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Philosophy Department

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The term “philosophy” means “love of wisdom” in Ancient Greek. The Ancients understood wisdom as a good in itself and a path toward living well. Philosophy has the same goals as it did then, and it has evolved with the growth of knowledge and the complexities of the 21st century, including the recognition that political structures and social power affect what is accepted as knowledge in a given community.

Philosophical inquiry lies at the core of a liberal arts education. It contributes clarity and depth to intellectual endeavors, practical decision-making and moral and social questioning. And it sharpens skills that are essential to graduate study and highly valued in the work place, including the abilities to identify and evaluate assumptions, make sound arguments, analyze information, understand and respect different perspectives, and communicate clearly. By cultivating these skills and the insights they facilitate, the Philosophy major prepares students for any profession or activity they choose to pursue while providing tools for living a productive and meaningful life.

At Guilford, Philosophy majors pursue questions about ethics, the self, social identities and norms, justice, knowledge, technology, the environment, and the mind, while continually articulating new questions in response to a changing world. People with Philosophy degrees make important contributions in medicine, information technology, social work, law, public policy, education, and the arts, among other professions and career paths.

Whether you are going into business, dabbling in the arts or devising communications technology for the 21st century, there is a philosophical bend in how you will be prepared to leave Guilford ready for any challenge.


College Catalog

For more information about courses for the Philosophy Department, visit the online, searchable College Catalog. The Undergraduate Catalog also includes academic department and major information, academic regulations and resources, admission standards and requirements, and tuition, fees, and financial aid information.

Majors and Minors

  • To earn a bachelor of arts in Philosophy, students take at least eight Philosophy courses, including ethics, logic, history of philosophy and a senior seminar. With their adviser, they choose four electives, selected according to individual interests and goals. Some Philosophy majors choose to write a senior thesis, which provides them the opportunity to work closely with their major adviser in developing a major research project. All students are encouraged to apply for an internship to get hands-on experience in an area of scholarly or personal interest, and to consider studying abroad.
  • To earn a minor in Philosophy, students take four courses, including one history of Philosophy course and at least one Philosophy course at the 300 or 400 level.

Philosophy Department News and Events

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The Parenting Dilemma

The Parenting Dilemma

New 12-week course — “Psychology and Philosophy of Parenthood” — prepares students from a variety of majors to make informed familial decisions in their professional and personal lives.

Principled Problem Solvers

Principled Problem Solvers

Students learn what it means to be an ethical leader and how to act on their value systems in day-to-day life in new Principled Problem Solving course with Professor of Philosophy Vance Ricks.

Getting Down to Business

Getting Down to Business

Philosophy major Andrew Munster ’20 reflects on his time at Guilford as he prepares for the joint JD/MBA program at Cleveland State in Ohio.

Contact Us

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Ryan Artrip

Ryan Artrip

Visiting Assistant Professor Philosophy Department

Nancy Daukas

Nancy Daukas

Professor of Philosophy

Lisa McLeod

Lisa McLeod

Professor of Philosophy

Vance Ricks

Vance Ricks

Associate Academic Dean (Interim)