The Hollins philosophy program offers students the opportunity to graduate with departmental honors in philosophy. In order to do this, students must:
Recent theses include: "Thoughts to Words and Back Again," "The Right to Life and Death," "Social Contracts," "A Pound of Flesh: Developing a Feminist Theory of Prostitution," and "The Ethics and Consistency of the Incest Prohibition."
Phi Sigma Tau, the International Honor Society in Philosophy, has over 150 member chapters. It was founded to promote ties among philosophy departments in accredited institutions. The Society serves as a means of awarding distinction to students having high scholarship and interest in philosophy. Students have the opportunity to publish in the Society's journal, Dialogue. Hollins University is the Virginia Theta Chapter of the Society. It was founded in 1996. Our chapter's activities include sponsoring philosophy speakers, conducting informal meetings with philosophy students from other area colleges and universities, breakfast table discussions of favorite philosophy topics, and a festive yearly induction ceremony.
Among those who have delivered lectures in the past have been:
Hollins is a member of the Virginia Foundation of Independent Colleges, which sponsors an annual Ethics Bowl among 15 member schools. Each year Hollins students participate in a debate-style competition held at a Virginia university in which each team considers a number of case studies in applied ethics and answers questions posed by a panel of judges. The case studies have recently focused on questions of Ethics and Technology and Business Ethics, and each year a new theme is chosen. The philosophy department sponsors the team and the coaches are philosophy professors.
Hollins University has won its first-ever Ethics Bowl championship! Hollins won the 15th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl, held February 9-10 at Randolph-Macon College and sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC). The student team, which included Morgan Blalock '16, Madchen Specht '16, and Rory Keeley '17 with faculty coordinator Associate Professor of Philosophy James Downey, competed head-to-head against other student teams from Virginia's independent colleges and universities, debating a variety of case studies highlighting ethical dilemmas. The theme of this year's event was "Ethics and Health Care." Hollins first won three of its four Commonwealth Division matches, beating Washington and Lee, Sweet Briar, and Lynchburg (the team's lone loss was to Randolph). Hollins and Sweet Briar both shared 3-1 records to lead their division, but Hollins was awarded the tie-breaker for the division title as a result of defeating Sweet Briar head-to-head. In the Ethics Bowl final, Hollins faced Cardinal Division winner Bridgewater and earned victory by choosing to defend a more difficult position and doing an excellent job arguing it. Hollins' VFIC Ethics Bowl championship is even more remarkable when you consider that none of our team members had ever participated before in the event.
Photo: Hollins' 2014 Ethics Bowl Team with Associate Professor of Philosophy James Downey
A two-student debate team from Hollins University has been invited to participate in The Lafayette Debates, sponsored by the Embassy of France and The George Washington University, April 12 – 13 in Washington, D.C. According to the event's website, the debate tournament offers "the best and brightest student debaters…an opportunity to engage with prominent international relations scholars and professionals on issues of political, social and cultural significance to citizens of not only the French Republic and the United States, but also the world." The invitation comes on the heels of Hollins winning the 15th annual statewide collegiate Wells Fargo Ethics Bowl, held in February at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland.