Philosophy and Religion Resources

The Philosophy and Religion Program uses very special equipment to do its work: the human mind. Although we don't have a computer lab or other facility, we invite you to stop by and bring your mind. We'd love to talk about ideas with you!

Some Quotes about Philosophy

The unexamined life is not worth living. -Socrates

Happiness is something final and complete in itself, as being the aim and end of all practical activities whatever … Happiness then we define as the active exercise of the mind in conformity with perfect goodness or virtue. -Aristotle

Now laws are said to be just both from the end (when, namely, they are ordained to the common good), from their author (… when the law does not exceed the power of the lawgiver), and from their form (when, namely, burdens are laid on the subjects according to an equality of proportion). -Saint Thomas Aquinas

There is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible. -René Descartes

Love is pleasure accompanied by the idea of an external cause, and hatred pain accompanied by the idea of an external cause. -Spinoza

The effect is totally different from the cause, and consequently can never be discovered in it. -David Hume

The very notion of what is called Matter or corporeal substance involves a contradiction. -George Berkeley

The understanding does not derive its laws (a priori) from, but prescribes them to, nature. -Immanuel Kant

The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. -John Stuart Mill

There can be no difference anywhere that does not make a difference somewhere. -William James

Whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent. -Ludwig Wittgenstein

Fact is richer than diction. -J. L. Austin

Existence precedes essence. -Jean-Paul Sartre

General Uses of Philosophy

Much of what is learned in philosophy can be applied in virtually any endeavor. This is both because philosophy touches on so many subjects and, especially, because many of its methods are usable in any field.

  • General Problem Solving
    The study of philosophy enhances, in a way no other activity does, one's problem-solving capacities. It helps one to analyze concepts, definitions, arguments and problems. It contributes to one's capacity to organize ideas and issues, to deal with questions of value, and to extract what is essential from masses of information. It helps one both to distinguish fine differences between views and to discover common ground between opposing positions. And it helps one to synthesize a variety of views or perspectives into a unified whole.
  • Communication Skills
    Philosophy also contributes uniquely to the development of expressive and communicative powers. It provides some of the basic tools of self-expression-for instance, skills in presenting ideas through well-constructed, systematic arguments-that other fields either do not use, or use less extensively. It helps one to express what is distinctive of one's view; enhances one's ability to explain difficult material; and helps one to eliminate ambiguities and vagueness from one's writing and speech.
  • Persuasive Powers
    Philosophy provides training in the construction of clear formulations, good arguments, and apt examples. It thereby helps one develop the ability to be convincing. One learns to build and defend one's own views, to appreciate competing positions, and to indicate forcefully why one considers one's own views preferable to alternatives. These capacities can be developed not only through reading and writing in philosophy, but also through the philosophical dialogue, in and outside the classroom, that is so much a part of a thoroughgoing philosophical education.
  • Writing Skills
    Writing is taught intensively in many philosophy courses, and many regularly assigned philosophical texts are unexcelled as literary essays. Philosophy teaches interpretive writing through its examination of challenging texts, comparative writing through emphasis on fairness to alternative positions, argumentative writing through developing students' ability to establish their own views, and descriptive writing through detailed portrayal of concrete examples: the anchors to which generalizations must be tied. Striker and technique, then, are emphasized in philosophical writing. Originality is also encouraged, and students are generally urged to use their imagination and develop their own ideas.

From the American Philosophical Association

Related Links

The following links are for information only and are not endorsed bythe Philosophy and Religion Program. In our effort to be fair to all religions, we may list links that you disagree with or find objectionable. At a university, and on the internet, all people and groups have a voice. We try to be as inclusive as possible. It is up to you to develop critical skills to make decisions about your own religious and spiritual life.

Explore, enjoy, and write us with your comments and reactions. Some of these sites have blogs, so dive in!

Philosophy Websites

Religion Websites


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