Philosophy

The Greek word philosophia(“philosophy”) derives from the roots philein(“to love”) and Sophia(“wisdom”) and is commonly translated “love of wisdom.” For Socrates, and those who followed his example, the love of wisdom took the form of a disciplined reflection about human life and conduct. Convinced that intellectual and moral integrity go hand in hand, Socrates raised fundamental questions about the nature of justice, virtue, and the good life. Proceeding by careful analysis and rigorous dialectic, he sought a knowledge of reality on which to establish a firm foundation for making sound moral judgment. Though philosophical practice has taken many different forms over the centuries, the conception of philosophy as a process of critical inquiry aimed at a deeper understanding of self and world remains the dominant one. The study of philosophy promotes the development of analytical, critical, and interpretive abilities that are important for life in general. Properly pursued, philosophical study cultivates the appetite and capacity for self-examination and reflection, for the open exchange and debate of ideas, for responsible and intelligent participation in community affairs, and for lifelong learning.


About The Program

The study of philosophy promotes the development of analytical, critical and interpretive abilities that are important for life in general. The program in philosophy at Virginia Wesleyan is designed to provide students with a coherent intellectual structure of study, while acquainting them with the broad diversity of ideas and approaches within the Western philosophical tradition and beyond.

Major: Philosophy (BA)
Minor: Philosophy

Department Chair: Dr. Patrick Goold
College: Susan S. Goode School of Arts And Humanities


As the culmination of the major, each philosophy major completes a senior capstone project based on an in-depth study of the work of a single major philosopher. This extensive independent research project allows each of our students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills needed to succeed after college. Students may elect to complement the classroom experience with an internship opportunity. Internships provide students a "competitive edge" in the job market or when applying for admission in postgraduate degree programs.

As the culmination of the major, each philosophy major completes a senior capstone project based on an in-depth study of the work of a single major philosopher. This extensive independent research project allows each of our students to demonstrate their mastery of the skills needed to succeed after college. Students may elect to complement the classroom experience with an internship opportunity. Internships provide students a “competitive edge” in the job market or when applying for admission in postgraduate degree programs.

Though the department recognizes that the philosophy major is a valuable preparation for careers in many fields, its approach to teaching reflects a basic commitment to the idea that philosophy is best thought of as a practice and way of life. Students earning a degree in philosophy will encompass skills that employers seek in an array of fields such as law, medicine, business, social work and religion. The study of philosophy also provides graduates with an understanding of the role and responsibility of the individual to use moral reasoning as a tool for conflict resolution and consensus building in an increasingly interconnected world.