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- by Charlotte King
- In Courses
Posted April 28, 2023
Why Study Philosophy? The Art of Critical Thinking
Philosophy is an ancient field of study that has remained relevant for centuries. Since the very beginnings of academia, philosophy has helped shape the very nature of our knowledge, reality and existence; and continues to provide a guiding principle for human behaviour.
Studying philosophy may seem abstract, but like many social science subjects, this discipline offers valuable skills that are applicable to many professions, academic settings and everyday life
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the many reasons to study philosophy. We’ll cover skills you’ll learn that are applicable to the workplace, academia, and day to day situations.
Develop critical thinking skills
Critical thinking is one of the most valued skills in any profession or academic environment. In philosophy, this is a fundamental skill that students develop throughout their studies. No matter where you study philosophy, or at which level, critical thinking will be highly encouraged throughout the program.
Philosophers use a systematic approach to analyse and evaluate different arguments and viewpoints, enabling students to evaluate ideas with logic and reasoning. By honing their critical thinking skills, students become better problem-solvers and decision-makers. This is particularly encouraged in postgraduate philosophy courses.
Philosophy students become familiar with identifying, analysing and solving complex problems, a skill that is highly valued in practically every industry and field of work. For example, let's say that a philosophy student is interested in pursuing a career in business. In their philosophy studies, they learn to evaluate complex arguments, identifying their strengths, weaknesses and gaps in knowledge; a vital skill in business that can help assist decision-making.
Students also learn to evaluate real-world evidence and make sound judgments based on their findings. These skills are highly transferable to the business world, where critical thinking and logical reasoning is crucial for making sound decisions.
Suppose the student is presented with a problem in their future job that requires them to analyse different perspectives and come up with a solution that benefits all parties involved. They can draw upon the critical thinking skills they developed in their philosophy degree to identify the underlying assumptions and values at play, evaluate the evidence, and come up with a well-reasoned solution.
Gain a deeper understanding of society
Philosophy helps students gain a deeper understanding of society and human behaviour. By examining the assumptions and values at the very core of society's structures, philosophy teaches valuable abilities to understand different perspectives of the world around us.
For instance, studying political philosophy exposes students to the ethical and moral principles that form the foundation of government and political systems. Understanding these principles helps students become informed citizens who can actively participate in society.
Through studying political philosophy, students gain a deeper understanding of these issues and the principles that underpin them.
Learn persuasive skills
The study of philosophy also helps develop persuasive abilities. This skill is invaluable in various domains, such as law, business and politics. Throughout your studies, you'll acquire the expertise to construct logical and compelling arguments, recognising and demonstrating logical reasoning and effectively articulating your thoughts.
By studying philosophy at either undergraduate or postgraduate level, you’ll learn these skills through a range of academic activities; such as essay writing, group discussions and independent research projects.
Develop ethical decision-making skills
Ethics is a crucial aspect of philosophy, and studying it can help students develop ethical decision-making skills. Philosophers examine ethical theories and evaluate real-world ethical dilemmas, helping students understand the importance of making sound moral judgments. By studying ethics, students learn how to act in accordance with their values and make ethical decisions that positively impact their lives, workplace and society.
Enhance writing and communication skills
One of the main reasons to study philosophy is the opportunity it gives students to improve writing and communication skills. Writing forms an integral part of any philosophy course, whether at undergraduate or postgraduate level.
Students are assigned essays and literature reviews, and are required to analyse philosophical texts – all of which help develop valuable writing skills.
Philosophers write about complex ideas in a clear and concise manner, helping students learn how to articulate their ideas effectively. In philosophical writing, it’s encouraged to present theories and viewpoints based on concrete examples. This gives students a good opportunity to develop persuasive writing skills.
Writing and communication skills are highly valued in almost every field of work, making philosophy graduates desirable to employers.
Preparation for graduate studies
Studying philosophy at undergraduate level is an excellent preparation for graduate studies in many fields, including law, business, and philosophy itself. Many philosophy graduates go on to pursue advanced degrees and careers in academia, research and policymaking.
It is a broad subject that encompasses a wide range of themes and concepts that interlink with other disciplines, and as a result, it’s fairly common for graduates to study a related subject at postgraduate level.
For example, as a social science subject, philosophy is closely related to disciplines like history, linguistics and politics. This makes philosophy a great subject that prepares students for further study.
Study from anywhere in the world
Philosophy offers the opportunity to study from anywhere in the world. As a discipline that primarily deals with abstract concepts and theories, philosophy knows no geographical or cultural bounds. Philosophical works are widely available across the globe through books, journals and online publications.
Online philosophy programs provide students with the flexibility to study at their own pace and from anywhere in the world. This makes it possible for people who cannot attend traditional in-person university classes to obtain a degree in philosophy – an ideal choice for anybody with ongoing commitments such as work or family.
Versatility in career opportunities
Studying philosophy opens up a wide range of career opportunities, including law, politics, journalism, education, business and more. The skills and knowledge gained from studying philosophy are highly transferable and can be applied in many different fields, making philosophy graduates versatile and desirable in the job market.
Studying philosophy will develop your skills in critical thinking, organisation, communication, writing, adaptability and many more. On top of this, you’ll have an impressive understanding of the world around you, bringing great interpersonal skills to any work environment. Employers will value your ability to think critically and independently, as well as being able to bring new ideas and perspectives to the table.
The majority of philosophy graduates don’t pursue careers as philosophers, instead, applying their skills to fields including law, education, journalism, marketing, government, business, social services, public relations, and many more areas.
However, that’s not to say that it isn’t possible to pursue a career as a philosopher or professor. If this is something that interests you, you might want to explore studying a PhD in Philosophy.
Improve research and analysis methods
If you enjoy carrying out independent research, you’ll probably enjoy studying philosophy. Most philosophy degrees are research intensive, helping students develop sound methods of academic research and analysis. The study of philosophy itself enhances our ability to develop hypotheses, formulate research questions, and break down complex problems into manageable pieces.
Philosophical thinking promotes the development of clear and precise formulation of ideas and problems, the selection of relevant data, and objective methods of evaluating ideas and proposals for researchers.
Those who study philosophy often develop a strong ability to research, analyse and evaluate complex topics; a valuable skill that transfers to a wide range of disciplines and professions.
Studying philosophy offers a huge range of benefits, including the development of critical thinking skills, gaining a deeper understanding of societal structures, learning persuasive skills, improving writing and communication abilities, and more.
Above all, what makes philosophy such a great field of study is its versatility and development of transferable skills, making it a valuable investment in your education and career.
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