Philosophy wonders about the world, and wonders that one even exists — and why. Philosophy poses questions of existence, meaning and value: What can we know? What is real? What is the good life? These questions have found expression in an ever-expanding set of philosophical texts. The philosophical investigation of such issues is always undertaken in dialogue with other philosophers, past and present.
The study of philosophy, and the love of wisdom it engenders, form an excellent foundation for further study and for careers in many fields. More importantly, the study of philosophy helps us to develop what Socrates called "the examined life," which for him was the only life worth living. Philosophical studies lead us to examine ourselves and to clarify our own basic commitments and values. Why study philosophy? Because it deepens and enriches our lives.
Why Philosophy at Stetson University?
Stetson's Philosophy department deepens and enriches the lives of our students through mentored research by way of one-on-one conversations.
The Philosophy departmental seminar provides a forum for faculty members and students to interact in a thoughtful way. Each year, the entire philosophy faculty joins students for an upper-level course. One faculty member chooses the topic and leads the class, but all participate, allowing students to experience and engage in philosophical dialogue in a collaborative environment.
The Philosophy Club is a monthly meeting of the minds involving faculty, philosophy majors and minors, and students interested in pursuing advanced studies in philosophy. A student convener sets the agenda and distributes texts for discussion. Philosophy Club meetings allow students and professors to continue their philosophical dialogue outside of class in a congenial atmosphere.
"I’ve taken away the importance of thinking about thinking. In one way or another, philosophy is about examining how and why we think about our world and the things in it.."
Noah McGahagin '22
"I am a legal assistant for a small law firm in Winter Park, and I would say it realized my plans as I knew I wanted to study philosophy to gain reading skills and interpretation skills to enable me to have a successful future in law school."
Miracle Duff ’21
A bachelor's degree in Philosophy or Religious Studies opens doors in multiple career fields, including post-secondary and secondary school teaching, law, education administration and software development, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median annual wage is $55,000, but can be more for graduates who go on to obtain a law or doctorate degree.
A degree in philosophy is one of the top academic paths for students considering graduate school, especially students considering law school. Philosophy's emphasis on logic is considered a critical stepping-stone to some legal careers.
Stetson Philosophy majors have found work in law, education, the tech industry and medicine. Many of our majors go on to law school and many have pursued graduate work in philosophy and law at distinguished universities, including Oxford University, Cornell Law, London School of Economics and Political Science, Columbia University, University of Sussex, Georgetown University, Stetson College of Law and many more.
Our distinguished and dedicated faculty put their students' success as their number-one priority.
- Melinda Hall, PhD, Vanderbilt University
- Susan Peppers-Bates, PhD, University of Pennsylvania
- Joshua Rust, PhD, University of California at Riverside
Students in the Philosophy program study such courses as Introduction to Philosophy, Introduction to Logic, History of Ancient Philosophy, History of Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Language and more.
Stetson's core values are the focus of several courses, including Social and Political Philosophy (social justice), Existentialism (ethical or spiritual inquiry), Feminist Philosophy (social justice), Philosophy of Race (social justice) and Philosophy of Religion (ethical or spiritual inquiry).
The Philosophy program also has developed a distinctive research track that culminates in grant-funded presentations at conferences. The Senior Project is the capstone course in the philosophy curriculum and is designed for students seeking the bachelor of arts degree with a major in Philosophy. This project takes the form of a senior thesis and is usually undertaken in the Fall of their senior year.
This project includes a one-on-one, faculty-supervised process of planning, research, writing and oral defense of the thesis, and provides philosophy majors with an opportunity to integrate and focus their philosophical interests and skills on a subject of their own choosing.
Students are required to take Research in Philosophy during the Spring of their junior year in order to prepare them for their Senior Project. After defending their Senior Project, students are encouraged to present their findings at undergraduate conferences. Substantial funding has been set aside by the Philosophy department to support these presentations.
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