IntroductionResearch HelpKeep Learning

Why Study Philosophy?

Most important, it is of enormous and enduring interest. All of us have to answer, for ourselves, the questions asked by philosophers. Philosophy is a far-reaching field. It develops our ability to:

  • reason clearly
  • distinguish between good and bad arguments
  • sort out complicated questions
  • evaluate our own beliefs.

If you plan to pursue business, medicine, science, religion, law, literature, human service, education, or a mindful, meaningful life, philosophy will help you get there.

Link to FOD video

Philosophy and Your Reasoning

5 min.
Understand how our beliefs interact with other philosophical perspectives; how different theories are appropriate in different contexts.  We learn how to gain objectivity, consider consequences for others, act on reason, and advance toward objective truth.
[From “Introduction to Philosophy: Values Assessment.” Films On Demand, Films Media Group, 2012.]

Encyclopedias and dictionaries

These sources are good for pre-research: to introduce you to the landscape of your topic.

Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP)
Open access to scholarly information on topics and philosophers.  Peer-reviewed.  Extensive section on Health Care Ethics.

A Dictionary of Philosophical Logic
Introduction to the main problems in philosophical logic, including positions, terminology, people, their debates, and logic in related disciplines. Focus on mathematics.

Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy
A well-cross-referenced collection of entries for philosophers, philosophical concepts, and related sacred, political-legal, mathematic, social, cultural, and commonly-used terms and ideas.

Critical thinking web
Free tutorials on aspects of thinking skills. [University of Hong Kong]

Timeline of Western Philosophers
The study of philosophy is an ongoing conversation, and philosophers influence one another. Here they are sequenced by era and year ranges. [Wikipedia]


Especially relevant to WCC’s philosophy courses.

Useful Databases

Opposing Viewpoints in Context

Opposing Viewpoints (Gale In Context)wccc logo

Searchable foundation material, pro and con, for logical arguments on many applied-philosophy topics like morality, medical and other ethics, religion, life, death, freedom, rights, environment, equality, suffering, and individualism.

Religions & Philosophy Collectionwccc logo

Extensive coverage of world religions, major denominations, biblical studies, religious history, epistemology, political philosophy, philosophy of language, moral philosophy, history of philosophy, and so forth.

An index and online community of philosophy research. No clue what to do a paper on? “Browse By Topic” tool both informs immediately and encourages drilling down. Research content in journals, books, open access archives, and academics’ personal pages.  [Centre for Digital Philosophy, Philosophy Documentation Center]

Browse the Stacks

Wander through relevant sections of the library’s physical book collection, to discover what it is that you find interesting.

Topics and their library locations

A call number is a code on the spine of each book, identifying that book’s location in the library.

Subtopic Call No. Grouping
Philosophy (General) B1
Logic BC
Epistemology, Ontology BD
Ethics BJ
Philosophy of Religion BL1
Mythology BL300
Religious History, Principles BL660
Hinduism BL1100
Confucianism, Taoism BL1830
Japanese Religion BL2195
African Religion BL2390
Religion in the U. S. BL2500
Rationalism, Atheism BL2700
Judaism BM
Islam BP1
Other (Cults, Scientology, etc.) BP600
Buddhism BQ
Christianity BR-BX

Source Texts

From the Open Web

Internet Sacred Texts: World Religions
Maintained by John Bruno Hare and cited by the Library of Congress. This section contains sacred texts of significant cultural value, such as the Bible, Qur’an, Avstas, I Ching, Vedas, texts on Native American religions, African religions, etc. Many works are full-text on the site for free. Funded by sales of versions on CD.

Virtual Religion Index
Full text of public domain research sources on religion, philosophy, ethics, and related subjects. Maintained by Mahlon Smith, founder of the religious studies program at Rutgers University. Broad scope, well-organized.

The Sophia Project
An online collection of original articles, primary source texts, and commentaries in philosophy and ethics that provides resources necessary to read great philosophical works. Scope includes classical, medieval, modern, eastern, ethics, topical access. Affiliated with Molloy College.

Abrahamic and Western Philosophy

The Theology of the Book of Genesis. Moberly, R.W. L.

Socrates, Plato, Aristotle

The Trial and Death of Socrates: being the Euthyphron, Apology Crito, and Phaedo of Plato. Socrates, Plato, and F.J. Church, trans.

The Republic. (and Cave Allegory–link to video below) Plato.

The Republic. Plato and Francis Macdonald Cornford. (Stacks JC 71 .P35 1945)

The Works of Aristotle. Aristotle.

The Basic Works of Aristotle. Aristotle and Richard McKeon. (Stacks B 407 .M2)

Bible—Old and New Testaments (Christian)

The Bible, Authorized King James Version. Robert P. Carroll and Stephen Prickett.

Christian Standard Bible, online version. Holman Bible,

The New Oxford Annotated Bible: new revised standard edition, with the Apocrypha (an ecumenical study Bible). Michael David Coogan, ed., et al. (Stacks BS 191.5 .A1 2010 O94)

Hebrew Texts

Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). Sefaria.
The Torah, Prophets, Writings, Targum (in Hebrew and English), and an extensive list of commentaries (some in Hebrew and English, others Hebrew only).  Other Jewish sacred texts as well. Sefaria is a non-profit that is building the future of Jewish learning in an open and participatory way.

The Babylonian Talmud (Bavli). Sefaria. Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz, trans., ed.

The Torah: the five books of Moses. Jewish Publication Society of America and Gertrude Hirschler, et al. (also Stacks BS 1223 1963)

St. Augustine

The Confessions of St. Augustine. Augustine of Hippo and E.B. Pusey.

The City of God. St Augustine, Daniel J. Honan, and Gerald Groveland Walsh.

Qur’an (Islam)

The Holy Qur’an. M.H. Shakir, trans.

The Qur’an: a new translation. Abdel Haleem, trans. (Stacks BP 109 .A33 2010)

Summa Theologia (Compendium of Theology). Thomas Aquinas, and Richard Regan, trans.

Meditations on First Philosophy. René Descartes.


The Social Contract & Discourses. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and G.D.H. Cole.

Discourse on Political Economy; and The Social Contract. Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Christopher Betts. (Stacks JC 179 .R86 1994)


Fear and Trembling. Kierkegaard, Soren.

Reading Kierkegaard I: fear and trembling. Paul Henry Martens.

The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy. William James.


Philosophical Investigations (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus). Ludwig Wittgenstein.
In English. Introduction by Bertrand Russell.

Philosophical Investigations. Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Stacks B 3376 .W563P53 2001)

Tracking the Meaning of Life: a philosophical journey. Yuval Lurie.


Arendt, Hannah. The Life of the Mind. (Stacks B29 .A736 1981)

Eastern Philosophy
I Ching (Book of Changes)

The Classic of Changes: a new translation of the I Ching as interpreted by Wang Bi. Richard John Lynn, trans.

The Complete I Ching: the definitive translation. Alfred Huang, trans. (Stacks PL 2478 .D43 1998)

Analects of Confucius (Confucian)

Understanding the Analects of Confucius: a new translation of Lunyu with annotations. Confucius and Peimin Ni, trans.

The Analects (Lunyu). Confucius and Ann-ping Chin, trans. (Stacks PL 2478 .L338 2014)

Mencius (Mengzi)

Ivanhoe, Philip J., and Bloom, Irene. The Mencius.

Sun Tzu. The Art of War. Stacks: U101 .S95 2007

Tao Te Ching (Taoist)

Daodejing. Laozi and Edmund Ryden.

Tao Te Ching. Laozi, Gia-fu Feng, and Jane English. (Stacks BL1900 .L3E5 1997)

Zhuangzi (Taoist)

Wang, Kaiyun. The Zhuangzi.

The Yoga Sutas of Patanjali: the book of the spiritual man. Patanjali and Charles Johnston.

Vedas (Hindu). Voluminous. Summaries best accessed via or wikipedia.

Bhagavad Gita (Book of God, Hindu)

The Bhagavad Gita. Easwaran Eknath, trans.

The Bhagavad Gita: a new translation. Gavin D. Flood, trans. and Charles Martin, trans. (Stacks BL 1138.62 .E5.F56 2012)


The Upanishads. (Hindu) Easwarann Eknath and Michael N. Nagler.

Upanishads. Patrick Olivelle. (Stacks BL 1124.52 .E5 1996)

Siddhartha (Guatama Buddha, Buddhist)

The Dhammapada. Easwaran Eknath, trans.

Siddhartha. Hermann Hesse. (Stacks PT 2617 E85S5 1971)

Book of the Dead

The Tibetan Book of the Dead: the great liberation through hearing in the Bardo. Karma-ling-pa, Francesca Fremantle, trans., ed., and Chogyam Trungpa, ed. (Stacks BQ 4490 .K3713 2003)

Zen Buddhism

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: informal talks on Zen meditation and practice. Shunryu Suzuki.

Peace is Every Step: the path of mindfulness in everyday life. Thich Nhat Hanh.

Medical Ethics

medical ethics. wikipedia.

The Story of Bioethics. Jennifer K. Walter and Eran P. Klein, Eds.  (Stacks QH 332 .S77 2003)

Confessions of a Medicine Man. Alfred I. Tauber.  ON ORDER

No Longer Patient: Feminist Ethics and Health Care. Susan Sherwin.

Feminism and Bioethics: Beyond reproduction. Susan M.Wolf. 

Feminist approaches to bioethics: Theoretical reflections and practical applications. Rosemarie Tong.  ON ORDER

Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research. Steven Epstein.

A Cross-Cultural Dialogue on Health Care Ethics. Harold Coward and Pinit Ratanakul.

Principles of Medical Ethics. Tom L. Beauchamp and James F. Childress.  (Stacks R 724 .B36 2019)

Keep Learning


FilmsOnDemand: Philosophy & Religion
An academic resource with hundreds of videos in their Philosophy & Religion category.

Logo for Wiphi

Wireless Philosophy
A video series on philosophy project created by Yale and MIT.  Funny and informative.


History of Philosophy without any gaps
Excellent podcast series. The series looks at the ideas, lives and historical context of the major philosophers as well as the lesser-known figures of the tradition, with continuous coverage.

University of Oxford Podcasts—Philosophy

Hi-Phi Nation
A running show (~40 episodes so far) that weaves stories into big philosophical ideas.

"" Philosophy Talk
Stanford University philosophers Ken Taylor and John Perry have founded a podcast series dedicated to reasoned conversation driven by human curiosity.  Accessible, intellectually stimulating, and fun.

Blogs, Newsletters

R&E Logo

Religion & Ethics Newsweekly
Cutting-edge news coverage and analysis of events worldwide in the ever-changing religious world. This series examines religion’s role and the ethical dimensions behind news headlines. [PBS]

The Stone (New York Times)
A blog featuring the writing of contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless. Here’s a sampling.

Institutes, Associations

American Philosophical Society. The oldest learned society in the U.S., founded by Benjamin Franklin, to promote useful knowledge through intellectual fellowship, support of discovery, research library. 

American Philosophical Association. Promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy. Website includes an exhaustive list of philosophy-related organizations as well as podcasts, publications, news, courses, teaching resources, and so on.

Logo Decorative

Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Brings the traditions of ethical thinking to real world problems. Source of articles, blogs, podcasts, events, and videos on many applied ethics topics in fields like business, professionalism, medicine, journalism, media, and law. Focus on current ethical issues. [Santa Clara University]


A Few Video Clips

The importance of philosophy.

The Importance of Philosophy in Today’s World  

2 min.
The intrinsic value of asking questions deeply, as all of us engage in reasoning about public issues.
[From The Examined Life: What Is Philosophy? Films On Demand, Intellicom, 1998.]

The Cave Allegory

The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato’s Allegory in Clay

3 min.
A retelling of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Degrees of awareness and the underlying reality. Powerful and unforgettable.  
[Michael Ramsey, Bullhead Entertainment, 2008.]

Link to Youtube video

The African American Philosophers

5 min.
Thinkers who grappled most painfully with the ideas and reality of freedom. Photo essay and core sayings of black philosophers.
[Anonymous/pangeaprogressYouTube, 2014.]