From the long history of global philosophy to contemporary issues like biomedical ethics or truth in an age of fake news, philosophy majors and minors consider fundamental questions about what it means to be human. Inquiry lies at the heart of the study of philosophy, a discipline that seeks to understand our world by asking questions, challenging certainty, and encouraging critical, independent thought. Philosophy majors use these important skills to pursue a variety of careers in law, advertising, finance, non-profits, education, retail sales and information analysis.
In a field about asking life’s questions, philosophy majors often cite their opportunity to conduct original research as a seminal intellectual exercise. Their capstone and summer research projects delve into philosophical issues under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Examples of these topics include:
- Désirée Anderson ’13, “If Passion Drives You, Should Reason Hold the Reins?”
- Robert C. Thomas ’11, “A Roadmap for Ethics in the Commercial Space Age”
- Shuyan Zhan, “The Case for a New Translation of the Analects of Confucius,” (won the Simpson-Cottrell Research Award)
- Hannah Gutzwiller, “This Is Not Art: Capitalism and Creation In Conflict”
- Jacob Baker, “Existence is coexistence: Redefining the Relationship Between Humanity and the Rest of Nature”
Advising and mentorship
The small classes at Randolph-Macon are just the right size for discussion that stimulates, challenges, and pushes students beyond their comfort zone. Outside the classroom too, Randolph-Macon’s philosophy faculty help guide philosophy majors through their academic journey, research and scholarship, and, ultimately, their next steps after graduation from RMC.
31of the 200 treatises written by Aristotle are still in circulation today
103%the salary growth average for philosophy majors after 10 years in the workforce
1150the year the first Ph.D, or Doctor of Philosophy degree was awarded
Study human freedom and how the causality of human will is understood in light of the laws of nature. Learn through inquiry and discussion by posing questions including, “If humans are a part of the natural world, governed by the laws of biology, physics and chemistry, can we be free?”
Truth and Meaning
What determines meaning? How is it related to truth? Examine questions in the philosophy of language including the relationship of language to the world, truth, intentionality, translation, speech acts, and body language.
Philosophy of Education
Read and discuss classic works in the philosophy of education by authors such as Plato, Rousseau and Confucius, and contemporary writings by philosophers and educators. Reflect on your own experiences in education. Develop and argue for your view of the kind of education that is best to build a healthy, flourishing society.
Franklin Debating Society
One of the College’s oldest student groups, it’s also one of the winningest!
Baxter Carter ’18
Chief of Staff for Senator Monty Mason
“Coming into college I had a vague idea that I wanted to get involved in government, but Randolph-Macon helped make that a reality. Through alumni connections I was able to get involved with state level government internships which put me on the path to where I am today.”
elayna chin ’13
Foreign Service Consular Fellow Professional
U.S. Department of State
desiree simon ’13
Director of Ethics & Compliance
Kenny Daniel ’20
Colonial Beach Baptist Church
Austin Hardee ’22
Master’s Candidate, Philosophy
George Mason University
Maintaining Trust in Unprecedented Times
J-term course probes the ties that bind us by Hannah Gutzwiller ’22 Students in Professor of Philosophy Benjamin Huff’s Trust and…
World Traveler Elanya Chin ’13 Visits 30 Countries in Five Years
“You never know when or how you’ll find your life’s passion, or your new best friend, but it can only…