Philosophy has been called the queen of sciences because it deals with basic questions concerning our world and ourselves, the underlying ideas upon which the more specialized disciplines are based. Philosophy helps you ask the right questions - which is far more important than knowing the ‘right’ answers. The Department offers classes in Continental, Anglo-American, and Asian philosophy and a number of courses in Asian civilization, which allow students to explore various ways of living, thinking, expression, and self-development. Students may plan their programs for general liberal education, for graduate study, or for special objectives in related fields.
Baker Memorial, lower level
Dr. Vera Jakoby
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.
Other Educational Options in Philosophy:
Dual major in Philosophy and Religious Studies, and special programs combining Philosophy and other disciplines.
Resources for Students
- Leiter Report (rankings of graduate programs in Philosophy)
- EpistemeLinks.com (clearinghouse for Philosophy on the Internet)
- Inquiry Site (web based Critical Thinking textbook)
- PhilosophyForums (discussion boards on many Philosophic topics)
- Berkeley's OnlineMedia archive (lectures by various Philosophers in Podcast format)
- Hinman's Ethics Archive (huge archive of ethics materials collected by Larry Hinman, SanDeigo)
- See the mailing list and/or facebook group for the upcoming schedule
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).
Professor Greg Alles
(Ph.D., University of Chicago), is a lead researcher and scholar on the religion and culture of a group of adivasi or indigenous people in western India who collaborates with students on research on religious communities in and near Westminster and has teaching interests in religions of Asia, especially South Asia (India and Sri Lanka), theories of religion and the study of religions in colleges and universities worldwide. Visit Dr. Greg Alles' faculty page.
Associate Professor & Acting Chair Vera Jakoby
(Ph.D., Freie Universitaet 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 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.
The Philosophy faculty provide opportunities for students to expand their education through collaborative research and independent studies. Recent examples follow:
Aaron Liebensfeld “Of the Extended Mind: Validity and Potential”
Darcy Elburn “A Pound of Flesh: The Rising Moral Cost of Meat in America”
Michael Pugliese “Philosophy of Evolutionary Biology: Understanding A Modern View Evolutionary Theory, Genetics, and Progressive Evolution”
Derrick Wolfson “Queer Theory”
Kevin Raminhos “The Irreducible Mind”
James Henthorn “A Close Encounter with Moral Virtues”
Andy Heimann “Money and Power: Social and Political Equality in the United States”
Leanna Webb “Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics & Metaphysics”
Matt Berube “Being Exceptional (and American): Premises, Values, Consequences.”
Erik Brennan “Mystic Self: A Psychological Philosophy for a Psycho-Mystical Approach to Mental Wellness.”
Melanie Darling “The American Music Industry: Accessibility, Availability and Prejudice.”
Marisa Hrbal “Food Justice and the Role of Compassion.”
Zacharchy Norfolk “The Internet Masquerade: Protecting the Right to Online Anonymity”
Eric Tunder “Why Judgment Cannot be Used as Objective Knowledge”
Leanna Webb “Aristotelian Friendship and Friendship in the Digital Age: Correlations and Comparisons of Solitude, Togetherness, Reciprocity, Character and Friend-like Attributes”
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) Assistant to the VP, Realize Records
• 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.