The goal of the Philosophy Department is to work with students to develop the skills of critical analysis, powerful speaking, and clear writing, skills alumni find of singular practical use in a wide variety of careers, and indispensable to their work as responsible citizens. We emphasize the value of philosophical examination for understanding broad issues that concern us all.
The Truax Lecture Series in Philosophy brings to campus nationally distinguished philosophers to lecture and visit classes. Recently, Richard Rorty, perhaps the most important and iconoclastic American philosopher of the era, met with senior seminar students and faculty members. His public lecture was on “Moral Absolutism and the Torture of Terrorist Suspects.” Other noted Truax visitors have included Simon Blackburn and Ronald Dworkin.
One of the department’s richest resources is the community of philosophy scholars, both students and professors, nurtured by Hamilton. The Department of Philosophy, affectionately known as “Philoworld,” is housed in its own building at 210 College Hill Road. Intellectual life there revolves around the department’s seminar room, where students gather for courses — limited to enrollments of 12 — as well as informal study and discussion.