Benjamin K. Herrington (Vol. X Co-Editor) says. . . “For me, student philosophy was, and remains, a fantastic opportunity for identifying one’s core beliefs and values, differentiating these from values, practices and maybe even habits learned or inculcated prior to university, and critically thinking about how these can and should be changed, revised, defended or advanced as one prepares to matriculate and mature. For example, thanks to Professor Lisska, I spent the majority of 1998-1999 trying to fashion a semi-coherent articulation of how the idea of “natural law” (i.e of the Aristotle/Aquinas flavor) could be understood, comprehended and applied without a divine fountainhead. Which, in retrospect, is simultaneously humbling/humilating/pretty darn funny (and not because I was necessarily “wrong”). Suffice it to say that, for me, hard earned experience eventually stripped out the youthful desire to be the unmoved mover in my own life.

“The value of philosophy, generally, I think is really just an expansion on the foregoing individualised idea. Raising the important questions, pressing for answers in a world that is continually threatened by complete moral and social relativism, solipsism and the blind pursuit of material instincts, trying to protect the fundamental idea of humanity (whatever that means for you) and hopefully, no matter how small or simple, giving some comfort and kindness to your fellows whenever and wherever possible are concepts that necessarily arise out of most, if not all, philosophical inquiry. If I think, and I am, and I wish to have a satisfying and meaningful existence, I’m well served by embracing these questions, keeping an open mind and trying to live in a way that balances the needs of the self against the needs of the other. In the absence of what I would call a philosophical mindset, it becomes inordinately difficult to escape the gravitational pull of one’s own consciousness. The black hole of selfishness, at least for me, has proven to be the bane of happiness and contentment.

“My advice to philosophy students is simply to keep an open mind. Whomever observed that “[t]here is a principle which is a bar against all information, which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance — that principle is contempt prior to investigation” was undoubtedly correct. Do not be afraid of the answers that you were not expecting.”


Jim Dunson (Vol. XIII Editor) says. . . “Congratulations to my favorite undergraduate philosophy journal on making the leap into cyberspace! Editing Episteme was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career. Now I’m fortunate to be in the position of helping my own students develop essays for publication. It all started with the excellent in-class instruction and mentoring I received at Denison.

“I would encourage anyone studying philosophy to regard it not only as an academic discipline, but, more importantly, as an attempt to live a thoughtful life. It is true that studying philosophy can challenge and even undermine one’s deeply held beliefs. However, when properly understood, it can also heighten one’s appreciation for the opportunities that life affords. A good philosophy student is inquisitive, honest, tenacious, and has a good sense of humor. Study hard, travel often, and keep in touch with your professors!”

Jason Stotts (Vol.s XVI and XVII Editor) says. . . Working on Episteme was a great experience for me and I think that it made me a much better writer and a more critical thinker. I can’t overstate how important I think it is to think critically about the different kinds of issues we face in our lives and I think that no other field challenges us to do this like Philosophy. When we don’t focus our minds and just passively move through life, we fail at living up to our potential and our lives are worse than they might be otherwise.

Episteme is great in this respect, as it encourages students to actively engage issues on their own, outside of the classroom setting, and to engage with issues directly. It is obvious, although perhaps overlooked, that the more effort you put into college, the more you will get out of it and I think one of the most rewarding things you can do is participate in student journals, like Episteme.

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