Threads Philosophy Journal
Relatives and friends seemed somewhat dazed (and some of them perhaps still do) when I first told them I chose Philosophy as a subject to study at undergraduate level. Their eyes silentlyposed the question: ‘And what do you expect to do with Philosophy?’ Today, I answer this question as the German philosopher Martin Heidegger does in his ‘Introduction to Metaphysics’. It may be correct that you cannot really do anything with Philosophy, but it does not follow that Philosophy cannot do anything with you! Heidegger may be correct for various reasons.
Firstly, Philosophy bestows upon its students a unique thinking style and process, encouraging rationality as its underlying principle. Philosophers are often required to have a clear understanding of terms and concepts carefully before proceeding to form conceptual links and more complex notions pertaining to literally anything in life. Thus, I chose Philosophy first and foremost because I enjoy thinking about everything.
As a student, I also never seem to be able to stay put. Focusing exclusively on one branch of knowledge seems to me a dull prospect as it automatically eliminates the wider sphere of whatone may call ‘general’ knowledge. However, in Philosophy, with the very broad spectrum of ideas it encompasses, I found the discipline which satisfies all my intellectual curiosities and extinguishes forever the possibility of academic boredom. From abstract theories to practical everyday life, from existence and knowledge to ethics and politics, from mathematics and natural sciences to language and the arts, and from religion to the internet and virtual reality. All these pertinent aspects of human life are free for exploration in Philosophy, making it seemingly one of the few, or indeed the only discipline to offer such a wide portfolio of knowledge.
The British philosopher Bertrand Russell insists that if the value of philosophy is to be found,this must be in the ‘goods of the mind,’ rather than in material goods. One may argue that Philosophy does not explicitly lead one to become a company CEO or a leader of a successful business. However, it definitely does lead its students to an extremely refined mind-set from which consequently refined thoughts emanate. And a collection of refined minds leads in turn to a refined society, which is surely beneficial for all. This is why I chose Philosophy, and think that at some point in life, everyone should, even if for a short while!
Andrew Debono Cauchi