Program Overview

Philosophy is the enterprise of thinking as deeply and rigorously as possible about the largest, most important and enduring questions human beings can conceive: What is the nature of reality? How is knowledge of the world possible? Does God exist? What is the meaning of life? How ought we to live?

As a philosophy major at Agnes Scott, you will learn how to think with exceptional depth and analytical rigor. You will learn how to read challenging texts and analyze their core arguments, in the process becoming more confident and skilled in formulating and supporting your own positions—critical capacities in today’s world.

In many of our introductory courses, you will experience a mix of lecture, discussion and group-work as well as debate. In our smaller intermediate and advanced courses, you will engage in close readings of texts, intense discussions of enduring questions in contemporary philosophy and critical analyses of influential and important arguments by famous philosophers such as Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant and Nietzsche. In applied ethics classes, you will have the chance to talk about highly controversial issues in a setting that insists on both mutual respect and independent, critical thought.

A student listening in class.

What You'll Learn

Develop and hone techniques of critical analysis and creative argument construction. By fulfilling the requirements of this major, you'll gain a thorough grounding in the key areas of the discipline. You'll learn:

  • The main positions, arguments, principles, and theories of major figures in the history of philosophy
  • How to distinguish valid from invalid arguments, strong from weak arguments, sound from unsound arguments
  • An understanding of how philosophy illuminates and provides tools for addressing the major social and moral problems of our time

Program Highlights

Collaborative Learning and Campus Involvement

Classes in the philosophy department are a dialectical exchange between faculty and students and among students themselves about some of the most important text and problems in the philosophical tradition. Many philosophy students are also active in Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy honor society.

Global Opportunities

You can take advantage of several study abroad opportunities ranging from Agnes Scott’s Global Awareness program, the College Year in Athens, the International Human Rights Exchange at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the Oxford University program for a traditional study abroad experience benefiting from the student-driven tutorial system.

Research Opportunities

Agnes Scott emphasizes student-faculty research and independent research opportunities. You'll have opportunities to submit your work to the Society for Student Philosophers, and possibly present at meetings of the American Philosophical Association. The research you'll do in upper level classes may also culminate into papers suitable for applications to Ph.D. programs in philosophy.

Meet the Faculty

Lara Denis

Lara Denis

Professor of Philosophy

Elizabeth Hackett

Elizabeth Hackett

Associate Professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Philosophy

Hal Thorsud

Harald "Hal" Thorsrud

Professor/Chair of Philosophy

Working in Philosophy

Because of their logic and critical reasoning skills, philosophy majors are often sought by businesses and organizations.

Students graduating with a philosophy major acquire highly marketable and transferable skills. They can think clearly and critically about a wide range of issues, effectively using logic and evidence to argue for positions of their own and to analyze the arguments of others. They can clarify complex problems, interpret difficult texts and grapple with fundamental questions.

  • Research Analyst
  • Grant Writer
  • Coordinator
  • Law School
  • Med School
  • Grad School

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