Why Philosophy?

By Kyle Durant:

As Assumption bounds forward, university status hangs on the horizon. Announced just weeks ago, the small word change from Assumption College to Assumption University may instill the thought of larger alterations in the day-to-day experience of Assumption students.

However, President Cesareo announced on March 28th at the student forum, that all students, regardless of what school they belong to, will still interact with the schools expansive core curriculum.

The core has spawned various reaction among students, from being too large, to having pointless classes. I’m sure we’ve heard it all from our peers. One question presented often is, why philosophy?

As the core stands now, each student is required to take either two or three philosophy courses, depending on the students interest. This is a hefty requirement, and one which does not exist at many other colleges.

Assumption promotes philosophy as an important subject hosting many philosophical lectures and seminars, most recently, Dr. Francisco Gonzalez and his lecture on “Final Causality Without Teleology in Aristotle”.

Samuel Stoner, a Philosophy Professor at Assumption College sat down with TheAC301 to discuss the nature of philosophy, and its importance to a liberal arts education. Professor Stoner said sometimes students misinterpret philosophy as an, “arid” and, “dry” course when, in fact, philosophy is a, “real living breathing way of thinking and inquiring”.

Although the core is a point of contention among both faculty and students, Professor Stoner insisted, “to receive a full and well-rounded education, sometimes students should be pushed to take classes that are outside of their immediate interests”.

Philosophy is an important and significant class and piece of the core according to Professor Stoner. “The mission of philosophy, in order to inspire a quest for truth in which you achieve freedom, dovetails perfectly with precisely the aims of a liberal education”.

It is in this way, Stoner and other believe the elimination of philosophy from core requirements would be a disservice to each and every student at Assumption. “Philosophy means love of wisdom,” Professor Stoner said, “It’s the sort of love of wisdom that inspires a systematic and rational search for the truth. If philosophy is understood that way, then it seems like all pursuits of knowledge are, in some sense, philosophical”.

Philosophy is a part of everything we encounter in academia. Professor Stoner noted even in middle and elementary school, critical thinking and rationalization play key roles in any sort of learning we are doing. Professor Stoner even went as far as stating, “I could imagine a good high school philosophy class, I think it should be taught more.”

Junior Madison Goodrow, when asked about her opinion of philosophy before and after taking a class, said, “Since it was part of the core you just have to take it, and I immediately fell in love with it… It makes you think differently.”

First-year Mikayla Deboise, who has yet to take a philosophy, said, “I’m hoping that it will change the way that I think about thinking.” She believes philosophy could possibly help, “round you out as a person,” and hopes that her experience in her upcoming semester will be a positive one.”

There are still some on campus who may find philosophy to be a waste of their time. Professor Stoner would say to these students, “I understand why you might think that, but I think you’ll find, once you the class and see what it’s like… that each of us in, and through, philosophy can ask the questions that matter most to us.

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