September 15, 2019 | 68° F

BOZTEPE: Benefits of education in philosophy is far reaching, for all


Opinions Column: Kaanotations


kaanjonboztepe

Everyone has their own philosophy in life, even if they do not realize it. Many people have premises to support whatever it is they believe, whether it be why their favorite soccer team is the best or why they believe aliens exist. Now, I am not saying that every student should be studying philosophy, but I believe that every student should take advantage of the ideas that philosophers have to provide, right here at Rutgers. Throughout this article, I will provide you reasons as to why students at Rutgers should take at least a few philosophy classes and what benefits philosophy has in their lives. 

Philosophy makes a central contribution to the entire spectrum of education. Education in philosophy requires learning critical, evaluative and interpretive skills that can be applied in any subject. Philosophy can pertain to literally any idea or instance in life, and can be a method to support students in any circumstance. The study of philosophy enhances their ability to solve problems as they analyze arguments, organize their ideas and synthesize them into a hypothesis.

If I have not won you over yet, then I suggest you consider the persuasive abilities philosophy has to offer. Philosophy provides the student training in creating clear and well-supported arguments with strong, irrefutable premises. I have seen first-hand how philosophy students and professors build and defend their views, point out flaws in the opposing argument's premises and demonstrate a respect and appreciation for the experience of the argument itself. If that is not a power move, then I do not know what is, quite frankly. 

With quality reasoning skills and substantial experience with varying perspectives, philosophy students develop a second nature toward writing. Writing is extensively taught in most philosophy classes, and teaches students to extract the most important information from challenging texts while using that information to share their support or opposition to the topic. Comparative writing is common in philosophical journals, as many philosophy writers try to share all of the alternative views they can think of in order to show the reader that they are unbiased and fair in their judgement of different ideologies in their dissertations. 

Students in philosophy are encouraged to write with originality and challenge standard philosophical perspectives. Philosophy gives students the tools needed to reach a clearer understanding of difficult texts as they analyze why the author wrote what they did, using the information they deciphered to further strengthen their argument. 

Philosophy allows students to both give and take criticism. It gives students the skills needed to excel in ethics, politics, epistemology, metaphysics and much more. Philosophy gives students the proper balance of self-confidence and humility to declare their position on a subject while also having a way to defend it and explore the possible objections that might arise. The majority of successful nations, economic systems and governments were all built off of the understanding of philosophy and its importance to life and stability. 

Simply put, life is short, and we do not have the answer to everything. But philosophy gives us the grounds to be able to question things that people have deemed as facts for generations. Without philosophy, not enough people would be questioning what is right or wrong in society and how we can better ourselves as time progresses. I believe there is an undeniable stigma around philosophy, and to a certain extent I understand it. Similar to Plato’s analogy of the cave, the cavemen are content with only seeing the reflections on the cave wall rather than going outside and seeing what the world looks like with a more subjective lens.

People fear the questioning of what they know as fact, because believing that most things are certain is much simpler than having to consider that what they deem as facts might just be well-educated guesses. To those who relate to this view, I want to make it clear that I understand the fear of losing what you believe to be fact. But, the more we question, test new theories and search for the “what if” reasoning behind what we believe to be a fact is the closer we get to the truth and progress of humankind. Philosophy is what progressed us to the modern era that we are fortunate enough to live in. Continue to question the truth for the sake of progression and a better understanding of the universe that we are lucky to be a part of. 

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences junior double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," runs on alternate Wednesdays.  

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Kaan Jon Boztepe

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