Rowan Fisher

Philosophy and Politics, 2015

Rowan Fisher

Philosophy allows you to tackle the big questions that have been argued and debated over hundreds if not thousands of years and still have not met a satisfying end. It’s a discipline that provides the opportunity to not only explore the history of intellectual thought but also be a part of the concurring debate

Rowan Fisher came to an Open Day at Oxford Brookes and was impressed by the emphasis on ‘doing’ Philosophy and the knowledge and expertise of the lecturers in the Politics department.

Philosophy allows you to tackle the big questions that have been argued and debated over hundreds if not thousands of years and still have not met a satisfying end. It’s a discipline that provides the opportunity to not only explore the history of intellectual thought but also be a part of the concurring debate.

When I came for the Open Day here at Brookes the way the philosophy course was described fitted my personal vision of what philosophy should be about. I was attracted to emphasis on ‘doing’ philosophy at Brookes rather than simply learning from a text book. For example, in one module we take part in a Platonic debate using the same process and regulation that would have taken place in Ancient Greece. This emphasis on doing philosophy and ultimately being a philosopher oneself is something that has been a highlight of the course.

Philosophy engages us with the deeply felt, and often dark, personal beliefs held by our fellow humans. I think it’s necessarily to have a suitable environment to feel comfortable to discuss such important topics and beliefs. Brookes certainly provides this as the faculty size is small in comparison with other institutions and it provides a friendliness and warmth that I have experienced nowhere else.

Politics is a subject that is hard to categorize. On one hand, we have the jeers and rhetoric of the House of Commons and, on the other hand, we have the fierce academic debates regarding arguments such as the feasibility of Marxism or whether humans have any natural rights.

I was attracted to studying at Politics at Brookes because of the sheer range of modules and opportunities on offer. When I came to the Open Day I was impressed by the considerable knowledge and expertise within the politics department; I knew it was an environment I wanted to embrace and be a part of.

Personally I particularly enjoy the Politics seminars as the level of enthusiasm from both lectures and fellow students has allowed for countless enjoyable debates. A subject such as Politics with its contingent nature requires context and effective communication which the lectures at Brookes are fantastic at providing.

As a member of Brookes Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society I’ve had bountiful opportunities to go to talks and engage in conversations. For example, the society supported the development of Think Week, an event funded by Richard Dawkins that invites speakers from around the world to share thoughts on some of the most divisive topics and debates.

During my second year we were given the opportunity to teach philosophy in a local school over a period of five weeks. It was a challenging experience to transform philosophical knowledge from a university lecture into a lesson plan that would be tangible to a Year 9 class. But the support we received from our tutor was incredible and ensured the project was a huge success. The extent to which lecturers go above and beyond what is expected is something I am both thankful for and impressed by.

Studying politics and philosophy has allowed me to refine my critical thought and analysis. I’m sure this critical mindset will continue to benefit me in both my prospective career path as well as giving me intellectual development and fulfillment.

I would love to develop my studies further and complete a Masters. In the future I would be interested in working in an area such as policy development for the government.