Offering broad exposure to the greatest thinkers of the past and present from around the world, the Philosophy Department challenges students to explore fundamental life questions. Courses develop thinking and communication skills, providing a solid foundation for any career path.


A valuable component of a liberal arts education, philosophy courses have been part of the curriculum at Carson-Newman since its founding in 1851.

  • Our extremely flexible degree plan is ideal for double-majoring; 28 total hours in philosophy are required; simply choose any nine of our 3-hour courses and take the required 1-hour senior capstone.
  • We offer multiple courses in the history of philosophy as well as contemporary, topical courses. 
  • We expose students to multiple perspectives on a wide range of important philosophical questions including:
    • Is belief in God rational?
    • Do we have free will?
    • How should we live our lives?
  • Our courses intentionally focus on helping students think more critically and write more clearly. 

What students say

The skills I gained studying philosophy at Carson-Newman have proved invaluable both in law school and as a lawyer. Carson-Newman’s philosophy program taught me to think critically and analytically, write persuasively and concisely, and articulate my views clearly and respectfully. Those are skills I use every day as a lawyer, and I’m incredibly grateful the philosophy faculty at Carson-Newman gave me a jump-start on developing them. Moreover, studying philosophy at Carson-Newman was just plain fun! You’ll rarely get the chance in life to have sustained conversations with fellow learners about such important ideas. I highly recommend the experience.

Alex Carver, Associate at Sherrard Roe Voigt & Harbison; J.D., Vanderbilt Law School, 2018; B.A. in Philosophy, Carson-Newman, 2015.

At the base of every profession, especially that of law, is the necessity to reason and fit the information laid before you into a bigger picture. My education in the philosophy department at C-N not only exposed me to many of the fundamental ideas that shape the law; it developed my ability to cut through volumes of cases to identify unifying rationales and formulate winning arguments. In simpler terms, my philosophy major has made me a better lawyer. I largely credit my brilliant professors, active class environments, and generally excellent curriculum with giving me the skills I use every day on the job.

Cody Brandon, Assistant Attorney General at Tennessee Attorney General’s Office; J.D., William & Mary Law School, 2019; B.A. in Philosophy, Carson-Newman, 2016