Amelia Bailey is an undergraduate BA Philosophy student. Here she tells us what she loves about studying Philosophy and why everyone should study the subject at least once.
Written by Amelia Bailey
From the beginnings of civilisation Philosophy has been woven into the fabrics of our society. From the annoyingly inquisitive age of 4 we have asked ‘why?’: ‘Why do I like eggs on my toast in the morning?’, ‘why is the sky blue?’. To the more adult questions of ‘why am I here?’ or ‘why do I believe in God?’ This is all philosophy. Thought-provoking, reflective, and relevant, Philosophy is the subject I have the delight to study and I am going to convince you why I think everyone should, at least once, have to study it.
Philosophy is ubiquitous. Whether you are indulging in the frustrating dialogues of Plato, talking about the meta-physical composition of the world, or pondering over morality, Philosophy is sure to poke its nosey head into conversation. I had learnt more from one term of philosophy during my A levels than I had throughout the entire course of my other subjects combined.
It asks the real questions. The questions that you will have found yourself pondering about while lying on your best friends’ bed, staring at the ceiling, or sitting at an empty tube station at 1am. They are topics about the life we live and how we live it, which is why it seems so puzzling to me that the study of such topics is not mandatory. If I have learnt anything about humans it is about how curious they are, how knowledge-hungry they tend to be. As for life and the world, I think there is no point living in it without asking why, how and for what we are living it for.
Philosophy leaves you with a headache. However, it is also one of the most freeing and accepting environments of intellectual discussion. There are no wrong answers, or better yet there are no right answers, it is completely open to your interpretation: which is refreshing in its own right. If you want to conspiracise that the whole world is deceived by some kind of matrix-type situation, then you are completely free to do so. Any view, no matter how eclectic or bizarre has a place in Philosophy. Consider Descartes, who believed we were all being deceived by an evil demon into believing in an external world.
However, Philosophy isn’t just a playground for unconventional theories, it can be very practical and applicable. Philosophy has its relevance in science and law. People can branch it into journalism or history. It has this underserved stigma of being a ‘dead-end degree’ or a ‘waste of tuition’, critique I have heard one too many times. Although, I think these comments could not be further from the truth.
Whether you study philosophy for a degree or simply pick up a philosophy book for a ‘wild-card read’ I believe your mind will never be hindered by such an act. Philosophy allows the mind to blossom and grow in a way that other subjects simply do not. This is why I love Philosophy and think everyone should have the opportunity to fall in love with it also.