Courses in philosophy and religion expose Deerfield students to the sources, principles, and applications of the ideas that influence our actions and assign meaning to the human experience. Deerfield believes that as part of their education, students should examine their own values, and to do so properly it is helpful to be aware of some of the historical, philosophical, and theological foundations underlying their assumptions and beliefs.
Students are prompted to bring to discussions their knowledge and insights from other disciplines; at the same time students are introduced to philosophical and religious ideas that demand careful reading and a distinct type of thinking unique to philosophy.
By stressing critical thinking, deep inquiry, written expression, and class discussions, students develop intellectual skills.
Courses at the ninth and tenth grade levels address the foundations of ethical decision-making and the place of religion in both Eastern and Western cultures. Junior and senior level courses give the student an opportunity to explore philosophical and religious ideas in greater depth and to see their connection to Eastern and Western cultures and political issues.
Deerfield requires that students entering as ninth or tenth graders are required to take a one‑term course in philosophy and religion during their time at Deerfield. The program is enhanced through visiting speakers and other on-campus events.