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    Hope College
    Jun 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Catalog 
2023-2024 Catalog


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About The Program

“Philosophy” is a word that means “love of wisdom.” That might sound broad, and that’s because it is. Every academic discipline was once a part of philosophy, which is why professors in most other disciplines have a “Ph.D.”, an abbreviation for “doctor of philosophy.” Why is philosophy so broad? Because it asks the most fundamental questions behind everything we know. Like Socrates, perhaps the quintessential philosopher, philosophers ask questions like “what is love?”, “what is justice?”, and “what is a person?” Often you’ve already answered those questions by the time you enter a laboratory or a courtroom, but that doesn’t mean you’re right. Because of this, philosophy is often countercultural, because it asks us to think through and rethink our assumptions so that we can live more reflective and meaningful lives.

Why study philosophy? Here are three reasons: first, the study of philosophy gives you valuable transferable skills, like critical thinking, that employers expect and generally don’t get. How do we know? Because philosophy-bound students consistently outperform other majors on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), and non-STEM fields in every other major standardized test, like the GMAT, LSAT, and even MCAT. Second, if you’ve ever felt like a speck of dust in our vast universe, we can relate. Philosophers ask the ultimate questions, questions that never get old and never get boring. Third, every religion, and certainly Christianity, is grounded in a response to these big philosophical questions. If you want to grow in faith, or you just want to know what all the fuss is about, many philosophers through the ages have sought to understand their faith through philosophy.

Hope’s Philosophy Department offers courses in applied ethics, philosophy of law, political philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, as well as courses that cover major philosophical movements (such as existentialism and postmodernism), cultures (such as those of India, Tibet, China, and Japan), and time periods (such as ancient, medieval, and modern).


Students can pursue their goals through a concentration in philosophy or through any number of combinations of courses short of a major. Others will want to make the history of philosophical thought and its special fields of inquiry the core around which their overall education is built and will become majors. Still others will want to combine a philosophy major with a major in some other field. Recent fields combined with philosophy in joint majors include:

  • Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, English, History, Mathematics, Political Science, Psychology, Religion, Social Work.

Hope College philosophy majors can be found:

  • Doing graduate work in philosophy at major universities
  • Practicing pediatric medicine in Grand Rapids
  • Practicing law at Southeastern Michigan Poverty Law Center
  • Pursuing careers in medicine, law, business and human services
  • Teaching philosophy in colleges
  • Being a hospital chaplain in Yuma, Arizona
  • Teaching in high schools
  • Serving as president of a theological seminary
  • Engaging in computer science research
  • Pastoring churches of various denominations
  • Serving as an executive of a major denomination




      Philosophy: FundamentalPhilosophy: Knowledge/RealityPhilosophy: Values/Human ConditionPhilosophy: HistoryPhilosophy: Special Studies

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