What is the Essence Of Studying Philosophy?

What is the essence of studying philosophy? I want to believe a couple of persons would have posed this kind of question to you either directly as we have it here or indirectly such as “… but philosophers do not believe in God…” “What can you do with philosophy?” and so on.

Well, my aim on this page is not to give answers to your puzzles or questions, but rather to throw more light on the necessity and the good that is embedded in the study of philosophy.

One good reason why you should take your study of philosophy seriously is that, through the study of philosophy, you will imbibe certain basic skills and these skills and abilities that are learned or acquired are transferable, not just to other academic disciplines, but also to other endeavours.

The reason for this is majorly because of the breadth of philosophy, it has a bearing on just about every subject or profession, that is, it touches on so many other subjects.

Another reason for this is that, the philosophical methods can be applied to other areas of intellectual accomplishment. Recent studies have also shown that student with strong backgrounds in the liberal arts (this refers to a giving of disciplines that in western culture are considered essential for adequate education and civic participation e.g., Arts, English, Foreign languages, History and so on) in general, and philosophy in particular, do so much better than one might expect in the job market. 

Indeed, these skills which we will discuss shortly have been adjudged as absolutely essential for success in virtually all the career paths especially in today’s information age.

They are also transferable skills because they are not job specific and so you can take them from one setting of job to the other. This is especially important given that in your career/profession, you may find yourself in different jobs in three to five different fields.

Hence, the skills help prepare you to be a  life-long learner both professionally and personally. They can also combine to give you personal satisfaction while pursuing just any area of interest such as entrepreneurship, politics, reading, writing, a social critic among others.

Aside the pecuniary or ‘bread and butter’ essence of philosophical study, one of the utmost values lies in the habits of thought it inculcates and we imbibe, the breadth of vision it encourages, and the perspective it gives us on ourselves, our activities and our lives among others.

The concerns of philosophy are truly abstract but that is one of its hall marks and its interest and values are found in helping us to have a deeper, better and broader understanding of ourselves and our world, that we otherwise would not have.

It also instills in us a newer approach to our lives and how we relate to others by constantly encouraging a lifelong habit of reflection on them.

The study of philosophy equally broadens one’s intellectual horizons and it helps one develop a sense of one’s intellectual roots. By so doing, it makes one’s thinking genuinely free and less servile.

According to the authors of the American philosophical Association in their 1992 publication titled “The Philosophy Major” captures the essence of philosophy thus: 

The study of philosophy serves to develop intellectual abilities important for life as a whole beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession properly pursued, it enhances analytical, critical and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject- matter, and in any human context.

It cultivates the capacities and appetite for self-expression and reflection for exchange and debate of ideas, for life-long learning, and for dealing with problems for which there are no easy answers.

It also helps to prepare one for the tasks of citizenship. Participation in political and community affairs today is all too often insufficiently informed, manipulable (sic) and vulnerable to demagoguery. A good philosophical education enhances the capacity to participate reasonably and intelligently in public life.

The study of philosophy cannot be overemphasized; it increases in a tremendous way, one’s intellectual powers and as a result gives one a better leverage to apprehending the real essence of human life, man place in it, human action and human thought.


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