Philosophy is a systematic critical inquiry into profound, fascinating and challenging questions, such as the following:
- What is it to be human?
- Do we have free will?
- What do we mean when we say something is right or wrong?
These abstract questions arise out of our everyday experiences, and philosophical tools such as critical and systematic thinking, careful analysis, and construction of arguments provide the means of addressing such questions. The practice of philosophy deepens and clarifies our understanding of these questions, as well as our ability to formulate possible responses.
Studying philosophy provides an opportunity for students to engage with some of the world’s most interesting and influential thinkers. It also develops highly transferable skills such as the ability to formulate arguments clearly, to make reasoned judgments and to evaluate highly complex and multifaceted issues. The emphasis of the Diploma Programme philosophy course is on “doing philosophy”, that is, on actively engaging students in philosophical activity. The course is focused on stimulating students’ intellectual curiosity and encouraging them to examine both their own perspectives and those of others.
Students are challenged to develop their own philosophical voice and to grow into independent thinkers. They develop their skills through the study of philosophical themes and the close reading of a philosophical text. They also learn to apply their philosophical knowledge and skills to real-life situations and to explore how non-philosophical material can be treated in a philosophical way. HL students also engage in a deeper exploration of the nature of philosophy itself.
In addition to the philosophy section in the school library, the Humanities department has its own well-resourced Philosophy library, from which students can borrow a wide range of primary and secondary philosophical texts.
Enrichment material widely available for students of philosophy of particular use are:
You will find some very interesting and highly relevant podcasts from the BBC: In Our Time series at https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01f0vzr, from the University of Oxford at https://www.philosophy.ox.ac.uk/podcasts#collapse392551 and the Philosophy Bites podcast at https://philosophybites.com/.
The philosophy section of the Guardian newspaper’s website https://www.theguardian.com/world/philosophy will often contain some interesting articles to read.
‘Crash Course: Philosophy’ on YouTube may also be of some use: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8dPuuaLjXtNgK6MZucdYldNkMybYIHKR
Your teacher may well have set you some work via SMH, please check this first. If this has not been possible take the time to explore some of the enrichment links above.