For centuries, great thinkers have grappled with the big questions about life. Philosophy is, in part, the love of wisdom and the willingness to wrestle with mystery. Through discourse, logic, and notion, we learn to conjure our own ideas and defend them well.

Why study Philosophy at Sewanee?

Studying philosophy at Sewanee, you’ll become acquainted with the fundamental ideas and arguments that have shaped and challenged civilizations for centuries. You’ll be introduced to the ways philosophers and intellectual movements rise out of dilemmas and crises within the established social, scientific, and religious traditions. You’ll be asked to think critically and defend your beliefs.

You’ll then be charged with the difficult and no-ego-allowed task of appreciating the value of other beliefs. Sewanee’s extensive ethics curriculum—business ethics, environmental ethics, medical ethics—will prepare you for both graduate-level study and the job market.


Sewanee graduates secure positions in a variety of fields. Some you would expect, others, are a bit of a surprise. Sewanee prepares you for your profession and your passion. Below is a sampling of recent graduates' first job.

  • Legislative Intern, The Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations, Washington, D.C.
  • Commercial Real Estate Analyst, UCLA Asset Management, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Documents, Outreach, and Communications Office Intern, USAID, Tanzania.

Sewanee graduates enjoy extraordinary acceptance rates to top graduate and preprofessional programs–about 95 percent to law school and over 85 percent to medical school. Below is a sampling of where Sewanee grads continue their education.

  • M.S. in Neuroscience, University of Binghampton.
  • JD Law, Texas Tech School of Law.
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Biophysics, Structural Biology, Yale University 

The Bird Philosotographer

Sewanee Professor Jim Peters brings a philosopher’s perspective to an extracurricular passion.

Birdwatching can be as simple as sitting on the porch with a cup of coffee to observe the nuthatches, finches, and cardinals that crowd around a backyard feeder for an early-morning breakfast and maybe to mutter a few choice epithets at the squirrels that somehow manage to defeat the “squirrel-proof” feeder design.

For Jim Peters, birds are much more: They are the creatures that led him to his life’s work, the study and teaching of “the love of wisdom”—the precise etymological definition of philosophy.

His pathway to teaching philosophy at Sewanee began as a young child, when his family moved to rural northern Illinois. There, he wandered the fields and woods, wondering about the mysteries of the natural world around him. When he was five years old, he found himself drawn deeply enough into the mystery of birds, their unknowability and their beauty, that he persuaded his father to take him to the first of what would be a lifetime of birder meetings.

Now, at age 60, Peters is still in love with birds—a man who’s been known on occasion to jump in a car, drive hundreds of miles upon hearing a report of a sighting of a rare bird, and then, after spending an hour or so watching and photographing the bird, turning around and returning to Sewanee in time to teach a class.

Read More

A Sampling of Courses


Programs of Study & Related Programs

Requirements for the Major & Minor in Philosophy


James R. Peters
Professor of Philosophy, Coordinator of Environmental Arts and Humanities

Carnegie Hall 201A, Ext. 1581