Philosophy Personal Statement

My interest in philosophy is of long standing, and is, I believe, an expression of my particular turn of mind.  I have always been eager to explore deep meanings, and to evaluate arguments and counter-arguments in the issues that affect the human world, and my mind is always attracted and inspired by puzzles.  Maths and Physics, with their insistence on rigorous and impartial reasoning, have always been my favourite academic subjects, and the ones at which I achieved most success, but I am also keen to study the more human side of philosophy, the nature of ethics, and the whole question of how we know things.  I am a mature student, who has been out of the world of academic study for some time.  My personal and family circumstances meant that it was imperative for me to enter the world of employment after leaving school, but I feel confident that my desire to return to academic study is now informed by a true maturity of though and attitude, which is surely an essential in studying philosophy.

I am particularly interested in the Philosophy of Mind, Metaphysics, and Epistemology.  In the Philosophy of Mind I am a dualist, believing that the mental cannot be reduced to the physical, and that human beings are made up of two quite different components.  In Metaphysics I am a libertarian, believing that free will is incompatible with determinism.  I am a rationalist in Epistemology, having a strong belief that knowledge is possible purely on the basis of thinking.  The Philosophy of Religion also interests me, particularly in the light of current cultural conflicts in which religious belief plays such a large role.  I have read some Kant, Descartes and Hume, and would hope to extend this study to the classical texts, and also to such figures as Rousseau, Hobbes, Locke and Wittgenstein.  I should also like to explore the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mathematics, and develop my interest in ethics and concepts of global justice. Questions of moral responsibility and moral dilemmas are full of philosophical fascination for me.  I have also read several works on current philosophical thinking, including Burwood, Lennon and Gilbert on the Philosophy of Mind, What does it all Mean?, a stimulating and provocative work, Piers Benn on Ethicsand Alexander Bird’s Philosophy of Science.

I have always been a studious and academic person, but not without practicality. Since leaving school in 2003 I have run my own business, marketing electronic products online, which supports me and my younger brothers.  The safety and welfare of my family have always been my first priority and we have weathered some difficult times to reach our present stability.  I also engage in voluntary work in a community library, where I assist those doing research, helping them to find the resources they need.  I work on database management, cataloguing, serials and monograph processing.  This has helped me to develop skills of working with other people, as well as giving me access to numerous books on my own particular philosophical interests.

I have a good academic record, and won a number of awards for academic achievement. I am a meticulous student, attentive to detail and with a strong sense of self-discipline.  I am open-minded, always ready to consider contrary views and to weigh them up.  I love learning for its own sake, and would hope to go on to write a PhD in Philosophy, continue my research and ultimately become a writer on philosophical topics.  I have many ideas to explore and expand.

I believe that my maturity of approach and seriousness of mind, together with my true interest in the history of philosophy and in current philosophical debates, mean that I should make an excellent undergraduate in the subject, and I hope you will consider my application.