A guest post again. Emily G. from Kings Norton Girls’ School in Birmingham. Here she considers the issue of whether everyone ought to study philosophy, or not?
Do I think everyone should study philosophy? Well I think that that’s a question not too dissimilar from one like do I think everyone should watch football. I love it, I think it’s interesting and there are so many different sides to take with the potential for debates ready around every corner. It’s fascinating and can both bring people together and divide them. Then there are people who would really rather do anything else than even broach the idea of the subject; for them the debates can get too heated, too politically charged, they can’t make up their mind what side they want to stand on or understand what even is the point in taking sides and they just plainly don’t see the ‘point’ in investing time into it. There are also those who sit on the fence, neither here nor there, disconcerted with such conversations. It’s mainly with them in mind that I give my answer to the original question, and that is that everyone should at least give it a go. Philosophy is a subject that I think you really have to enjoy in order to be able to fully sink your teeth into – in a similar way to how if you find football boring you really aren’t going to care about why it’s a big deal when a referee gives (or doesn’t give as the case may be) a penalty at a certain moment or why derby matches are so enthralling so no, it’s not for everyone but testing the waters of interest wouldn’t hurt – maybe you just need to find your niche in the same way you have to find your favourite team.
The reasons why philosophy is a subject that I think everyone who can, should at least try are endless. Philosophy is one of those subjects that can be applicable in all walks of life, allowing us to not only be able to ask vast questions about our existence as humans on this planet of ours, but it helps us to find our footing when it comes to knowing how to go about answering these questions. It’s a subject that can fit with so many others – if you’re academically minded. For instance, maths; the necessity of logic bridges the gap between these two disciplines. Mathematics is fundamental to wrestling with quantifiable problems and philosophy enhances analysis skills and articulation of reasoning. Again for the academically minded, philosophy supports tangible exam preparation – a platform for perfecting critical thinking and argument presentation. Philosophy isn’t only useful in an academic sense, it can encourage a more open-minded view of the world, encouraging consideration of different opinions and facilitating personal development. This subject can lead to more appreciation for life and the origins of ideas and practises, many of which have effected and shaped what we know today. In philosophy, we seek not only to know but also understand; frequently questioning why, how, who, fashioning our own questions and views. This can lead to an exploration or our own belief systems, suggesting platforms for modifications and developments. As Socrates famously said “the unexamined life is not worth living” and whilst I’m not going to say life isn’t worth living because it doesn’t incorporate something that I find fascinating, Socrates does have a point. Without examination of our lives and lives before ours, we won’t have a broad enough understanding of where we’ve come from – both physically and in terms of our ideas and practises – and we won’t know where to go next. Philosophy appreciates detail, history, growth, and knowledge. I say everyone should give it a go.