Why do some people study philosophy
What do you learn in philosophy studies?
Philosophy is about questions that concern us as humans in a particularly fundamental way. What is knowledge What is truth What is time What is science and what is pseudoscience? What is good, what is bad, and why? Why is the beautiful beautiful, and is it also beautiful when nobody is looking? What is possible and what is impossible? Are we free to do what we want and can we want what we want? Are we responsible for our actions? And how do we best deal with this responsibility?
There is hardly any philosophical textbook knowledge. So you will learn very little by heart in your philosophy studies, but you will train your ability to think your own precise and analytical thinking. A clear and structured handling of texts as well as the critical evaluation of arguments are just as essential for good philosophizing as creativity and independence. You are asked to ask fundamental questions and to check the foundations of existing theories and positions again and again.
The texts that are read in philosophy studies are often anything but easy. They resist quick understanding, and dealing with them requires patience and persistence. You can get a first impression of this by taking a look at the following texts.
- Aristotle, excerpt from the Nicomachean Ethics
- Kant, KrV, introduction B
- We reproduce the text of the Critique of Pure Reason for you here in the page number of the Academy edition; the text is made freely available on korpora.org. In the scientific community it is customary to quote the criticism of pure reason according to the original page count of the first edition from 1781 (A) or the second edition from 1787 (B). The introduction to the second edition reproduced here has the page number B43-89.
- Thank God Frege, About meaning and meaning
Thomas Müller (professor in the department):
I am happy to have arrived here at the Konstanz department after many years abroad, and I really appreciate its friendly atmosphere. After waving back and forth between the natural sciences and philosophy for a long time, I was ultimately more interested in the fundamental questions. In my research I can now combine both approaches, and I find that exciting. According to the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars, the main task of philosophy is to bring two images of people - an everyday, lifeworldly and an external, scientific one - into congruence. How this is supposed to work is a question that is worth working on; philosophy must always reassure itself of its methods. In any case, many philosophical questions open up to me particularly well against the background of the idea of these two images, such as the question of how we as biological beings can act deliberately and for reasons. This question speaks to both images. An honest answer to them must take this into account, so it must not ignore any of the images. But how do you leave both images in their right, without falling into neuroscientific scientism or philosophical whispers? It remains difficult. Take part!
Dina Emundts (former professor in the department):
If you want to study philosophy, you should be interested in philosophical topics, questions and texts and have the willingness and power of concentration to deal with them long and intensively and to discuss them. In Konstanz you can do that particularly well in my opinion, because the atmosphere is very good and constructive, there is great joy in debating with each other and many different philosophers from the history of philosophy and the present are treated.
Verena Wagner (member of the department):
The nice thing about philosophy is that there are no hierarchies in the matter. What counts are the arguments that can be put forward for a thesis, and sometimes a single counterexample is enough to destroy firmly believed doctrines and recognized theories. This makes philosophical technology a universally applicable tool that is not tied to specific content. Practicing philosophy ultimately means developing your own analytical skills, recognizing the important questions and, ideally, gradually approaching an answer. How to come to have good or even better arguments, to ask the right questions and to think analytically is what you learn in philosophy studies. This can be learned particularly well at the University of Konstanz, because many good people from research work here and it is particularly important to be in contact with the students.
The philosophy course in Konstanz
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