Philosophy: Major, Minor

Philosophy, a word that means "love of wisdom," is the most general form of inquiry, investigating all other fields and subject matters, as well as fundamental questions unasked by any other discipline. 

Studying philosophy at Holy Cross offers exceptional preparation for citizens of a globally interconnected world. At its core, philosophy is the ability to think reflectively and critically about questions that are at the very foundation of human existence and human practices. In trying to find answers, students learn to approach problems imaginatively, to explore what might appear to be self-evident, to write clearly and precisely, and to appreciate the ethical implications of decisions and actions.

The nature of reality. The foundations of science, ethics and art. The scope of human knowledge. Philosophy students develop highly valued and transferable skills. It is an excellent stand-alone major, and an ideal second major or minor for students interested in examining the foundations of another discipline. Holy Cross philosophy students have done well in many fields; in academia, media, communications, business, teaching; and philosophy is also known to be rigorous preparation for law school.

Program Highlights

Known for one of the largest undergraduate philosophy departments among liberal arts colleges, philosophy at Holy Cross is also uniquely pluralistic. Instead of the sometimes typical but narrow undergraduate focus on one tradition, the Holy Cross department represents all major traditions within Western philosophy as well as some Eastern traditions. Faculty also have genuine interdisciplinary interests, including scholarship in the natural and social sciences, the humanities and the arts.

  • Courses span the entire tradition, from the pre-Socratics to the philosophers of our time.
  • The departmental honors program is designed to provide outstanding majors the opportunity to devote their senior year to independent research, culminating in a thesis and oral presentation.
  • Departmental colloquia series, with campus lectures by and conversations with renowned philosophers from around the country and around the world.
  • Opportunities for all students to participate in the Philosophy Club’s lively exchanges and informal activities, including book discussions and movies.
  • The department is a member of Phi Sigma Tau, the National Honor Society in Philosophy.
Philosophy Colloquia

Prominent philosophers from around the world deliver about six lectures per academic year.

Philosophy Club

Members discuss philosophical themes in literature, movies and their daily lives.

Department Honors Program

The honors program is designed to provide exceptional majors the opportunity for independent research.

Philosophy News

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Why mentoring is key in the fashion industry.
(Left to right) Paige Reynolds, Susan Schmidt, and Kendy Hess
Three Holy Cross Professors Honored for Scholarship and Advising
The professors of English, philosophy and visual arts received awards at the Provost's address this spring
From left to right: Xinmeng (Brenda) Duan '22, Claudia Davila '20, Zicong (Chris) Li '21 and Jinze Mi '23.
Students Share What It Was Like Living Through the Pandemic at an Empty Holy Cross
Nearly all Holy Cross alumni have experienced life on a bustling campus, from noisy, packed dining spaces to hilly paths teeming with foot traffic. But when the pandemic forced students to return to their homes last March, a small group …