Studying philosophy at Hampshire allows students to complete substantial groundwork within the history of Western philosophy, while at the same time engaging in dialogue with other traditions and perspectives.

Through Hampshire's classes, students become versed in the work of philosophers representing a wide range of cultural and historical backgrounds, and develop abilities to analyze, articulate, construct, and criticize philosophical arguments.

Philosophy courses are also utilized to strengthen an understanding of the law, gender studies, religion, psychology, social justice, and history or to supplement a focus in studio arts or film.

Student Project Titles

  • Teletravel: Adapting a Philosophical Thought Experiment into an Artistic Graphic Novel
  • Mathematics and the Event in the Ontology of Alain Badiou
  • A Lovecraftian Aesthetic of Metaphysical Sonic Horror
  • Feminist Theory and the Concept of "Analogy"
  • The Political Thought of Hannah Arendt
  • Critiquing The Neural Correlates of Consciousness: Uses and Misuses at The Intersection of Neuroscience and Philosophy
  • Justifying Reason
  • The Philosophical Conflict between Science and Naive Realism: the Case of Sound

Sample First-Year Course

Love, Sex, and Death

This class examines conceptions of love, sex, and death, and how they influence both our private and public lives. We will discuss some of the philosophical literature on the natures of love, sex, and death, and contemporary issues such as same-sex marriage, pornography, prostitution, and abortion. Philosophy is more than a subject matter, it is a way of thinking, asking questions, and evaluating answers to them. The aims of this course are not political but philosophical: to teach you to examine critically these issues and arguments, and to formulate and defend your own views on these topics. These topics are controversial for a reason: there are no easy answers. Assignments will consist of a series of short papers, and an independent project.

Sample Courses at Hampshire

  • Philosophy as a Way of Life
  • Other Minds
  • Moral Philosophy
  • The Global War on Terror: New Legal and Philosophical Frameworks
  • Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics, and the Concept of Address
  • Freewill and Determinism
  • Identity Beyond Identity Politics
  • Kant and German Idealism
  • Philosophy of Education
  • Introduction to Metaphysics
  • The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein
  • Intro to Political Philosophy: Politics, Recognition and Exclusion
  • Contemporary French Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Mind
  • Philosophy, Relativism and Truth
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Philosophies of Modern and Contemporary Art
  • Science and Religion: The History and Philosophy of an Uneasy Relationship
  • The Philosophy & Science of Happiness

Through the Consortium

  • Ancient Philosophy (AC)
  • Buddhist Philosophy (SC)
  • Feminism and Knowledge (MHC)
  • The Greek Period (MHC)
  • Kant (UMass)
  • The Meaning of Life (SC)
  • Metaphysics (UMass)
  • Philosophy for Children (MHC)
  • Plato (AC)
  • Problems in Social Thought (UMass)

Facilities and Resources

Five College Community
Soap Box is a philosophical society open to all members of the Five College community aimed at creating a supportive and enriching space for philosophic dialogue in the area. A biannual journal of philosophy composed of student work is published and open discussions are held weekly.

Culture, Brain, and Development
The program in Culture, Brain, and Development (CBD) at Hampshire College was founded in 2003 with a grant from the Foundation for Psycho-Cultural Research. It provides an arena in which perspectives from a range of disciplines are brought to bear on questions about what is considered innate, how the social and the biological influence one another, and how experience is integrated into the developing architecture of the human brain. With core and advanced courses, the program sponsors seminars, lecture series, summer institutes, colloquia, and conferences, as well as collaboratively taught, cross-school courses. In addition, it offers stipends to encourage student and faculty work at the intersection of culture, brain, and development.