Tammy Nyden, Associate Professor of Philosophy, teaches a class in Steiner Hall


Philosophical thinking is a foundation of education in the liberal arts. Philosophy enriches thought, imagination, understanding, and experience. By studying philosophy, you’ll confront questions and problems both theoretical and practical about yourself and your relation to the world. The department’s curriculum focuses on interdisciplinary and classical philosophical topics, European philosophy, and the history of philosophy. The ideas and skills you’ll master can lead to graduate studies and careers in almost any discipline and field.

A Different Kind of Philosophy Course

Professor Tammy Nyden (center) listens to two students during class

Behind the Scenes of a Specially Designed Course

You probably know from experience that when you have a teacher who’s excited about teaching, the class is energized.

Special topics courses give professors that chance to re-energize.

Now multiply that energy level by 3.

Three professors — from American studies, education, and philosophy — co-taught a special topics course, The School-to-Prison Pipeline (STPP), during the fall 2019 semester.

About a dozen students and instructor listen to another student presenting informally in their classroom

Students Learn Strategies and Tactics for Making a Difference

You care about the world and you want to make a difference.

Can you do that in a class?

The 25 Grinnell students who took The School-to-Prison Pipeline, a special topics course, would say, “Yes, absolutely.”

The 4-credit class examined schools’ discipline practices and policies, their impacts, and the work people are doing to create positive change. Students not only learned about the issue, but also how to contribute to the common good through social action.

Why Major in Philosophy

Jack Marchesi '20

Spot the Gaps and Fill Them In

Philosophy major Jack Marchesi ’20 appreciates how philosophy courses consistently defy his expectations. “I always leave with more questions than I had before the course began.”

Burling Library at night, windows lit

The Intersection of Philosophy and Political Science

Max Fenton ’19, a philosophy and political science double major, was drawn to Grinnell as a good base for graduate school and for its “reputation as a place in which knowledge was acquired for its own sake.”

Department Information

(641) 269-4414

Steiner Hall
1120 Park St
Grinnell, IA 50112
United States

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