Welcome to the Philosophy as a Way of Life Commons!
Here you will find a collection of open-access, peer-reviewed readings that embody the Philosophy as a Way of Life approach. These readings are divided into two categories:
(1) Primary Texts - Annotated primary texts that make core Philosophy as a Way of Life texts accessible to non-experts
(2) Topical Introductions - Subject overviews that present key ideas and arguments from Philosophy as a Way of Life traditions
Along with viewing our primary texts and topical introductions, our library is also searchable by keyword, philosophical tradition, and difficulty level. For more information about our review process, submitting an essay, or texts that you would like to see added to the Commons, please visit our Submissions page.
10 resources found
- Primary Text Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics: Learn to Live Well Selections in this essay are drawn from books 1 and 2 of the Nicomachean Ethics. Key concepts include: final vs. instrumental ends, eudaimonia, habits and virtues, and moral particularism.
- Primary Text Descartes’ Meditations: Doubt Everything What can we know, and how can we know it? Descartes argues we can only know that we are a 'thinking thing' in Meditations 1 and 2. Key concepts: Cartesian method of doubt, a priori vs a posteriori, global vs local skepticism, mind-body problem.
- Topical Introduction Dostoyevsky's Rebellion: Reject God What god would allow all the suffering in the world? This digital essay explores the Problem of Evil and some leading theodicies, focusing on Dostoyevsky's depiction of the Problem in The Brothers Karamazov
- Primary Text Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from the Birmingham Jail: Engage in Active Nonviolence Is it ever morally right to break the law? Dr. King argues for civil disobedience in Letters from a Birmingham Jail. Key concepts: cosmopolitanism, nonviolent campaigns, constructive nonviolent tension, just vs. unjust laws.
- Primary Text James' The Will to Believe: Take a Leap of Faith Is it ever ok to believe something without sufficient evidence? In his speech "The Will to Believe," James argues yes it is, but only in cases, like religious belief, where the choice is forced, live, and momentous.
- Primary Text J.S. Mill's On Liberty: Seek Disagreement Why should we listen to, even encourage, dissent? JS Mill argues in On Liberty that diversity of thought is an essential good. Key concepts: fallibility, epistemic relativism, dead dogma, rationality, suspension of judgement.
- Primary Text J.S. Mill's Utilitarianism: Promote the Most Happiness How do we know what's right? Mill argues we should promote the greatest happiness for the greatest number in 'On Utilitarianism.'
- Primary Text Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling: Embrace the Absurd Is faith absurd, but worth doing anyways? Kierkegaard argues yes in Problem 1 of Fear and Trembling. Key concepts: Telos, "The Ethical", Objective, Faith.
- Topical Introduction Marcus Aurelius and Henry David Thoreau: Live a Life of Contemplation What is the role of contemplation in the good life? Aurelius and Thoreau argue that it is essential to the good life as a means of simplifying your life and focusing on what matters, but they differ in how to go about living such a life.
- Topical Introduction Natural Theology: Reason about God Is there a god? Anselm and Aquinas' natural theology arguments are considered, along with the most common objections.