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

Contact the Philosophy Club or members of the Philosophy department for updates about events.

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 College Advancement.

*Please be sure to SPECIFY “Philosophy Capstone Fund” when you make your transaction. You can do this by selecting the link below, scrolling down to "Designations," selecting"View all Giving Opportunities," and then scrolling down the list to find “Philosophy Capstone Fund.” 

Thank you!

Give to the Philosophy Capstone Fund

Brian McVey '90

Reverend Brian McVey '90, an Episcopal priest by way-of financial broker, has become a leading advocate in the fight to abolish human trafficking, working alongside his parishioners and other activists to rescue victims, support survivors, educate the public, and lobby all levels of governmental and ecclesiastical power.

Brian McVey '90

Philosophy Department

Dr. Patrick A. Wilson, Chair 
Professor of Philosophy
Morton Hall, 023
Hampden-Sydney College | Hampden Sydney, VA 23943
(434) 223-6310

Philosophy Department Professors
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