Why Should I Study Philosophy?

        Most students entering university are unfamiliar with philosophy. Although high school students are intellectually capable of studying philosophy, they are seldom given the opportunity. Consequently, the students' impressions about philosophy - impressions widespread in our society - are often uninformed or misinformed. They may well wonder: "Why should I study philosophy?"

Here are some possible reasons:

  • Philosophy helps us understand that things are not always what they seem. P

  • Philosophy helps us learn about ourselves and the world. It teaches us how to grapple intelligently with basic questions such as:

    • "Who am I?"

    • "Does God exist?"

    • "How should I live?"

    • "Should I do what society tells me to do?"

    • "Can I be sure of any of my beliefs?

    • "Does my life have meaning?

    • "Are values just a matter of opinion?"

    • "What is the nature of mind, language, and thought?"

        Philosophy makes us more critical. It shows us that what we take for granted may be false -- or only part of the truth.
        Philosophy develops our ability
                - to reason clearly
                - to distinguish between good and bad arguments
                - to think and write clearly
                - to see the big picture
                - to look at different views and opinions.

        These skills are highly prized by employers and by graduate / professional schools. They are never outdated. They enrich our lives and our relationships.
        By studying the writings of great philosophers we see the extent to which philosophy has influenced science, religion, government, education and art.
        Philosophy empowers us to critically examine ours views and the views of others. Occasionally this leads us to reject our "inherited" views; however, it should always give us new and creative ways to deal with problems we could not otherwise solve.

Ideas adapted from a brochure by Daniel Kolak.