The Philosophical Research Society is a nonprofit organization founded in 1934 for the purpose of providing resources for the study and research of the world’s wisdom literature. Rejecting doctrinal, political, or ecclesiastical investments, it provides a learning environment sheltered from any intention to coerce or convert. The goal of this institution is to enable the individual to develop a mature world view and philosophy of life in association with a diverse and stimulating community of inquiry, dedicated to understanding and appreciating their unique possibilities in the unfolding universal pattern.
This one word comes from the ancient Greeks for whom phileo meant “love” and sophia meant “wisdom.”
As elementary and apparent as it may seem, this one word, this “love of wisdom,” raises two profound questions: what is love, and what is wisdom? With such inquiry, we are instantly confronted with the challenge of two great mysteries. The Greeks may have often spoken in diverse ways about the meaning of philosophy: greedy for wisdom, lusting after wisdom, pursuing wisdom as the way of personal glory… Yet much more did they insist in the loving of wisdom. In so doing, the term “love” meant giving one’s affectionate attention and unselfconscious care in the pursuit of wisdom.
Wisdom is insight into the nature of things, a fundamental acquaintance with Reality. All of the great insights of humankind left for us to study, which history has managed to preserve, are the priceless inheritance of every person. It is the clear goal of Philosophical Research Society and the University of Philosophical Research to provide global “lovers of wisdom” access to that treasure which is their birthright.
Thus this one word reveals our purpose and shapes our method. From this understanding we carefully draw our principles. They guide the administration of our organization:
- Inclusiveness — We look to include wisdom from its every source and to make it accessible to all who value it.
- Non-Advocacy — We are not partisan nor do we endorse any one particular tradition or person.
- Freedom — We consider the quiet urgings of each heart to be the proper personal guide in the process of self-discovery. Each person is urged freely to compare and reference their natural knowing with the finest expressions of humanity’s deepest insights. We expect this process to create resonance which best leads each person on his or her unique path of learning and discovery.
- Quality Resources — To the greatest extent possible, we strive to have all of our resources distinguished by carefully referenced scholarship supported by direct experience and field work. We seek to continually refine and update our offerings as discoveries come to light and errors are uncovered.
- Community — Stimulating and good spirited interaction reflect the fact that we are a community of discovery, not just isolated individuals. Ours is the path of ecumenism and a journey of shared meanings. We are part of a movement toward World Culture in which all wisdom traditions and the highest expressions of our spiritual heritage are honored. We yearn for a planetary citizenship in which social justice and compassion aim toward a transformation of humankind.
- Education – PRS is dedicated to being a place for learning and for “drawing out” (as in the original sense of “educate”) the wisdom that lies within all traditions and all human beings.