The Philosophy Student is a short and dark literary thriller set in a fictional Gulf Coast city. As a child, the narrator was fascinated with mythology; the moral struggles of ancient Greet heroes provided him with an ethical code, a code he abandoned when he saw hypocrisy in his parents and in society. Now he studies philosophy; for him, reason and logic are the only true values and he worships them to the exclusion of all emotion; he does not love, does not feel joy or sorrow, does not even have a preference for one food over another.
One night, through a quirk of fate he kills a man. The act of killing and, later that same night, a chance meeting and coupling with a street prostitute, change him forever. Killing has set free primordial instincts he has repressed all his life. Ordinary colors suddenly seem new; he delights in flavor, in the feel of wind, and he hungers for touch. He keeps his love of reason, his disparaging view of reality, but it is subservient to his lust for the prostitute and his desire to kill.
He still attends class, debates abstract ideas with fellow students, drinks beer. But he also stalks his next victim, searches for redemption from the renegade catholic priest who runs a mission on the notorious east side of the city. Most of all, he seeks out the prostitute who has become his muse, his ideal and his last hope for salvation.