Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives


About the Department

Philosophy is a mode of engaging thoughtfully and critically with the grounding ideas and assumptions of human practices. Traditionally, philosophical thinking includes reflection on the relationship between different forms of knowledge (scientific, ethical, political, historical, cultural and aesthetic) and the material world, as well as reflection on the intertwining social, historical and geographical forms of power and human community.

Southwestern’s Philosophy courses develop a wide range of intellectual abilities, and offer numerous opportunities for students to develop their own modes of thoughtful, critical engagement with different domains of knowledge and practice. Our emphasis is on the careful examination and discussion of primary philosophy texts and their ideas.

Our curriculum focuses on cultivating philosophy as a self-reflective practice, and we emphasize the history of Western philosophy as vitally important to contemporary philosophy. Students explore contemporary thinking from a foundation of critical inquiry into its past, and into the genealogies of questions that have shaped the conversation to this point.

Philosophy majors will find their immersion in critical thinking and analysis prepares them well for a range of fields beyond the classroom. Beyond the opportunity to pursue graduate studies in a number of fields, philosophy majors are well prepared to enter the range of career options available to liberal arts college graduates.