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Philosophy

At Sweet Briar, we involve students directly in the process of exploring and developing philosophical ideas in the context of an intense encounter with the faculty, other students, and the writings of those philosophers widely acknowledged to be profound, provocative, or both. The student will study philosophy by being a philosopher — and, as such, will be engaged in a search for the definition, expansion, and deepening of her own world view.

Philosophical study at Sweet Briar takes the form of careful and close reading of great works in the western intellectual tradition. Emphasis is placed on the cultivation of a philosophical attitude and the development of the art of conceptual analysis and synthesis. We offer five courses in the history of philosophy, three in the history of political thought, and  courses on topics such as logic, science, ethics, literature and the arts.    

The department prides itself on offering intellectual discipline relevant to all areas of the curriculum and to many different career pathways. Recent majors have attended law school at Georgetown and Washington and Lee, pursued medicine at Temple University, and studied philosophy at the graduate level at University of Oregon, Syracuse University, and Boston College. Other recent graduates have pursued careers in business, education and non-profit organizations.