The philosophical questions that students encounter in the writings of the world’s most valued thinkers constitute the core of the human drive to understand ourselves and our place in the cosmos.

In the Philosophy program, you can contemplate what reality is “really” like, the nature of knowledge; and the thoughts of history’s greatest thinkers, such as Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Descartes, Kant, and Nietzsche. You can also focus your studies on one or more religious traditions, including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.

The department also offers a minor in Philosophy.

Benefits of the Philosophy Program

  • Develop your own perspectives on the nature of reality, knowledge, and value
  • Prepare yourself for further studies and careers in law, medicine, business, communication, and the arts
  • Build skills to think and write more clearly and critically. The study of Philosophy support the development of effective reasoning skills and provides an excellent background for many professional careers

Philosophy Outside the Classroom

The Philosophy program supports a variety of opportunities for students.

  • The Philosophy Department awards the annual Plato Prize for the best student essay in philosophy during the academic year. Winning projects include:
    • Jeremy Anastasi’s “Stoicism: Helping Veterans Cope” arguing that the ancient Stoic philosophical way of life powerfully addresses key issues faced by veterans in our own day
    • Steven Jurkiewicz's "Cosmology, An Ever-Present, Expanding Universe" argued against a universe from nothing
  • The student-run Philosophy Club ponders the profound at weekly meetings.
  • The program sponsors a collection of Philosophy Talks. Recent examples include:
    • Philosopher Robert Johnson presented "It's Good That We Die."
    • Ecophilosopher David Abram presented “Between the Body & the Breathing Earth: On Language & the Ecology of Sensory Experience.”

3+2 program with Vermont Law School

Highly-focused Philosophy majors can also take advantage of our 3+2 program with Vermont Law School, which allows you to earn a Bachelor’s degree in just three years at Castleton and a Juris Doctor (JD) degree in just two years at VLS.