There is a difference—an absolute gulf—between “just making a living” and ... truly living.

---John Haag and Jonathan van Belle. Henry at Work.


Philosophers seek wisdom. Since Socrates, philosophers have pursued a way of life that put them at odds with powerful people. Their rigorous, clear thinking, and effort to develop a coherent philosophy--consistent views about values, epistemology, and metaphysics--challenged received ways of thinking and overthrew traditions which had held for millennia. Philosophers see questions and challenges others overlook, and their capacity for rigorous thinking makes them useful.

Our majors have gone on to thrive as doctors (and even one dentist) fighting to get the best care for their patients, a travel writer bringing central Asia to the rest of the world, lawyers protecting their clients’ rights, accountants, educators and policy-makers, teachers in Central America, a disability rights advocate working in Germany and the United States, and a swim instructor and mother raising money and awareness for children with rare diseases. Learning to live as a philosopher at Centenary means learning to think and feel deeply and carefully, to see the connections between values, epistemology, and metaphysics, and engage the world with that vision to make it better for those you encounter. Philosophy majors learn to make their own path.
Philosophy majors take classes designed to help them think about how to live. Each student must take courses examining metaphysics and epistemology, so they understand the fundamental nature of reality and the limits of our knowledge of it. They must take courses on critically examining our values so they know what we should do. All philosophers must take a course on what it means to follow in Socrates’s footsteps. The philosophy major at Centenary prepares students for the challenges they will face trying to live examined lives guided by their values.

Contact Info

Christopher Ciocchetti

Chair of the Philosophy Department; Beaird Chair of Philosophy

201 Smith Building

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy The institution does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or on any other basis proscribed by federal, state, or local law.