The word “philosophy” comes from roots meaning “love of wisdom.”

To love something is different from possessing it. Philosophers don’t claim to be wiser than anyone else; they claim only to be lovers of wisdom — that is, lovers of inquiry into the questions that affect our lives most fundamentally. What is the best way to live? What is the nature of truth? What is the right way to treat other people? And even: what is philosophy? People sometimes challenge philosophy’s connection to the real world, but conceived of this way, the real world is the only thing philosophy can be about. Philosophy consists in thinking deeply about anything that needs to be thought about.

The word “religion” comes from a root meaning “to bind.” In studying religion, we focus on the ways in which religion binds a group of people to a shared orientation that transcends them, a way of discerning the ultimate meaning of life. Some people think of philosophy as characterized by skepticism and religion by faith, but here at UMF we see them as a continuous enterprise concerned with pondering humankind’s position in the universe and considering thoughtfully how to live in such a situation.

In the Philosophy / Religion program, while considering the deepest questions and most challenging ideas in our intellectual heritage, you will develop and sharpen your skills in critical reading, logical thinking, and clear, effective writing (skills which employers say they most expect from college graduates). And who knows? You might even discover the meaning of life.