Why Study Philosophy?

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We have discussed this previously – see HERE and HERE to look at what we came up with – but I wanted to raise it with a new ‘batch’ of students – our current first year cohort.

I have pasted below the initial questions I have asked the RPE187 class – and await the answers with interest. [Other readers of the blog are welcome to join in!]

So: why study philosophy

1 – Pragmatic:

What skills can you take from the subject? What else (if anything) will it make you good at?

2 – Social / Political:

Does a philosophical education make you a more aware citizen – who makes better choices?

Are you more moral as a result of the study of ethics?

Is a society with more philosophers in it, more or less likely to be:

  • Fairer?
  • Smooth functioning?
  • Well organised?
  • Argumentative and disputatious?

3 – Personal

Has your study so far impacted upon you as a person?

Is this a subject which changes people – unlike, perhaps, some other subjects (can you think of an example of a subject which doesn’t change people?)?

If it does bring about personal change – what is the nature of this change?

Other: Are there other reasons?


Anonymous says:

All we can say is philosophy feeds our souls. We are struggling to comply with the answers to these questions, as in studying philosophy it has opened up the possibility that we cannot be certain of anything. Thats a special place to be and that to us is the beauty of philosophy. By two comfortably insecure scholars

Anonymous says:

Required and obtained within studying philosophy is the desire to search for meaning. I believe this is what leads most, into this area. The skill comes from allowing yourself to consider other ideas using critical analysis and evaluation skills. The study of philosophy enables us to develop both listening and reflective skills. This could help the world on its way to becoming a fairer place, as it teaches us how to acknowledge other sides to arguments. I am not sure this equals smooth functioning or a well organised world as we can be debating things for eternity. As Plato would say there are places for the guardians, producers etc……. By two (still) comfortably insecure scholars

Anonymous says:

We believe that by studying philosophy it improves your critical thinking and judgement. It is not neccesarily true that philosophers are fairer people as they all seem to have their own opinions and are to an extent unwilling to change or compromise. However, this can be seen as a positive thing as it develops your ability to argue in defense of your views. It certainly helps you to realise what your views are on the various subjects which you wouldn’t normally think about when studying any other course. We all agreed that the reason we are studying RPE is out of interest and curiosity rather than as a subject which leads us to a direct career. Although the skills we have so far attained and will attain throughout the course are strong and wide enough to lead us to what we want to be.

Anonymous says:

Philosophy is a way that professors that have no marketable skills, are able to have a job that is not serving coffee at starbucks.

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