Junior Year Philosophy: Cute or Dangerous? By Mike Hills (2013)

This year PPP has reintroduced philosophy to our tri-pronged specialized major. As someone who has grown up in and around the political world, I found philosophy cute, but otherwise impractical. Especially after focusing sophomore year about campaigns and how to legislate, I felt junior year philosophy served no purpose to me.

Well, I was wrong. Philosophy is essential in politics, and in life in general. In dissecting modern philosophers such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and others, I have gained not only a better conception of American democracy but also the mindset and methods of thinking of great thinkers past and present, American and foreign.

Philosophy professors like to tell students the material they wish to convey is “dangerous,” something I did not understand when I was a freshman fulfilling my university core requirements. Now, my conception and analysis of politics will always include philosophy. It is the very thinking behind the seemingly unrelated actions we see going on in the world today.

Somedays, I wonder how I could have been so naive, how I could have dismissed philosophy as impractical and cute. Today, I think my previous thought process was exactly that, impractical and cute.

Perhaps my knowledge has not changed, but rather my way of thinking has expanded. Perhaps this expanded conception of thought and more diverse analytics is precisely what makes PPPers, “dangerous.”

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