The importance of teaching philosophy in schools

Most people in this day of age, including teachers and curriculum writers, have forgotten the importance of philosophy in the education system. Philosophy seems to have been placed on the back burner, reserved only for the college students who specialize in that area of the Arts and Humanities to pick up when they’re ready. Some speculate that it’s because philosophy doesn’t provide tangible products compared to business or medicine, both of which yield money and respect. Who has ever heard of a philosopher earning the Nobel Peace Prize or striking it rich with an article they wrote?

The point is our society has become so driven on attaining tangible rewards that it has forgotten the true worth in education. A hundred years ago, education was valued so highly that people would starve themselves in order to just get into a classroom for a half a year. Knowledge was something that everyone wanted; no matter the means it took to achieve it. Today, people are just cruising through school with one thing on their minds: money. What career can I choose that will make me most successful? What path should I take that will have the biggest payout?

Money is important, that fact is definitely granted. However, money should not be sought after at the expense of an enriching education. Philosophy specifically is one of those branches of education that seems to be pushed away because it’s not a money-making field. The idea of people sitting in a classroom and thinking about one five-worded phrase for an hour a day will have most skeptics laughing.

But it’s not the tangible products that philosophers or their students are after. It is recovering what the meaning of life, education, love, happiness, or anything else that a person might feel or experience. Philosophers strive to learn and teach what these ‘simple’ experiences are really providing and how they can be attained.

If it weren’t for philosophy, we would not have the diversity we do today in various avenues. For example, without the five key philosophies of education, every teacher in the world would be teaching the same concepts at the same time in the same way every day. That statement alone would send chills down the spines of the school children today. Similarly, without the hundreds of musical philosophies, there would be no genres of music. Even within the genres, there are minute differences in the way composers and song writers think and convey that through their music.

Teaching students philosophy and how to interpret it is also a chance to teach them to have a voice. Have you ever been in an argument with someone who reads philosophy or at least knows enough about it to refer to it? You can’t get around them no matter what you say. Philosophy teaches eloquence through speech, argument, research, speculation, or anything else that leads to an enriching life. Businesses are now showing an interest in philosophy majors simply because the ways these young graduates are thinking would provide the business with insight to various markets.

Without philosophy, our world would be bland, colorless, and without anything that catches the eye. Before you start bashing philosophy and why it’s included in the school curriculum, think back to when you were a kid and you were always asking the question, ‘Why?’ You’ll then see that everyone is born a philosopher. Why not nurture and cultivate a more enriching generation?