Philosophy at Hampden-Sydney will open your mind to some of the greatest ideas in history.

Philosophy involves careful, critical reflection on topics and questions that relate to contemporary individual, social, moral, scientific, religious, and political issues. Examining these questions encourages us to reflect on our presuppositions about the world and how we ought to act as rational individuals. Studying philosophy helps sharpen our thoughts and evaluate our deepest beliefs.  Doing philosophy develops analytical skills that are valuable in and of themselves and directly improves our ability to excel in other fields. 

How do people know what they claim to know?
What beliefs about the world, about our own nature, about God, about human destiny are we justified in holding?Does all knowledge come from science, or from the senses, or can we obtain truths in other ways? What is truth anyway? If we can have knowledge, what are its boundaries? Can we tell whether we are free beings morally responsible for our actions, or are we just programmed by our genes? How do we properly decide what is right or wrong, good or bad? What about art? Are there really great artistic achievements, or are these standards all arbitrary and subjective? Perhaps more importantly, how do all of these questions affect our daily lives? For example, if our free will is in doubt, should we be held responsible for our own actions?  

Degree Offering

It seems to me that philosophers have acquired skills which are very valuable to a member of Congress. The ability to analyze a problem carefully and consider it from many points of view is one. Another is the ability to communicate ideas clearly in a logically compelling form. A third is the ability to handle the many different kinds of problems which occupy the congressional agenda at any time.

Lee H. Hamilton, 9th District, Indiana

Philosophy Events

Undergraduate Virginia Philosophical Association (UVPA) Meetings: 
(contact Professor Wilson for details)

February 1, Randolph College
March 22, Hampden-Sydney College 

Capstone Speakers:
(contact Professor Wilson for details)

April 17
Bas van der Vossen, UNC Greensboro
"When Property Is Oppressive: A New Twist on Locke's View" 
Chairman's Room

April 18
James Otteson, Wake Forest University
"Adam Smith on Justice and Social Justice" 
Chairman's Room

Why Philosophy?

Philosophers are critical thinkers. If you want to think and reason well about anything, then taking at least some philosophy is a good idea. In philosophy, we do not train people to be lawyers, doctors, or businessmen -- we train them to be better lawyers, better doctors, better businessmen, and better practitioners in general. The vast majority of philosophy majors do not go on to academic careers -- although the preparation you receive here will certainly help you if you decide to do so. 

Why Philosophy?

Philosophy Capstone Fund

Give to the Philosophy Capstone Fund (PCF) to support the quality education of our majors! No amount is too small, and small gifts over time can build great futures! Details may be obtained from any member of the department or Institutional Advancement.

Give to the Philosophy Capstone Fund

Alex Abbott '17

Alex Abbott '17 recently won the Best Paper award at the 3rd annual National Undergraduate Philosophy Conference at West Virginia University, but he might argue that he cannot touch it, nor even see it.

Alex Abbott '17

Philosophy Department


Dr. Marc A. Hight, Chair 
Elliott Professor of Philosophy
Morton Hall, 034
Hampden-Sydney College | Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
(434) 223-6388
mhight@hsc.edu

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