Philosophy Personal Statement Example (Transfer student)

I love philosophy because it examines fundamental questions like the meaning of life, morality, and knowledge in a conceptualized way. By assessing different perspectives on the human condition and challenging accepted assumptions, we embrace the complexity of the world we are living in and seek better ways of life.

I am studying Liberal Arts at (my current university) and seeking to transfer to a UK Philosophy program with entry into Year1. My academic experience so far not only acquaints me with a wide range of philosophical theories but also sharpens my skills in close reading and critical thinking.

In general education courses, I have been introduced to major philosophical ideas in modern times. I am fascinated by ideas that challenge the accepted knowledge of the day and bring new understandings of human nature and society, like Kant's idea of universal Moral Law and Bentham's hedonic calculus. The most inspiring figure for me is Foucault, whose genealogical approach taken from Nietzsche brings me a new way of understanding how society is organized. He demystifies the notion of universal knowledge and claims that power and knowledge go hand in hand, making me realize that with power relation fundamentally shaping our society, "truth" is not as transcendental as the Enlightenment thinkers like Kant demonstrated.

Foucault's notion of power in society drives my curiosity to the relationship between the self and others. While reading philosophical texts, I found that this theme has a strong presence in various philosophical areas with different approaches, and I was excited to see new possibilities brought by these differences. I enjoyed reading Judith Butler's interpretation of Levinasian ethics in "Precarious Life, Vulnerability, and the Ethics of Cohabitation''. She points out that ethical relation is prior to any sense of self, and we are constantly called upon by the other with implicit ethical demands silently imposed by the very presence of others' bodies. However, in philosophy of mind, a different approach is taken. Supported by empirical studies in psychology and neuroscience, the Perception-Action Model proposed by Prestona and de Waalb explains a possible mechanism of empathy, providing me with a more analytic and scientific perspective of how and why we react to others' suffering. By studying responses from different approaches-- one more introspective and one more scientific-- I realize that the introduction of scientific methods could expand the horizon of philosophical studies and bring novel answers to enduring philosophical questions.

My skills in critical thinking also provide me with a solid foundation for studying philosophy. I am able to construct my own argument and analyze complex ideas based on first and secondary resources. In my paper on Kant's essay "Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmopolitan Point of View", I argued that Kant's assumption for progressing towards a cosmopolitan federation is problematic as he oversimplifies the relationship among nations. In addition, the symbolic logic class I will take this semester will also improve my logical thinking before I start my degree in Philosophy in September.

I want to transfer to a UK university mainly because of my academic interest. Besides necessary training in core areas of philosophy like ethics and metaphysics, I also want to explore aesthetics, continental philosophy (especially critical theory) and feminist philosophy, which are not regularly taught at (my current uni's) Philosophy Department. Additionally, with safety concerns in the US, I prefer studying in the UK.
With the desire for an examined life, I want to take on my journey in philosophy, and I am confident that my inquisitiveness and relevant experience render me a competent candidate for a Philosophy program.

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Author's Comments

I'm an international student studying at a US uni and seeking to transfer to the UK.
In high school, I got five 5s (Calculus BC, Macroeconomics, Microeconomics, Statistics, Chemistry) and three 4s (Human Geography, Physics 1, Environmental Science) in AP, 1470 in SAT, and two 790s in SAT Subject ( Math Level II and Chemistry).
When I submitted the application, my GPA in uni was 3.89/4.0

Applied: UCL, Kings, St. Andrews, Warwick, Edinburgh
Offer: conditional offer from Warwick and unconditional offer from UCL, Kings, St. Andrews, and Edinburgh


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