This archived article was written by: Kevin Vanderspek
Philosophy helps people define what happiness is and sets the road to that happiness. College students need philosophy to set the foundations for the rest of their lives, because at one point, it is them against the world.
The common understanding of what philosophy is, and what it looks like, is deep thinking of life. It is assumed that people who “do philosophy” sit in an office and think about life and ask question about how life is supposed to live. It is possible to sit and read dense books on things like deontological ethics, which is ethics based on obligation, but this is only a part of what philosophy means.
Philosophy is not just deep thought in life’s purpose. The word philosophy comes from two Greek words, Philo, meaning love of, and sophy, meaning wisdom. This does not mean sit with one of Karl Marx’s books so the next day you can destroy capitalism; it is simply thinking before acting. Philosophy is also making a decision on your diet by weighing the benefits against the negativities.
Associate Professor Jennifer Truschka, when asked, gave three reasons. One being understanding how life developed, second philosophy promotes critical thinking skills, third being giving the most important questions to ask ourselves.
With an understanding of how life came to where it is now it is easier to make decisions in the future because a lot of the though needed to get the best answer to current problems has already been done. As an example: skipping a class you have once a week has resulted in lower grades in the past so it is just as likely to result in lower grades now.
Realistically, everyone “does philosophy” because philosophy is just trying to live life a little wiser by using critical thinking about the benefits. College students are at a point in life where they need to use philosophy every day: from if we can skip that nine in the morning class, to asking if you should ask out that good looking kid in biology class.
What is done in college will set the foundations for not only college but also people’s careers: how much money will be made, what parts of the world we will be able to see, how our kids will live, how much money we have to pick where we live, and so much more. Why not make decisions more calculated, by thinking critically, to fit the direction? This sounds cheesy and you have heard it many times but college students are adults and the decisions made here fall on the student, no longer the parent.
As foundations are set, would it not be in the best interest of the student to be able to get what makes them happy? Would it also benefit them decide a path to live their life? Truschka made the extra effort to say that having the questions are more important that the answers. The questions come from self-refection, an example is about what makes a person happy.
Philosophy is important because it allows you to take your thoughts to the next level. The next level being a mind that is capable to produce the consequences of actions before they happen and come up with questions asked above.
Knowing what brings happiness makes the fight against the world a little more bearable and so next time a decision needs to be made think before acting about the outcomes and if those out comes will bring a better understanding of life’s mysteries, while realizing it does not have to be that deep.