Philosophy has a long and glorious history at Spring Hill College. In fact, once upon a time, all students were required to be philosophy majors. According to K. Heusner, in the 1884 Album of Spring Hill College, “Philosophy teaches us that the actions of rational beings is merely the tendency to reproduce some exemplar which they have already conceived in their minds”. In layman’s terms, the inimitable Heusner has hit upon the very foundation of the Philosophy Department of Spring Hill College: teach students how to think and to articulate the thoughts they’ve been having their whole lives.
Philosophy has been an integral part of the core curriculum of Spring Hill College since the school’s founding. In the catalog of courses from 1900, Astronomy, Mathematics and Chemistry were included under the Philosophy Class for the course of studies prescribed for achieve a degree of Bachelor’s of Arts. Even earlier, in 1856-1857, natural and moral philosophy, logic and metaphysics were an integral part of the Classical Course, which was considered to be part of “a complete education”. Naturally, the description of the course of study that is taught today at Spring Hill is very different from the courses taught at the beginning of the College’s history.
Philosophy continues to be a mainstay of the liberal arts Core curriculum of SHC. Every student must take at least three philosophy courses to fulfill Core requirements. One of these courses must be introductory logic, and after this requirement is filled, students may choose from a wide range of subjects, including Philosophy of Human Nature, Ethics, Philosophy of Law, Existentialism and the History of Ancient, Medieval, Modern or Contemporary Philosophy. Many of these topics are the same as fifty years ago, although in 1962, Psychology courses were also included in the Philosophy Department. Students from the first century of the history of the College would find the Philosophy Department to be very different, although some courses would still remain familiar. After all, philosophy is an ancient practice, but continues to change as history moves forward.
A careful observer will notice that, while clothing styles may have changed, at least one thing has remained constant in philosophy: the importance of coffee. The generous selection of coffee mugs behind the group shows that SHC’s philosophy club takes coffee seriously.