Students learn to wrestle with the most important questions we face.

What is it to live a good life? Philosophy courses explore this question by examing issues such as abortion, euthanasia, dementia, poverty, racial justice, and reproduction.

Since Socrates, philosophers have earned the reputation of questioning what is widely taken for granted in art, morality, politics, religion, and science. In fact, much of what we take for granted today has been influenced by the philosophical challenges of the past. It is because of philosophy’s long intellectual history and profound contribution to human thought and society that it is one of the essential elements of the liberal arts curriculum.

Centenary’s Philosophy Department brings the intellectual skills and rigor of this tradition to students through its introductory courses, history of philosophy courses, and courses specifically designed to address the philosophical dimensions of art, politics, religion, and science. The department offers a strong community with individualized attention to the interests of each student.


Why Study Philosophy? 

There are intellectual and utilitarian reasons to study philosophy. The principal reason to study philosophy is the intellectual reason, namely, the love of the many dimensions of the discipline. 

In philosophy, one can grapple with classical and contemporary problems.

  • What is the nature of God?
  • Why be moral?
  • Is there an afterlife and what is it like?
  • Is it possible to create thinking machines?
  • Is it morally permissible to clone human beings?

In philosophy, one can grapple with questions in the arts and in the sciences.

  • What makes something a work of art?
  • Is there anything objective in the arts or is it all purely subjective?
  • What is the scientific method?
  • Can a robot be a good scientist?

In philosophy, there are questions with a human face and questions of a cold logical character.

  • What, if anything, do parents and children morally owe each other?
  • Is romantic love important?
  • To what extent can anything be proven?
  • What is a proof anyway?

In short, the principal reason to study philosophy is that it makes a person's life more intellectually interesting and rewarding. Those who study philosophy are challenged to analyze concepts clearly and evaluate evidence and arguments critically. The utilitarian reason to study philosophy is that it is good preparation for jobs that demand careful reading, critical thinking, intelligent decision-making and sound judgment.

Think philosophy is useless? Not so. The proof is in the salary. Looking at mid-career salaries, philosophy majors rank 16th out of 50. They rank higher than popular majors like Communications, Biology, Accounting, and Political Science.  

Contact Info

Christopher Ciocchetti

Chair of the Philosophy Department; Beaird Chair of Philosophy

201 Smith Building