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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.
Prominent philosophers from around the world deliver about six lectures per academic year.
Members discuss philosophical themes in literature, movies and their daily lives.
The honors program is designed to provide exceptional majors the opportunity for independent research.

Philosophy News

Malcolm Miller '15 of the Toronto Raptors poses for a portrait during Media Day on Sept. 25, 2017, at the BioSteel Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Malcom Miller ’15 Makes NBA Debut

Apr 19, 2018

After playing last season in Germany, Malcolm Miller ’15 overcame an ankle injury, signed with the Toronto Raptors and has become the first Holy Cross basketball player in 37 years to make his NBA debut. Last fall, Miller was signed …

Micaela English '08

How Not Having It Figured Out Helped Me in the Long Run

Apr 17, 2018

Reader beware: This is not a traditional job story. There wasn’t one magical internship that paved the way for me. There was no shiny offer that I had entering my senior year. The lingering, complicated question of “What do you …


Nov 07
Philosophy Club Meeting (Event canceled)
06:00 PM
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 501
Nov 08
BACAP Lecture/Philosophy Colloquium Series
04:00 PM
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 201
Nov 08
BACAP Speaker - Philosophy Colloquium Event
04:00 PM
Carol and Park B. Smith Hall 501