“Is there not one true coin for which all things ought to exchange?—and that is wisdom; and only in exchange for this, and in company with this, is anything truly bought or sold, whether courage or temperance or justice. And is not all true virtue the companion of wisdom, no matter what fears or pleasures or other similar goods or evils may not attend her?” — Plato, Phaedo 69a7-69b5
Socrates, the father of Western philosophy, instructs us to pursue wisdom and goodness in order to achieve true human fulfillment.
Expertise in philosophy, together with theology, is the highest goal of a liberal arts education. Philosophy humanizes its students because it liberates reason, our noblest and most human element, from the pull of emotions that make us susceptible to prejudice and propaganda. Philosophy challenges students to identify the assumptions that ground their opinions about the world and follow them to their logical conclusions; to understand the relationships between the various disciplines; to delve into the most fundamental truths about the world, God, and themselves. Studying philosophy makes possible the articulation of a coherent worldview insofar as natural reason can attain it.
The various branches of philosophy include the philosophy of nature, the philosophy of human nature, ethics, political philosophy, metaphysics, and epistemology, among others. Thus, students of philosophy confront questions such as: Who am I? How should I live? Does God exist? What is real? How do we know what we know?
At Holy Cross College, philosophy courses take both systematic and historical approaches to these questions, exploring these fundamental issues from the perspectives of the greatest philosophers, ranging from the Ancient Greek through the Contemporary periods. They give priority to the perennial philosophical tradition rooted in the work of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas.
Students who major in philosophy will find themselves well-prepared to think deeply, read closely, and write precisely. For this reason, Big Tech companies have been especially keen to hire philosophy majors in recent years, and earnings over time for philosophy bachelor’s degree holders are the highest among majors in any humanities field. Historically, philosophy majors rank among the top scorers for entrance exams into law school, medical school, and other graduate schools.
Many students may wish to double-major in philosophy and another field, such as politics, biology, business, or theology. Philosophy majors are well-equipped not only for challenging graduate studies but also for thought leadership in any career.