Department of Philosophy and Humanities
top image

Philosophy is...


"Philosophy is quite unlike any other field. It is unique both in its methods and in the nature and breadth of its subject matter. Philosophy pursues questions in every dimension of human life, and its techniques apply to problems in any field of study or endeavor. No brief definition expresses the richness and variety of philosophy. It may be described in many ways. It is a reasoned pursuit of fundamental truths, a quest for understanding, a study of principles of conduct. It seeks to establish standards of evidence, to provide rational methods of resolving conflicts, and to create techniques for evaluating ideas and arguments. Philosophy develops the capacity to see the world from the perspective of other individuals and other cultures; it enhances one's ability to perceive the relationships among the various fields of study; and it deepens one's sense of the meaning and variety of human experience." —The American Philosophical Association

" its own time apprehended in thoughts." —G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of Right

"Philosophy, like all other studies, aims primarily at knowledge. The knowledge it aims at is the kind of knowledge which gives unity and system to the body of the sciences, and the kind which results from a critical examination of our convictions, prejudices, and beliefs." —Bertrand Russell, The Problems of Philosophy

"Philosophy is simply thinking hard about life, about what we have learned, about our place in the world... Philosophy is nothing less than the attempt to understand who we are and what we think of ourselves. And that is just what the great philosophers of history, whom we study in philosophy courses, were doing: trying to understand themselves, their times, and their place in the world... But philosophy is not primarily the study of other people's ideas. Philosophy is first of all the attempt to state clearly, and as convincingly and interestingly as possible, your own views. That is doing philosophy, not just reading about how someone else has done it." Robert C. Solomon, The Big Questions

"Philosophy simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything.—Since everything lies open to view, there is nothing to explain." —Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations §126

"It always creates the world in its own image; it cannot do otherwise. Philosophy is this tyrannical drive itself, the most spiritual will to power, to the 'creation of the world,' to the causa prima." —Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil