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What is reality? What does it mean to be human? How should we live and relate to other beings and nature? What is knowledge, justice and love? Philosophy, from the Greek meaning ‘love of wisdom,’ deals with enduring and newly emerging questions about the world, personal identity, society, nature and technology.  Philosophy helps us to be critical and creative thinkers and to ask challenging questions, which is far more important than knowing the ‘right answers.’ It requires the study of philosophers from different times, from antiquity to the present; different cultures, from Asia and the West, indigenous peoples and modern scholars. Philosophy teaches us to be engaged and compassionate citizens with a global perspective, which will serve us well in our personal and professional lives.

Baker Memorial, lower level

Dr. Vera Jakoby, Chair
Baker Memorial Chapel, R 112
(410) 857-2478

Philosophy Online Catalog

Majors & Courses

Critical inquiry, intellectual courage and compassionate understanding are values fostered in a philosophical study. These key values enable us to link our past and present cultural paradigms with the future demands of a global society. The aim of the Philosophy Department at McDaniel College is to assist students in the cultivation of clear thought and speech, sophisticated inquiry and comprehension of intellectual concepts and creative and meaningful explorations of ourselves and the world around us.

Philosophical studies are generally divided into two groups: the historical and the issues oriented. Courses in the history of philosophy cover topics from early Greek thought to contemporary philosophy and are closely related to other fields of study such as the sciences, literature, political thought, the arts, language, and economics. Issues-oriented courses deal with the nature of knowledge and truth, the meaning of justice, and ethical values of our time such as war, sex, honesty in government and business, the determination of freedom, the relationship between mind and body, the most desirable society, and gender relations.

You’ll learn rigorous and critical thinking skills that are highly valued in such fields as law, medicine, business, literature, history, and religion, to mention a few.

Our Students

Philosophy Club

Upcoming Events

  • See the mailing list and/or facebook group for the upcoming schedule


  • TBA

Special Opportunities / Awards:

  • Phi Sigma Tau: the Philosophy honors society. Requires overall GPA in top 30% - usually about 3.2 and at least 4 Philosophy classes. Check out McDaniel PST on Facebook!
  • Departmental Honors: Requires overall GPA over 3.2, Philosophy GPA over 3.5 and 'A' or 'A-' on Sr. Thesis.
  • Holthaus Award: Given to the Philosophy student with promise for future work in Philosophy. Requires departmental honors and dedication to Philosophy, usually demonstrated by activity in the Philosophy club, membership in Phi Sigma Tau, etc. Previous winners include: Jennifer Timmons ('05), Rachel Decosse ('07), Andy Cohen ('08) Alex Lehmer ('09), Lin Sun Oo ('10).


Associate Professor & Department Chair Vera JakobyAssociate Professor & Department Chair Vera Jakoby

(Ph.D., Freie Universität Berlin, Germany), teaches courses in the  philosophy of culture and history of philosophy, including Environmental Philosophy, Philosophy and Film, Ancient Philosophy, Nietzsche, etc. Her research interests are rooted in the intersection between the philosophy of religion, culture studies and philosophy with a focus on the interpretations of paradise narrations in modern and contemporary Western cultures and the genealogy of the concept of nature.  Visit Dr. Vera Jakoby's faculty page.

Lecturer Joshua BaronLecturer Joshua Baron

(Ph.D.,Temple University), specializes in ethics and aesthetics, particularly the ethics and aesthetics of violence. Among other courses, Josh teaches Philosophy of Art, South Park and Contemporary Social Issues, Bioethics, and Philosophy of Violent Media.  Visit Dr. Baron's faculty page.

Assistant Professor Elizabeth McManaman GroszAssistant Professor Elizabeth McManaman Grosz

(Ph.D., University of Oregon) specializes in Asian philosophy, feminist philosophy, and 19th and 20th century Continental philosophy. She regularly teaches Buddhist philosophy, Philosophy of Love and Sex, Existentialism, and a survey of Asian philosophy. Her research interests span the fields of philosophy, religious studies, and psychology with a focus on cross-cultural models of selfhood, especially relational theories of the self. Visit Dr. Grosz’s faculty page.

Professor Thomas FalknerProfessor Thomas Falkner

(Ph.D., Classics, University at Buffalo) is an expert in Greek language, literature and culture. He regularly teaches a course that examines the trial and execution of Socrates, an event he describes as “one of the major paradoxes of the ancient world,” and leads study-travel during Jan Term to Greece where students are immersed in the history and culture of the ancient world.

He is a prolific scholar; in addition to four books and many articles, he recently published an entry on “Old Age and Young Age” in the new three-volume Encyclopedia of Greek Tragedy, edited by Hanna Roisman (Wiley-Blackwell 2013), and presented a paper titled “The Rhapsode’s Tale: The Multiple Narratives of O'Hare and Peterson's An Iliad” at the annual Comparative Drama Conference. Dr. Falkner is currently serving on the program committee for the 2014 meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States.


Resources for Students

Philosophy Alumni

Philosophy majors are successful in many professions. Here’s a partial listing of McDaniel alumni who majored in philosophy.

  • Raymond Asay (1960), Novelist, Screenplay writer
  • Stuart Brashear (1981) Explosives Engineer
  • Jason Brown (1991) Equities Trader
  • Gregory Cherundolo (1991) Special Agent, DEA
  • Philip Cioni (1992) Chief of Market Conduct, State of Maryland
  • William Cochran (1977) Artist
  • Walter Cushen (1948) Sr. Political-Military Gaming Expert, National Defense University
  • Robert Davison (1969) Special Education Teacher
  • Michael DeHoff (1979) Editor, Deloitte & Touche
  • Michael Doukas (1974) Attorney at Law
  • John Edinger (1982) Senior Public Defender, State of Delaware
  • Laurie Edinger (1982) 4th Grade Teacher Math Coordinator
  • Mark Franklin (1981) Northeast Asia Policy Advisor, United States Army
  • Rick Benitez (1980) Professor of Philosophy, University of Sydney, Australia
  • John Furyk (1991) Police Officer, Princeton Borough Police Department
  • Rudy Garns (1979) Associate Professor of Philosophy, Northern Kentucky University
  • Sharon Head (1988) Library Information Specialist 2, University of New Mexico
  • Beth Hewett (1979) Assistant Professor of English, Penn State University
  • Walter Hill (1968) Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Yale University, Department of Psychiatry
  • Daniel Honemann (1951) Partner, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston
  • Ronald Jones (1960) Copy Editor, Washington Times
  • Robert Kelley (1985) Systems Analyst, Hewlett-Packard
  • Matthew Klotz (2002) Senior Production Artist at Rosetta
  • William Kreller (1985) Bookstore Manager, Alvernia College
  • Michale Kunzer (1990) Captain, U.S. Army
  • Kelley Manos (1982) Instructor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine- Ophtham
  • John McAndrew (1988) IS Director, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
  • Richard Norris (1978) Manager, Information Systems, Lifecore biomedical.
  • Julia Pallozzi-Ruhm (1985) U.S. State Department: American Embassy in Algeria
  • JoAnn Peroutka (1981) Director, Marketing Communications, P.W. Feats, Inc.
  • Jennie Ruby (1978) President EDTECH Editorial Technologies, American Psychological Assoc.
  • Kathleen Schwartz (1973) Co-Founder and Director Childhood Programs, Joyful Sounds of Music
  • Robert Snyder (1981) Professor of Political Science, Southwestern University
  • Greg Street (1991) Game Designer, Microsoft
  • Rebecca Wildbear (1994) Wilderness Therapist, Aspen Achievement Academy
  • Meeghan Ziolowski (1992) Volunteer Coordinator / Educator, Survivor’s Project
  • Bonnie Filipczak (2002), after completing an MA in Philosophy and Public Policy at American University, joined the asset transfers department at T. Rowe Price
  • Nick Valentine (2002), after completing 2 years in the Peace Corps in Paraguay, Nick is studying at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
  • James Diller (2004), in Graduate school in Psychology at West Virginia University Behavior Analysis Program

A campus Philosophy Club gives students the opportunity outside the classroom to share their interests through films, lectures and other extra-curricular activities.

McDaniel’s chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, national honor society for Philosophy, promotes further exchange of ideas and research. Students are eligible for active membership after completing three semesters of college, rank in the upper 30% of their class, and have completed at least four semester courses in philosophy, with an overall GPA above 3.2.