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.
"I love philosophy because of how discussion-oriented and far-reaching it is. By and large, it feels like any question, example or counterexample is acceptable in any discussion because of the sheer depth of the discipline and its plethora of intersections with other fields."
— Alexander Rojek '25
"The conversations with faculty and peers have made studying philosophy and political science deeply enjoyable. Collectively struggling with a question that an author raises or going back and forth on the best interpretation of a passage is an exciting challenge, and I’m really thankful for my classmates' perspectives, which make that process so engaging."