Why every college student should take a philosophy course
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
What do you think of when you think of philosophy? Maybe some Aristotle? The thinking man statue? Well, I'm here to tell you philosophy can be one of the most eye-opening courses you ever take in your college career.
Of course, chances are you're not majoring in philosophy so it may seem pretty irrelevant to your academic career, but I'm here to argue why it may be worth your time to take a course or two.
So to start, what is philosophy, and how do you study it? To put it simply, philosophy involves thinking about the world, universe, society and everything else around us. You study it using the tools of logic to help reason and analyze the ways humans experience the world. Philosophy is not your typical school subject, as it requires very abstract ways of thinking. It is also not all black and white as there can be many ways to interpret someone's views.
Philosophy challenges your beliefs and encourages you to think outside the box. It makes you take in different perspectives and begin to think about the world in a whole new light. Not only does it challenge your beliefs, something I think is good for everyone to experience, but it also helps you begin to learn how to separate your emotions from logical thought which is huge for personal growth. Being able to learn how to separate logic from your feelings is incredibly beneficial to a happy and successful life. Philosophy lets us put our emotions on the back burner and solve our problems with logic and critical thinking instead.
When I say it can change your whole world, I really do mean it can literally change your views on the world. Philosophies can be complex to digest, that's for sure. But once you start to get a general understanding of something new, it can be absolutely fascinating. Of course, you won't always resonate with some of the philosophers you study, but it still introduces you to a whole new way of perceiving things.
Philosophy can not only give you a better understanding of yourself, but it can change your beliefs entirely. Philosophy lays everything out on the table and examines it all. No belief goes untouched in philosophy, and I mean it. Philosophy can ask us tough questions and makes us reevaluate how we feel about our existence. It can make us question the purpose of our lives and how we should exist. Think for a second, do you know what your life purpose is? Do you believe in a god? Philosophy can help you find your answer.
I started my philosophy journey at the start of my sophomore year. I chose philosophy because it filled a core requirement and sounded interesting enough, but I wasn't expecting too much. The course I took was just a simple intro to philosophy. It was a small class of only about 10 other people with Devin Bray as the professor. I didn't have very high hopes for it, but by the end of the semester, I left feeling like a whole new person. Every class it was just our small group engaging in such fun and abstract ways of thinking, I loved the class.
See, during that semester, I had also started a personal growth journey. I knew I had things I needed to work out and move on from and philosophy ended up being there to help. I left class pondering what we discussed and continued to do research on my own, and now I've taken multiple courses including critical thinking, which taught me all about how to separate logic from reason and how to use critical analysis in everyday thought. Philosophy truly helped me along my personal journey of self-growth. It not only helped me begin to think abstractly, but it helped me answer life's hard questions like what I thought the purpose of my life was, what happens when we die and whether or not I should believe in a god. Beginning to know these things about myself made my journey that much easier. I felt more grounded, and I feel like I have a better understanding about myself now. I also am so much better at rationalizing things when they come my way. If I get upset or angry at something, I can take a step back and analyze the situation and put the logic first. This has not only been amazing for my mental health but has helped me overcome anything that's been thrown my way.
I think philosophy is a truly wonderful and abstract thing that can provide us all with a lot of support for personal growth and a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us. If you're thinking about taking a course I highly implore you to do so.