A Conversation with a Philosophy Student, a CustomPapers Customer

Hello Rene. How do you define philosophy?

To me, philosophy is the study of the intercession between the intellectual, the spiritual and the sociological. The individual units of the study are the thousands of documents to our evolution as a species as channeled through the greatest thinkers, observers and writers of the past. Together, the volumes of literature which have been left to us in evidence of our gradual approach to our current capacity for ingenuity amount to a body of knowledge which is delivered to each of us at our selected pace. This means that with each succeeding generation, the potential exists for the best and brightest to commence toward intellectual enlightenment with the revelations of all preceding generations to advance them. So essentially, philosophy is the study and advancement of human intellectual growth.

In what ways do your studies benefit your everyday life?

One of the thing that I enjoy the most about philosophy is that helps me to make decisions that are logically and morally sensible. Without preaching any conformity to a specific list of 'right' and 'wrong' ways of behaving, the field arms us with the tools to properly assess the situations and dilemmas in our daily considerations. By referring unconsciously to the many examinations of human morality, natural rights, personal justice and social pressure which the philosophy discipline has brought to my attention, I have found it more instinctively easy to determine and act upon that which I have found to be 'right.' This accounts for decisions I have made in my early personal relationships, my spiritual disposition and my professional aspirations.

Who is your favorite philosophical thinker and why?

It is tough to narrow it down to just a single thinker. I admire men like Voltaire and Nitzsche, who were willing to stake their reputations and their livelihood on asking some pretty serious questions. Sometimes impugning the religious, social and economic structures of their times and places, these men were important not just for the ideas they introduced to our discourse but for their admirable boldness in the face of powerful institutionalized thought. Still, above all others, I think that perhaps Benjamin Franklin is my favorite of history's great thinkers. The renaissance man of an infant America, his knowledge, insight and innovation helped to make the country great and brought a whole host of new ideas to the world.

What intrigues you most about the nature of the philosophy discipline?

The more I learn and read, the more struck I am by how one question begets another in an almost endless cycle of intellectual probing. I am intrigued at how philosophy does as much to reveal my ignorance as my knowledge. It is important that one of the first things you are expected to learn before you can really engage this broad field of study is that the more you know, the better you should come to recognize how little you really know in the relative scheme of things. Each answer breeds exponentially more unanswered questions, rendering philosophy an ongoing and constantly changing pursuit of knowledge.

What, if anything, would you change anything about the way that philosophy is taught?

Many of the philosophy courses which I have taken have tended to focus primarily on the use of literature as a vehicle to promoting a greater understanding of the fundamentals. And in many ways, this is sensible. The doctrines composed by important thinkers from the past are perfect foundational devices for instilling a basic understanding of the purpose and value of philosophy. However, as one comes more to understand its nature, one also comes to appreciate how important open discussion is to the process as well. Nothing can replace the value of encouraging the free expression of one's ideas, which will invariably produce response from other students in a classroom setting. By creating an atmosphere in which students are expected to express and defend viewpoints, the collective can earn a better understanding of the true path by which new ideas are formed.

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