Philosophy explores the basic features of lives that often go unexamined. Plato’s Socrates famously said that the unexamined life is not worth living. The Bryn Mawr Department of Philosophy introduces students to some of the most compelling responses, both historical and contemporary, to questions of human existence and knowledge. It grooms students for a variety of fields which require analysis, conceptual precision, argumentative skill, and clarity of thought and expression. Our students go on to careers in a wide variety of fields. These include law, education, social services, the health professions, and administration. Some go on to graduate study in philosophy and a career in philosophy.
The Philosophy Department welcomes all students—those who would like just a course or two and those who would like to go further and either minor or major in philosophy. Departmental course offerings contribute importantly to other majors and programs such as Environmental Studies, International Studies, Gender and Sexuality, and Political Science. Students in any major can benefit from philosophically reflecting on the assumptions and activities of any discipline whether it is in the natural and social sciences or in the humanities and arts.
Thimo Heisenberg, who is joining Bryn Mawr College as Assistant Professor of Philosophy in Fall 2020, received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia University in 2019. His research and teaching focus on German Philosophy, Social Philosophy and Political Economy. In his work, he is specifically interested in how social institutions, such as the market economy, shape the way we think and feel. How can we adequately resist social institutions when they, at the same time, have such a strong influence over our thinking and over our emotions? Are supposedly private psychological problems (such as depression or anxiety) really social problems in disguise? And: can a good social order help us overcome some of our deepest, allegedly personal, fears, such as our fear of death?
Thimo has written on these kinds of questions through an engagement with philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, F.W.J. Schelling and G.W.F. Hegel. You can find a summary of his recent research and teaching here.