Philosophy & Politics Personal Statement
Philosophy is arguably the oldest intellectual discipline, stemming as it does from the basic human need for understanding and it is easy to assume, being as we are constantly bombarded with information and ephemeral distractions, that the search for understanding and meaning in life is either complete or rendered irrelevant by the current culture of attaining meaning through consumption.
This is patently not true.
In fact, at a time when the doctrine of free market fundamentalism has been so catastrophically refuted and the British political elite so thoroughly discredited, it seems that the modern dichotomy between philosophy and the self-serving realpolitik of governance is increasingly untenable.
It is this question of the role, or lack thereof, of philosophic enquiry in modern politics that has inspired me to study philosophy and politics. There are pertinent political questions, such as that of over population and climatic degradation, which require philosophical and ethical consideration as well as philosophical questions, such as those pertaining to the right to die and the medicalization of human mortality, that require political action.
These questions, I feel, show the true relevance of studying both philosophy and politics.
My secondary education was somewhat autodidactic having missed nearly 3 years of school due to illness, which is why I only have 3 GCSE's, but I view this as being a disadvantage only in regards to having not attained the best possible qualifications.
In terms of learning I feel I have gained at least as much from reading in my time out of school as I would have from sitting in lessons, in fact what instigated my interest in philosophy and politics is probably reading Huxley, Kafka and the like many years ago while off school ill.
Studying English and Law at A-level have enabled me to write structured essays and to closely analyse texts as well as remember concepts and names pertaining to them which will certainly help in studying philosophy and politics.
Also my current A-level in Sociology has helped me to critically analyse institutions, orthodoxies and power structures which I feel will be beneficial in studying philosophy and politics.
Reading is a genuine passion of mine and I derive both pleasure and knowledge from it which is of course essential in the pursuit of any academic Degree and I feel that having read many books pertaining to politics, from Machiavelli's The Prince to Chomsky's Hegemony or Survival, and some on philosophy such as Schopenhauer's
On the Suffering of the World and John Gray's writings on political philosophy, that I have an aptitude for the long term study philosophy and politics.
Through studying philosophy and politics I hope to gain a better understanding of the facets of human nature and its place in political discourse as well as the inherent influence the two disciplines have on each other, the philosophical basis of political theory and the socio-political context of philosophical thought.