Philosophy Personal Statement

In a world where religious, political and ethical antagonism is what makes headlines, one wonders what might justify these seemingly irreconcilable views. After all, there seem to be many more than there could possibly be truths. To debate and decide on these concepts which constitute our spiritual life was my reason for choosing the social science programme. But no answers could be found this way it seemed, so if not science was able to judge, what could?

Studying philosophy has made it evident that a functioning enquiry into these notions requires a rigorous analysis of how we think. Logic, semantics and the philosophy of science has proved invaluable in learning to avoid the many dangers of hasty definitions and deductions. Especially Popper's method of falsification has proved greatly useful in my studies, be it psychology or political theory. Simon Blackburn's "Think" gave further evidence of the need of
such an analytical approach. The enquiries of the subjects treated, whether it is epistemology or identity, are clearly dependent on the examination of particular words or phrases, highlighting internal incoherence rather than external evidence. But in his thoughts on free will he seems in the end unwilling to deny individuals being morally responsible in the face
of causality yet unable to give reasons as to why. Perhaps it was left out intentionally due to it being an introduction to philosophy but it does raise the question: If we cannot produce rational arguments for them, should we not abandon our values despite our intuition?

I doubt anyone would abandon them altogether but it does remind us that even the basis of philosophy remain subject to its own pursuit. This is why I consider philosophy important when reading about humanities and social sciences which is also my major leisure activity. Certainly, I have been intrigued by Gasset's "Revolt of The Masses" and Lenin's "Imperialism", but had it not been for a philosophical carefulness I might have turned from reason to the
rhetoric of selective history, economics or politics. Perhaps this is why so many of the analytical tradition have sided with tolerant democratic concepts throughout the history of moral and political philosophy. My interest in economics, however, stems not just from my general passion for human affairs but also from my personal background, my father working as a welder and my mother having used to own a shop, both non-academics and self-employed.

After my second philosophy course at upper secondary school I was allowed to hold introductions for students who had just begun studying the subject. Constructing most thought experiments and examples myself, instead of repeating those of established philosophy, proved challenging but rewarding since I could focus on instigating their curiosity. I was prepared for this having worked as a confirmation assistant for the Church of Sweden in 2005-2007. My duties included arranging and holding lessons which meant taking responsibility for the
progress of the groups as well as organising and participating in the debates it depended on.

For long had I thought of studying abroad and when visiting Scotland during Hogmanay 2009-2010 my choice became clear. The prospect of studying in Scotland spurred me on to achieve an A on the CAE test in order to meet the language requirements. I was also allowed by my principal to take the advanced Maths C course in addition to my ordinary studies to satisfy faculty entrance demands. I finished this course within two months although it is usually taken over two terms. I hope that Scotland will be an integral part of my future studies due to its friendly and academically inclined communities as well as their excellence in philosophy. Studying it has proved immensely rewarding this far and so I believe it will continue being a help in understanding human beliefs and discerning whatever truth there may be to them.

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This personal statement was written by DeGaulle for application in 2011.

DeGaulle's university choices
The University of Edinburgh
University of Glasgow
University of St Andrews

Green: offer made
Red: no offer made

DeGaulle's Comments

I haven't read it one single time after that I submitted it until now, and truth to be told, although not admitted to Edinburgh or St. Andrews which I so hoped for, I am, and will probably in the future remain, content as much as proud of this piece.

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