Socrates claimed that “the unexamined life is not worth living,” and Aristotle said that philosophy begins in wonder. In fact, philosophical reflection is unavoidable. Fundamental questions and puzzles about the ultimate nature of the world and the mind’s place in it, the possibility of free will, the constituents of consciousness and intentional action, the foundations of moral judgment, and the character of justice animate our deepest thinking and structure our approach to life. The American philosopher William James said that philosophy is “nothing but an unusually obstinate effort to think clearly.” That accurately describes our courses. Applying distinctively philosophical methods in studying both historical figures like Aristotle and Descartes and the best contemporary work, students learn to think rigorously, critically and creatively and to express their ideas effectively.
Students majoring in religious studies at Ursinus pursue a broad variety of endeavors after graduation, including graduate study in Ph.D. programs in philosophy, law school, medical school, and business.
At the time of Plato, Western philosophy was taught through dialogue. Our students join in that tradition, learning in small classes taught by active scholars. These classes emphasize writing and speaking.
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