A guest post on the blog today from Birmingham. Dina C reflects on what she found when starting to study philosophy at A-Level
Philosophy wasn’t what I thought – a reflection:
Words that we initially associate with the subject of philosophy may be: religion, debating, reasoning, morals, values and ethics. These were all immediate preconceptions that sprang to my mind when thinking of what I may study in the year ahead. But many captivating lessons later and I can now vouch that Philosophy is much more complex than simply studying the existence of God or arguing one side of a debate – the answers are never as straight forward as they primarily seem.
My decision to study Philosophy as an A level was a very spontaneous one due to a very indecisive mind of mine, but there could honestly not have been a more perfect subject for me to choose. Not only is this subject great for improving your debating skills, making it almost impossible for you to lose any kind of argument against a friend or family member, but it also gives individuals an extensive insight to the surrounding world around them – why it is that people perceive the world differently, what it means to have knowledge, the history behind how topics such as maths and logic emerged, or whether our actions should be influenced by our duty, consequences or benefit of the greater good; a wide range of issues to refine and develop on. A personal benefit that I gained from studying this fascinating subject was a broader understanding of the human mind and the philosophy behind how it works, thus equipping me with the correct stance to communicate, in a considerate way, with varying personalities. Philosophy evidently does not only help students in the academic department but it is of great assistance in the social department as well.
Although Philosophy definitely is a challenging subject which some may find difficult to grasp at times, it is perfect for those who would describe themselves as characters with bold personalities full of passion and diverse ideas, for those who are willing to accept that there will always be differences in opinion no matter the issue at hand or merely for those who would like to further their knowledge and understanding of everyday matters that may or may not be relevant to current social affairs. As the legendary Descartes mentions, “It is not enough to have a good mind. The main thing is to use it well”. And this is exactly what philosophy seeks to do. It gives individuals a deeper understanding and analysis of life’s most basic but difficult questions.
Prior to entering a classroom of eager students ready to face any question or issue that may have been thrown at them, I myself had quite a partial way of thinking. With an insufficient amount of knowledge on social, political, and economical issues some could say that before philosophy became a part of my life I was unaware of basic things that a teen of this day and age should be aware of. With the immense impact that the future world will have on not only our lives but also the lives of our future children and the generations to follow, I believe it is obligatory for all students to have at least a basic understanding and appreciation of the philosophical views of modern life. This subject truly has challenged and improved my method of thinking, giving me a greater awareness of the world that surrounds me.
It’s safe to say that Philosophy wasn’t what I thought; it is far better than my preconceived notion.