volume 24: Übersetzungen IV: Thomas von Aquin, Über die Wahrheit 2, introduced & edited by Andreas Speer & Francesco Valerio Tommasi, in International Philosophical Quarterly 49: 2 (June 2009), 261-263. 

Review of The Philosophy of Edith Stein, by Antonio Calcagno, in Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy 12: 1 (Spring 2008), 180-182.

Review of Rediscovering Empathy, by Karsten Steuber, in International Philosophical Quarterly 48:1 (March 2008), pp. 118-120.

Review of The Cambridge Companion to Anselm, ed. Brian Davies & Brian Leftow, in Faith and Philosophy 24:4 (October 2007), pp. 479-481. 

Conferences & Presentations

Paper presentation, "Capacity or Castle?: Thoughts on Stein's Creative (Carmelite) Contribution to Discussion on the Soul," for the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES) bi-annual conference, Vienna & Heiligkreuz, Austria, October 24, 2015.

Keynote presentation, "Human Strength and Weakness: Edith Stein's Life at the 'Hand of the Lord', " for Edith Stein Project, annual conference 2012, University of Notre Dame, February 10, 2012.

Keynote presentation, “Reconciling Time and Eternity: Edith Stein’s Philosophical Project” at the inaugural conference of the International Association for the Study of the Philosophy of Edith Stein (IASPES), National University of Ireland Maynooth, June 22, 2011.

Keynote presentation, “Edith Stein: Suffering for the Cross,” annual Carmelite lecture, at Washington Theological Union, sponsored by the Carmelite Institute, Washington, DC, March 26, 2011.

Keynote presentation, “Eternal Rest: The Beauty and Challenge of Essential Being” at Edith Stein’s Finite and Eternal Being, at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Steubenville, OH, April 23, 2010.

Paper presentation, “How does One Limit Being?: W. Norris Clarke on Thomas’s ‘Limitation of Act by Potency,’” at Metaphysics Colloquium, St. Anselm College, June 10, 2009.

Paper presentation, “Retrieving Aristotle for Feminist Purposes” at Edith Stein Project, University of Notre Dame, IN, February 14, 2009.

Paper presentation, “An Aristotelian Feminism?” at The Family: Searching for Fairest Love conference, University of Notre Dame, IN, November 7, 2008.

Paper presentation, “Matter and Why it Matters to Women and Men” at Mulieris Dignitatem and the Church’s Social Vision: the Feminine Genius in the Pursuit of the Common Good conference, University of St. Thomas, MN, October 23, 2008.

Paper presentation, “Edith Stein on Analogy,” annual Faith and Philosophy Lecture at North Park University, April 22, 2008.

Paper presentation, “Edith Stein’s Response to the Darwinian Challenge” at 34th annual Lonergan Workshop at Boston College, June 2007.

Paper presentation, “The Meaning of Being in Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas,” Aquinas Lecture at University of Ireland, Maynooth, March 10, 2007. 

Paper presentation, “Edith Stein and Thomas Aquinas” at International St. Thomas Society, December 28, 2006.

Paper presentation, “What do our Emotions tell us? Edith Stein’s Theory of Value” at the Edith Stein Center of Study and Research, Spalding University, Louisville, KY, November 30, 2006.

Philosophy series, “Sex, Gender, and our Vocation in the Contemporary World,” with two public lectures, entitled “Difference, Sameness, and the Vocation of Sex: Theoretical Issues” and “Sex as a Vocational Response to the Contemporary World,” and two luncheon discussions, at University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN, April 3-4, 2006.

Paper presentation, “John Paul II and Edith Stein on Woman” at Karol Wojtyla’s Philosophical Legacy, Saint Joseph College, March 23, 2006.

Paper presentation, “What Might it Mean to Suffer for the Cross: St. Edith Stein on Suffering” at Saint Joseph Abbey Seminary College, March 8, 2006.

Paper presentation, “What is Complementarianism?: John Paul II on Women” at Truth, Life & Solidarity: Philosophical Perspectives on the Thought of John Paul II, Boston College, February 25, 2006.

Paper presentation, “The Relation of Human Beings to God in Thomas Aquinas’s Thought” at St. Mary’s College, September 28, 2005.

Paper presentation, “Edith Stein Encounters Thomas Aquinas” at the Eighth Annual Thomas Aquinas Symposium, Saint Mary’s College, February 19, 2005.

Paper presentation, “Being a Person in a Political World: Saint Edith Stein and the Soul” at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, October 18, 2004.

Paper presentation, “Edith Stein’s Understanding of Woman: A Critical Appraisal” at University of St. Thomas’s summer symposium on The Work of John Paul II and the Vocation of the Professional Woman, June 18, 2004.

Paper presentation, “Value, Emotions, and Edith Stein” for Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics and Culture conference on Formation and Renewal, October 4, 2003.

Panel participant/paper presentation, “What makes you you?: Edith Stein on Individual Form” at Society for the Study of Women in Philosophy, New York, NY, December 28, 2000.

Panel participant/paper presentation, “Advocacy and Neutrality in the Light of Multiculturalism,” at Marquette University Philosophy Conference on Teaching Philosophy, February 26-28, 1999.

Panel participant at New York University’s Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program conference, “Degrees of Truth: Current Controversies Concerning Aquinas,” April 30, 1999.

Paper presentation, “Free Persons and Free Actions in Aquinas’ De Veritate,” American Catholic Philosophical Association Roundtable meeting, December 5, 1998.

Participant in invited symposium on Edith Stein’s philosophy, Baltimore Carmel, November 14, 1998.

Paper presentation, “Knowledge or Vitality: Socrates, Gabriel Marcel and the Teaching of  Philosophy,” at Southern Illinois University Graduate Philosophy Conference, November 7, 1998.

Panel participant for Edith Stein Symposium, St. John’s University (NY), October 15, 1998.

Media Center