Philosophers ask deep and important questions about a wide variety of topics, ranging from the nature of justice to the possibility of free will to the possibility for human beings to have knowledge of God. Not only do philosophers ask questions like these, they seek out and debate answers to them, together in dialogue with colleagues from across the disciplines. This means that philosophical investigation necessarily involves not only the history of philosophical ideas, but careful and critical examination of relevant facts and their interconnections, highly developed argumentation skills, and ability to engage in cooperative dialogue for the common purpose of inquiry.

The academic benefits of philosophy are sharpened critical and analytical thinking skills, enhanced imaginative capacity, greater clarity and precision in communication, and heightened intellectual discipline. Philosophical training also greatly enhances one’s ability to enter into cooperative and informed argumentation and debate with others. These make the study of philosophy a perfect complement to almost any major, and a worthwhile and rewarding field of academic study in its own right.

In addition to the academic benefits, philosophy is invaluable in providing those who study it with the cognitive tools necessary for making competent, reflective, and balanced judgments. Those with philosophical training are uniquely empowered to develop a consistent and coherent view of the world and of their place in it. In addition to these, the personal benefits of philosophical study also include a more open mind, an enhanced sense of the moral worth of oneself and others, greater intellectual curiosity and enjoyment, and greater facility in careful thinking about problems whose difficulty mirrors that of real life problems.


The Philosophy program at Marygrove College offers students an intellectually and methodologically diverse approach to the discipline. The department has special strengths in the history of philosophy, Continental philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, value theory, and argumentation and critical thinking.

The instructional hallmark of all philosophy courses at Marygrove College is an emphasis on: critical thinking skills, close reading, clear writing, and interactive debate about philosophical topics.

In addition to the minor program, the Philosophy department offers courses that support the General Education program of the College providing students with a foundation in philosophical methods that can serve them throughout their academic career. Many of the department’s courses also support the College’s Urban Leadership Mission and Vision by incorporating course materials and assignments that apply philosophical methods of analysis and inquiry in urban contexts. See the course listings for more detail.

Philosophy courses are offered throughout the week in both day and evening sections. There are no special admissions procedures for the major or the minor. Any student wishing to join the program must simply be a student in good academic standing at Marygrove College. Those interested in joining the Minor programs in Philosophy are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of the Philosophy program.

Areas of Concentration

  • Minor in Philosophy


Though the study of philosophy is of general benefit no matter what one’s calling, it is especially beneficial to those considering careers in law, public policy, journalism, business, religion, the health professions, education, and the human services. This is because the study of philosophy enhances one’s analytical abilities, one’s intellectual independence, one’s ability to openly and honestly engage the ideas of others, one’s abilities to write and to think critically and carefully about complex problems that defy easy solution, and one’s abilities to express oneself with clarity and precision. All of these are among those abilities most generally desired by employers of all types. Those who study philosophy therefore find themselves very well prepared to excel and to become leaders in whatever profession they might choose, whatever path their careers might take.


Those with a minor or major in philosophy will find themselves well-prepared for careers in the following fields

  • Law (all areas of the legal profession, philosophy is well-documented to be excellent preparation for law school)
  • Education (K-12, higher education in philosophy or another discipline, or administration)
  • Business (leadership and management, as well as fields such as human resources, planning, analysis and project management)
  • Health Care (leadership and administration, ethical consulting, philosophy is also good preparation for medical school)
  • Counseling (transition coaching, philosophical counseling, advocacy or organizing)
  • Communications (public relations, journalism, publishing or editing, marketing)
  • Government (public administration, analysts, management)
  • Information Technology (writing software, managing systems)
  • Ministry (either ordained or working within religious institutions or organizations in another capacity)


Curricular Strengths

The Marygrove Philosophy Program is unique, with particular strengths in moral philosophy, Continental philosophy of religion, and critical thinking/argumentation studies.  

Critical Thinking

The ability to think critically and to engage in strategic, focused, independent problem solving is highly desirable to prospective employers across a wide range of industries and professions. Because these skills and dispositions are so important, the critical thinking focus of the Marygrove Philosophy program is driven by current research and best practices available from international scholarship across the disciplines of philosophy, cognitive science, linguistics, education, and computational modeling.

Interpersonal Reasoning and Debate

Problem-solving in the professional world means being able to articulate and defend one’s ideas in conversation with others. In keeping with our emphasis on critical thinking and argumentation, every philosophy course students take at Marygrove College involves at least one in-class debate. The debate is a proven tool for teaching not just good habits of argumentation and critical thinking, but clear and persuasive communication, teamwork, and peer interaction too.

Methodological Diversity

We celebrate being an intellectually diverse faculty representing a number of different philosophical approaches and traditions. We believe that intellectual curiosity and a wide range of interests is inherently better for philosophical skill development than a specialized regimen of disciplinary training and provides excellent preparation for an ever-changing work environment. It’s not about us making you into the kind of philosophical thinker we think you should be; it’s about us helping you find the philosophical style and approach that best suits you. 

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  • Name

    Steven W. Patterson, Ph.D.
  • Address

    Madame Cadillac Building, Room 346
  • Direct

    (313) 927-1539
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