Why Take Philosophy in High School?


The School of Athens by Rafael in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City. The School of Athens is owned by the Vatican.

What can students learn from this subject, and how can it change their perception of the world?

The Benefits

Philosophy can give students the ability to think about and question difficult topics. However, the topics are not always presented in typical high school subjects. This is important for student development inside as well as outside the classroom.

A philosophy course teaches the importance of making valid arguments, understanding logic and truth and questioning major and controversial topics.

For secondary education, this subject could be useful in developing a student’s academic and intellectual mindset. Still, philosophy is not a required subject in U. S. secondary education.

A Missed Opportunity

English, history, science, and mathematics are the main subjects in junior high and high school classes. However, some foreign countries require philosophy. In these countries, secondary students take it as a senior-level class.

American students are missing out on the opportunity to strengthen their critical thinking skills and the chance to question certain topics in an academic environment. 

Philosophy can be an introduction into a student’s curiosities about life and the world. The subject opens up to discussions concerning morality, free will, purpose, the existence of God or the existence of evil and so on.

Just the Basics

A student does not need to read the vast philosophical literature of the classical Greeks or the modern philosophers because these philosophers contribute their part to understanding viewpoints about the world and the human condition. 

Of course, they should be studied, but philosophy truly begins with individual curiosity and exploration, not by reading the great thinkers that came before. That should come later. Firstly, start by asking a question or two.

Philosophy allows a student to think, question, discover, giving that person the chance to think critically on difficult topics. It allows the student to create a logical or sound argument in order to defend the reasons why students would think this or believe that.

Wrapping Up

Philosophy is not an easy way to understand the world. It presents opinions from different people on complicated topics. Yet, that should not persuade people to turn their backs on the subject. 

Philosophy is not always looked upon with great enthusiasm. Students are exposed to ideas that are not necessarily comfortable or easy to talk about. Anything from the ranging levels of morality in abortion to even political philosophy. It may not always be apt to discuss certain subjects in a high school setting.

Philosophy is not an easy subject. It is a long line of complicated and controversial ideas. There is always going to be opposition to someone’s claim. That does not mean that students should take the class.

When high school students do not engage with philosophical topics, they miss a specific developing a level of thinking. Teachers can not offer or replace this critical thinking with other subjects. 

Philosophy should be put alongside the other important subjects. It should be holding a place in developing future students in academic and individual ways. Because, in the end, the point of philosophy is to find truth through critical thinking and questioning of the world.