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Why Would You Study Philosophy Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 996 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Several weeks ago, before the start of the 2013 winter semester my roommate asked me why I would take a philosophy class. My answer was a very typical response for a college student, credit hours. Later, I thought about my answer, there are hundreds of classes I could have taken. I could have taken astronomy, psychology, or an economics course. Each subject seems interesting enough, why did I choose philosophy? I found my answer on the first day of class. I took philosophy, because I didn’t know anything about it. The thought experiments we did on the first day triggered an interest. At first, maybe it wasn’t as overwhelming as the idea that there are billions of galaxies each containing billions or even trillions of stars. That it is possible for a psychopath to be conditioned into simulating the feeling of empathy. Even that from an economic standpoint it is impossible to eliminate pollution. Philosophy is a abstract idea to study, but it is extremely interesting.

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The word philosophy comes from the Greek word ‘philosophia’ which means “love of wisdom.” The key to philosophy is to be about being very critical towards any ideas, including things that seem certain. A philosopher has to ask critical questions or abstract questions on any subject. The reason these questions are asked is for the pursuit of the absolute truth. We have to think critically about everything we believe to be true, and even the thing we don’t. The four branches of philosophy are metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and logic. Each branch asks a specific question. Metaphysics asks, “What is?” Epistemology asks, “What do we know?” Ethics asks, “How should we act?” Finally logic asks, “What is the reason?” Each is essential to the study of philosophy, but epistemology is the most important for answering the question “Why study Philosophy?” We all as individuals know that we exist in one way or another. In our existence we want to make ourselves better. One of the ways we improve is through study. Studies generally make us believe we are increasing our knowledge, leading us to a certain, understood, clear world. Just by studying philosophy it brings us closer to the truth.

Sometime after my roommate asked why I would take a philosophy class, I found myself reading a letter titled “Why explore space?” The letter is addressed to Sister Mary Jucunda, whom asked the question why spend billions of dollars on exploring space when there are so many starving children on Earth. Dr. Ernst Stuhlinger, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center’s associate director (1970) responded with several good reasons including a story that took place some 450 years ago. A count lived in a small town in Germany; he was much appreciated because he would give a large part of his wealth to the poor in the town. The letter reads, “One day, the count met a strange man. He had a workbench and little laboratory in his house, and he labored hard during the daytime so that he could afford a few hours every evening to work in his laboratory.” The strange man created small lenses that he used to look at very small creatures under strong magnification. The count amazed by this invited the man to move his laboratory to the castle and to become a member of the count’s household. This angered the townspeople when they realized that the count was wasting his wealth on a purposeless hobby. The people were suffering from plague and were begging for more money. The count promised to give them as much as he could afford, but said that he would also support the man and his work, because he knew someday something would come out of it. Something very good did come out of the man’s work, he invented a simple microscope, the invention that has given the most to medicine, and helped eliminate the plague. So the count, by putting some of his wealth into research helped the people more than directly giving money to them. Using time, money, and effort on things that may seem abstract at the time may lead to incredible things. Studying philosophy is similar to the count’s story, instead of studying more practical topics like language or mathematics studying philosophy will help us answer questions about ourselves that we have been asking for centuries. When we are answer some of these questions, we will know what really matters, again it’ll bring us closer to a certain truth.

Now that I have started to understand the most basic ideas in philosophy, I am better equipped to answer my roommate’s question. I need this class, philosophy teaches something that no other course can. Philosophy teaches you to think for yourself, to be critical of theories, and to be critical of familiar and foreign ideas. Every educated person needs to take a philosophy course so they can understand what they are learning in all other subjects. Philosophy is also intriguing when questions about reality are asked. Questions in the metaphysics branch of philosophy may be the most abstract, but they play an important role in determining what we are. The idea that maybe, none of this actually exists is staggering to think about, but it is fascinating and is something people should think about. Just knowing the little I do about the subject matter of philosophy has caught my interest and will lead to me advancing and taking more courses like this one. My roommate know fully knows why I chose to take this course. I now know why it is essential for any student to take a philosophy class, perhaps even my roommate will take a philosophy course next chance he gets. Philosophy may seem slightly abstract now but in my future I can see myself using it to critically and logically think through situations. The reason why to study philosophy is to make yourself more critical in your pursuit of the truth.


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