Webster's Third New International Dictionary lists thirteen distinct definitions of the word philosophy, but for the average person, two definitions of philosophy serve best. In one sense, a philosophy is a set of fundamental beliefs. In another, more academic sense, philosophy is a critical examination both of those fundamental beliefs themselves and of the grounds for them.

Overview

Calvin's philosophy department offers a program widely recognized as one of the finest undergraduate philosophy programs in the nation. In philosophy classes, you'll pursue a tradition of strenuous, systematic thought, lay hold of its insights and grapple with its conclusions. In the process, you will clarify not only what you believe, but why you believe it.

Careers in Philosophy

  • CEO
  • Author
  • Editor
  • Professor
  • Public Relations Administrator

See job placement rates for Calvin grads.

Student involvement

Attend annual seminars and conferences like the Jellema lecture series sponsored by the philosophy department; write for the Chimes; join in on the student-led Philosophy Symposium where students engage in philosophical discourse.

Keep Exploring

Visit the department's website

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By the numbers

2+
Annual lecture series sponsored by the philosophy department

Scholarships

Dollar amounts reflect awards given for the 2014-15 academic year.

Bouwsma Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $900
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need is not required; philosophy major
  • apply through the philosophy department
Reverend Bernard Haven Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100
  • first-year
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need is considered; child of missionary; intending to pursue a pre-ministry program or a degree in education; preference is given to those pursuing philosophy, English or history
  • submit a letter to the Financial Aid Office (finaid@calvin.edu) describing your qualifications by February 1
Kenneth J. Konyndyk, Jr. Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,100; $2,800
  • senior
  • GPA of 3.50+
  • financial need is not required; philosophy major; interested in teaching and scholarship in philosophy as a Christian calling
  • apply through the philosophy department
Alan and Jan Pauw Family Scholarship
  • award amount: $2,500
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need is considered; history, philosophy or a foreign language major; preference is given to those minoring in other liberal arts areas
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Clarence and Janice Walhout Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,800
  • junior or senior
  • gpa of 3.20+
  • financial need is not required; preference is given to English or philosophy majors
  • apply through the Calvin Portal
Martin P. and Florence DeGraaff Wiebenga Scholarship
  • award amount: $1,450
  • sophomore, junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need is considered; preference is given to those planning to major in the humanities and/or arts
  • automatic consideration
Dr. Bernard Zylstra, S.J.D., Memorial Scholarship
  • award amount: $3,000
  • junior or senior
  • GPA of 3.00+
  • financial need is not required; history, philosophy or political science major; evidence of Christian character and promise and growth; must submit a 1,200 word essay that reflects on some article by Bernard Zylstra concerning political theory; provide a statement of potential career goals that indicates some relevance to political theory and of how this scholarship would help accomplish those career goals
  • to apply, complete the application and the recommendation form through the political science department
View all scholarship opportunities

Faculty

David Billings

David Billings
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
HH 343
dbilling@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8611

Kevin Corcoran

Kevin Corcoran
Professor
Department of Philosophy
HH 349
kcorcora@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6636

Rebecca DeYoung

Rebecca DeYoung
Professor
Department of Philosophy
HH 345
rdeyoung@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6418

Ruth Groenhout

Ruth Groenhout
Professor of Philosophy, Department Chair
Department of Philosophy
HH 352
rgroenho@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6412

Matthew Halteman

Matthew Halteman
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
HH 356
mch7@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6726

Lee Hardy

Lee Hardy
Professor
Department of Philosophy
HH 347
lhardy@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6417

David Hoekema

David Hoekema
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
HH 344
dhoekema@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6750

Gregory Mellema

Gregory Mellema
Professor of Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
HH 355
mell@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6414

Alvin Plantinga

Alvin Plantinga
Professor Emeritus
Department of Philosophy
HH 356
acp8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6087

Del Ratzsch

Del Ratzsch
Professor
Department of Philosophy
dratzsch@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6415

James K.A. Smith

James K.A. Smith
Professor of Philosophy, Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview
Department of Philosophy
HH 342H
jks4@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6419

Christina Van Dyke

Christina Van Dyke
Professor of Philosophy Director, Gender Studies Program Executive Director, Society of Christian Philosophers
Department of Philosophy
HH 350
cvdyke@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6676

Stephen Wykstra

Stephen Wykstra
Professor of Philosophy, Alvin Plantinga Fellow at the University of Notre Dame
Department of Philosophy
HH 341
wyks@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6410

Talk to us

Ruth Groenhout Ruth Groenhout
Department Co-Chair
Department of Philosophy
HH 352
rgroenho@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6412

Marilyn Johnson Marilyn Johnson
Department Co-Chair
Department of Philosophy
HH 340
maj26@calvin.edu
(616) 616-526-8814

Admissions

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