The Philosophy curriculum at Earlham is distinctive in its depth of coverage of the history of philosophy. The department's emphasis on the living tradition and its continuity with contemporary movements shows that ancient philosophy is not obsolete and contemporary philosophy is not rootless. As students learn to be conversant with the ideas of the major figures of the Western tradition, they learn the vocabulary, methods, questions and standards of the discipline. At the conclusion of the four-course history sequence, Philosophy majors spend most of their time in advanced courses and seminars examining a particular problem or the thought of a particular philosopher.
Earlham Philosophy majors successfully pursue a wide variety of occupations and post-graduate studies. Every year, some go to graduate school in philosophy. According to HEDS data, Earlham is ranked 29th (in the 98th percentile) among 1,533 institutions of higher learning in the U.S. in the percentage of graduates who go on to receive Ph.D.s in the humanities. Many Earlham philosophy graduates go to law school or into seminary training, and many others go into secondary school teaching.
Why Study Philosophy?
Because it asks fundamental questions. Because it explores how to live a good life. Because it takes seriously the questions that arise in life and tries to answer them. Because it exposes and questions assumptions. Because it helps you find your own answers and your own standards for answers. Because it calls on both your creativity and your rigor. Because it uses all your interests and everything you know, from art and literature, history and social science, to mathematics and natural science. Because it makes you articulate in speaking and writing, clear in thinking and reasoning, and able to draw connections among ideas of all kinds. Because you have decisions to make, evidence to weigh, opinions to assess, mysteries to contemplate, a world to understand, a life to live.