The past may seem fixed when in fact it is transient. I have always had a great interest in history, and my study at school has led me to understand that it is more than just a study of the past. It is about how the past impacts the present and the future and how it shapes society. History is one of the main passions in my life. Having enjoyed studying history throughout my studies, I have come to love studying primary sources to gain an understanding of how it was to live in another time, and by studying accounts of broader historical events, I’ve learnt and understood what humanises major historical events for us. As someone who is instinctively curious about the past and its relationship with the present, the study of History satisfies my desire to understand how the world took shape and why we are where we are. I am intrigued by human interaction and how individuals and groups have an impact on their broader communities, events and consequently, how history is written and remembered.
Philosophy may begin in marvel, but analytic skills and critical thinking are required to develop this into rational thought. It is this skill that I wish to gain from studying history and philosophy at university, to learn the tools needed for the critical examination of other people’s thoughts and ideas, and to structure and develop them into my own ideas. The combination of History and Philosophy, therefore, seems to me a diverse and rewarding discipline in which to pursue my interests in both the past and present within an arduous and detailed framework. Whenever we examine the past it seems as if philosophy and history are inextricably linked together – it’s no surprise for instance that arguably one of the greatest philosophers of, Aristotle, tutored one of history’s most prolific conquers, Alexandra, wars are often fought for ideologies, coloured and shaped by history; ideologies that start off as questions we have about the world.
It was during my AS year that I first became interested in Philosophy as an academic subject. I was able to read and critically examine some of the major arguments for the existence of God. However, I soon found myself expanding my reading beyond the curriculum into different areas of philosophy such as metaphysics and ethics. I am particularly interested in the political philosophy of John Stuart Mill and Thomas Paine. I have also been profoundly affected, among other works, by Descartes ‘Meditations’ as it challenges some of our most basic assumptions. Additionally, I have developed the ability to identify and avoid various logical fallacies: through my reading of Wittgenstein, A.J. Ayer, and Bertrand Russell I have learned how easy it is to be misled and deceived by language, especially in the subject of philosophy.
Philosophy has enabled me to explore an array of different philosophical theories which have made me extremely inquisitive about the great thinkers of the past and their historically ground-breaking views, this has helped me understand ideology and the concepts that shape history. Classical Civilisations was a great fit with my interests, helping develop my writing along with providing an ancient perspective on modern issues. History and Philosophy have equipped me with excellent communication skills, both written and oral, the ability to study and summarise complex material and construct innovative and well thought out solutions to ethical issues.
At university, I will strive to deepen my understanding of the world, and therefore wish to follow in a tradition, one that encompasses the spirit of what it is to be human. As Socrates so fittingly said “the more I learn, the more I realise that I know nothing.” It is therefore my aim that, after all of the effort that I put into my studies, I may, by the end, know something.