Why Study Philosophy?

René Descartes

Our daily lives are about navigating through a world of ideas. To listen to a politician’s speech, a critic’s analysis of a piece of art, or even your friend’s business plans, is to be confronted with ideas and arguments. These ideas and arguments are meant to get you to see the world in a specific way and thus influence your actions. Philosophy enables you to reason through these often convoluted and complex ideas in a logical and reasonable manner, allowing you to consider a topic independently of rhetoric and flash.

Students who choose to study philosophy find themselves studying one of the world’s greatest intellectual traditions. Important fields of study have been born from, or radically influenced by, philosophy: Physics (e.g. Democritus, Isaac Newton), Psychology (e.g. William James and Gustav Fechner), Theology (e.g. Augustine, Aquinas, Kierkegaard), Mathematics (e.g. Pythagoras, Descartes, Leibniz), Political Science (e.g. Plato, Machiavelli, Rawls), among many others. Students of philosophy are trained to see the assumptions and reasoning which connects all these fields through history and onto today. As such, the philosopher is uniquely equipped to consider complex, longstanding problems.

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