Philosophy challenges students to move beyond uncritical patterns of thought, to recognize problems, and to exchange a more naive world view for a more considered and justifiable one. In doing so, students learn to think in ways that are simultaneously both disciplined and imaginative.
To do philosophy is to encounter some of the most fundamental questions that can be asked about human existence. Philosophical investigation leads students to recognize the otherwise unnoticed assumptions that, far from standing on the periphery of our daily lives, underpin even our most ordinary ways of interacting with other persons and engaging in human projects. Such assumptions concern, for example, the nature of human knowledge, action, and value.
Philosophy Department faculty members cooperatively approach these concerns from diverse perspectives, both in studying the works of major philosophers and in their own creative activity. Students are encouraged to join with the faculty in this inquiry and to philosophize creatively on their own. The courses and seminars in the Department are intended to develop the abilities necessary for these activities.
All philosophy majors at Denison are required to participate in the Senior Symposium. The Symposium is a year-long project, in which you will write a paper on a philosophical topic of your choice and then defend it to faculty and your fellow students in a student Symposium to be held during the spring semester. The Senior Symposium fulfills the R requirement.
A major in philosophy provides students with a range of skills that serves them well in many career fields. Philosophy majors have continued on to law, medicine, and business schools. Some students continue on to do graduate work in philosophy or related fields. Other students have moved directly into the job market, seeking careers in fields such as advertising, investment banking, publishing, and sales.