Philosophy and Politics Personal Statement Example 4
My interest in Philosophy and Politics evolved as a direct result of both academic and personal circumstances.
From my personal experience as a witness in court, where I received direct support from charities and court officials, I have been drawn into the criminal justice system in a way that exposed its strengths and weaknesses.
I have developed a deep personal interest in how different elements of the legal system reflect (and often fail to reflect) underlying philosophical ideas of justice, as perhaps most famously espoused by Aristotle, Mill in his seminar work 'On Liberty' and later Rawls who described it as 'the first virtue of social institutions'.
The idea of justice and a robust criminal justice system is also a key element of political philosophy, which juxtaposes both academic disciplines. My A level course does not include political philosophy, but I have tested my interest by reading texts by Jonathon Wolff and watching the Harvard lectures on Justice by Michael Sandel.
In the sixth form, to stretch myself beyond the curriculum, I took on an optional extended research project. My topic was a Kantian evaluation of Nagel's concept of Moral Luck, bringing these into conversation with Aristotelian ethics as promoted in a modern form by Macintyre.
This also touched upon the justice system, in the way we praise and blame people. The skills of structuring a larger argument developed in the extended research project have both helped and been strengthened in my philosophy A level course, where I have developed my skills of reasoning, debate, and argument as well as the important skills of effective writing and succinct oral debate.
Economics has enabled me to appreciate the interplay between macro-economic policies that may be used by governments in times of crisis and the micro-economic implications of those policies on individuals. Clearly, economics and politics are inextricably combined in the actions of Chancellors and we see now, in the current crisis, how policies such as the Furlough Scheme are financed and their impact on spending plans.
This has highlighted the trade-off between economic development and political self-interest, as the decision that is the most beneficial for the economy often means that the marginal private benefit exceeds the marginal social benefit, which then demonstrates how societal welfare isn't always the main objective of the government.
This links to the philosophy of economics, which draws attention to the role of ethical values in economic choices, as societal welfare often goes against profit maximisation, which I am looking forward to exploring more at university. Maths underpins economics and its analytical and precise use of tools to solve problems has also helped me and will, hopefully, be helpful in any study of formal logic that awaits me as an undergraduate.
Although I come from a background that would not be able to afford an independent education, I was fortunate enough to earn an almost full bursary to a boarding school for my sixth form. The incredible opportunities I have received has allowed me to extend my learning in ways such as lectures, but it has also made me reflect on the severe inequality in the education system, especially amidst COVID-19, where students who attend private schools have experienced an unfair advantage in the quality of education over the lockdown period.
It ties into my extended research topic, of whether success is down to merit or just moral luck, even down to the families we are born into. Outside of my academic studies, I have organised a charity event for a domestic abuse charity and volunteered at the Days for Girls charity, preparing sustainable menstrual health resources for girls who would otherwise miss school. I am excited about the prospect of attending university and hope that you feel able to support my application.
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I used this statement to apply for Philosophy and Politics, Politics, Philosophy and Law and PPE.
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