A teacher in a classroom of students


Meredith Wall

Challenging Theories

“Ideas truly become stunning and able to be engaged with when they are taught by professors like those we are blessed to have in our department. Close relationships develop between the students and professors, as well as among the students in the major. The dynamic in upper level classes challenge everyone in the room to articulate challenging theories, read the texts closely and defend their positions. I’m a better student because of my professors, as well as my fellow students.”

Meredith Wall ’19, Philosophy and Religion Major

Why Philosophy at Coe?

Philosophy is the rational, critical inquiry into fundamental questions of human existence. It involves examining the nature of knowledge, reality, human existence, ethics and social and political structures. 

For just about any area of human inquiry, such as mathematics, science, religion, law and art, there is a branch of philosophy devoted to the critical study of the fundamental assumptions of that area of inquiry.  For instance, in the philosophy of religion, the philosopher asks what religion is and what is the nature of religious experience. In the philosophy of science, the philosopher might ask what is the nature of science and how does it differ from other areas of intellectual inquiry.

The range of issues considered in philosophy is vast. Among the many questions considered by philosophers are: Is there a God? What is the nature and extent of human knowledge? What is the nature of human freedom and do human beings possess freedom of the will? What is the nature of justice, and what sorts of social and economic structures best serve the ideals of justice?

You might be interested in studying philosophy because you find such questions and the critical examination of their answers to be intrinsically interesting. But, the study of philosophy develops skills and habits of mind that also are of great practical value.

In philosophy, great emphasis is placed on the understanding of theories and their implications and on the critical examination of the arguments for and against competing theories. You will be expected to read and write about different theories and develop positions of your own. You will become a clear thinker and skilled arguer who understands the different views of others but is able to explain and defend your own views — you will exhibit these skills in class discussions and in your writing. Well-developed reading, writing and speaking skills are valued commodities in our society. As such, philosophy helps prepare you for success in life after college.

The philosophy program at Coe offers both a major and a minor. Members of the philosophy faculty all hold the highest degrees in their fields. They are active scholars and committed, caring teachers.


Sarafina Feldman

Become a Critical Thinker

Sarafina Feldman ’17

“The Philosophy Department at Coe has given me more than I could ever ask for. From the first class to the last, and even as an alumni, the department has allowed me to grow in many ways. Philosophy gave me skills that are advantageous in nearly any setting.”

Sarafina, a philosophy and sociology major, works as a youth advocate and second-grade teacher in Denver, Colorado. She credits her philosophy background with developing her critical thinking skills and preparing her to influence policies affecting Denver and Colorado children. “I was able to succeed in this position and receive the equity award from Denver Public Schools because of the critical thinking skills the Philosophy Department instills in their students.”