Maths and Philosophy Personal Statement
In order to use logic successfully, one must discover truths, otherwise the solutions are generally useless. The natural sciences are committed to discovering truths so that we may better understand and improve the world. Mathematical solutions are clear and concise because the methods of proof are so rigorous. This same level of dedication is rarely seen in the study of the social world, although there are notable exceptions such as the theory of reciprocal altruism. Of course, the lack of any laws in the social sciences is fairly understandable humans are far too complex. Therefore, I am often concerned when politicians justify their unpopular decisions using ideological dogma; all with the assumption that their authority is legitimate. Other than sparking a profound interest of philosophy in me, Bertrand Russell's "The Problems of Philosophy" helped me realise that people must challenge the most basic assumptions, if one desires progression and values the truth. In choosing a combination of maths and philosophy, I hope to pick up skills which will help me discover and then challenge such assumptions.
It's difficult to articulate why I enjoy maths. What probably started off as simple joy and satisfaction in solving mathematical problems has developed into a deeper appreciation of the outstanding depth and variety it offers. Whether it's used by linguists in the study of human language or by a family maintaining their finances, maths can be applied to nearly all aspects of life. Therefore, I see maths not only as something which I generally enjoy studying but as something which I am eager to understand so that I too can contribute to society. Although I greatly appreciate what I have learned about maths from my education thus far, I feel like I have only scratched the surface.
I have often had quasi-philosophical thoughts such as 'what is the meaning of life', probably like most people. It was only recently that I had decided to venture into the more academic aspect of philosophy. The very fact that human thought and reflection can generate fantastic ideas such as Descartes' 'evil demon' is inspiring, on its own. I admire the rationale behind philosophical arguments and the little time it has for assumptions. Admittedly, however, my grasp on philosophy is basic; often the text is too dense or just generally beyond my understanding. I hope studying philosophy at university will help me develop the skills to comprehend such creative ideas and allow me to agree/disagree using logical arguments.
In addition to my studies, I enjoy listening to a wide variety of creative music that ranges from 19th century classical to modern day experimental rock. Whether it's Miles Davis or Radiohead, as long as music provokes some emotion, it will always play a valuable role in my life. I also enjoy playing and following sports especially football. In secondary school I was a member of the school basketball team. We did well in local tournaments but what I value most is the sense of camaraderie and teamwork amongst people who in normal circumstances would not even converse with one another.
My main intellectual interest relates to current affairs and the injustices committed by governments/corporations across the world. Corporate globalisation, global warming, war, wealth/income inequality are among the many issues that concern me. Challenging institutions that contribute to such injustices is not only important but a duty to those privileged enough to go to university.
This personal statement was written by euroits for application in 2009.
Birmingham, University of;
Sheffield, University of;
York, University of (twice).
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