Main Departmental Office
Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, Room 225
1155 Union Circle #310920
Denton, TX 76203-5017
Web site: www.phil.unt.edu
Michael Thompson, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Undergraduate Advisor
Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, Room 320E
Douglas Anderson, Chair
The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education…. Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate “transferable work skill.”
— The Times, London, August 15, 1998
Philosophy, from the Greek words “philein” and “sophia” translated as “love of wisdom”, has always been an important part of higher education. In the early Greek proto-universities, the Academy of Plato and the Lyceum of Aristotle, philosophy was the very foundation of all study. It has been studied as an end in itself and in its relation to other areas. Most specialized sciences find their origins in philosophical questions. It is also an excellent preparation for studies in graduate and professional schools.
Studying philosophy develops analytic skills and problem-solving abilities that are extremely useful in almost any academic or scientific field and in a variety of professional careers, such as journalism, business, law, medicine and government. It provides insight into our cultural heritage through courses in the history of ideas and critical insight into many other fields in the humanities and the sciences through such courses as philosophy of science, social-political philosophy, epistemology and logic. Philosophy seeks to teach students methods of thinking about perennial questions—such as ‘what is truth’ and ‘what is beauty’— and about the timeless themes of goodness and wisdom.
The study of religions is also an important part of higher education. Religions are an integral part of our history, social life, politics, economy, foreign policy and domestic interactions. Religious studies exposes students to the beliefs, practices and histories of various religious traditions and analyzes their significance to societies. It also provides the opportunity for inter-religious comparison and evaluation. Religious studies is an interdisciplinary major, with courses from many departments, such as philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, political science, art history, English and music.
The study of religions helps students think and write critically, engage in big questions about worldviews, and apply disciplinary knowledge to local and global issues. This major equips students for employment in the public, private and nonprofit sectors including medicine, law, business, publishing, social service and teaching. Religious studies is also excellent preparation for graduate and professional schools.
Pre-theology and pre-seminary
Students intending to pursue post-baccalaureate work in seminaries or divinity schools should consult with the undergraduate advisor of the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies.
Scholarships and financial aid
A $500 award is given to the John Kimmey Memorial Scholar in the spring semester. The scholar is selected by the department and is the honoree at the Honors Day convocation.
The Samuel and Mabel Danford Scholarship in Religion awards $1,000 to one student every fall term. A student must be a religious studies major to apply. Inquiries concerning the scholarship should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A scholarship in honor of Richard Owsley provides an annual award of $500 to a recipient who submits and wins an essay competition held each spring. The topic of the essay should fall within the scope of continental philosophy.