Courses in philosophy present ways of thinking about fundamental questions that continue to arise no matter how much we think we know: What does it mean to be human? Is there a right way to live as a human? Is there a right way to live together as a society? What is our relationship to each other and to the earth? Is truth possible? What is ultimately real?
Philosophers see questions like these cutting across the boundaries of science, art, politics, religion—crucial to all these areas yet belonging to none of them—and demanding that we subject both our experiences and our beliefs to critical scrutiny. Because it calls into question grounding beliefs, philosophy has always been considered central to liberal education, whose point is to generate citizens thoughtful about what is essential.
Across more than two dozen of the most prominent college majors, philosophy majors have scored the highest on the GREs over the past four years—and have exceeded the national average score by the most points (ets.org, 2019)
Philosophy majors are introduced to the central questions and movements in the history of philosophy as a foundation for tackling today’s philosophical problems. And faculty members have an unusually wide range of interests, including contemporary-analytic, 19th- and 20th-century continental and American philosophy.
The philosophy program at Dickinson aims to educate our students to be careful readers, critical reasoners and, finally, original thinkers by exploring significant and enduring philosophical problems through the close reading of primary texts and acquiring and evaluating methods and skills requisite to doing philosophy.
"The Department of Philosophy has contributed significantly to my moral and intellectual growth at Dickinson. Every member of the department has encouraged me both to think critically about course material and to construct creative arguments concerning topics that I'm interested in. I'm excited to employ philosophical tools and methods in my future work."
—Nick Serensits ’20
"I love the philosophy department at Dickinson and have found it to be both fulfilling and crucial to my education! The curriculum and professors challenge us to think more critically, formulate logical arguments and view the world in different and sometimes critical ways, all lessons that I will take with me well beyond my time at Dickinson. The availability and friendliness of the professors and the cross-discipline and diverse nature of many of the courses allow for amazing opportunities and experiences, whether in or out of the classroom, and I couldn’t imagine my Dickinson experience without the philosophy department or my fellow students in it."