Written by Ilona, Philosophy BA student
A day in the life of a philosophy student can vary immensely. On this particular day I have classes for two different modules, Topics in Political Philosophy: the Ethics of migration, and Kant’s Epistemology and Metaphysics. I love both of these modules; in topics in political philosophy we discuss extremely interesting questions, such as whether it is ever legitimate to hold people in detention centres, if there is a human right to freedom of movement, and the criteria for something to be a human right in general. In Kant’s epistemology and metaphysics, we discuss questions such as: what makes something a necessary truth, the nature of space and time, and the correlation between what we see and what is actually out there in the world.
For each module I have a lecture and a seminar per week, and I take four modules a term. A lecture is a talk done by an academic about the weeks material, and largely consists of listening and taking notes. Whereas a seminar is a much smaller group of around 8-10 people, where you get to properly discuss the material you covered in your readings and in the lecture, which is guided by a seminar leader. The other two modules that I take are environmental ethics and Philosophy of religion, but I don’t have classes for these today. I find them both immensely interesting for different reasons; environmental ethics covers many pressing issues, such as the impact of eating meat on the environment and whether we should care about the environment for ourselves, or because its inherently valuable. Philosophy of religion has allowed me to gain more of an insight into some major religious debates, such as the problem of evil, the ontological argument, and the place for religious experience in philosophy.
For Kant’s epistemology and metaphysics, I have the lecture and a seminar today. This week we were discussing the nature of space and time with reference to Kant. For my Topics in Political Philosophy module I only have the seminar today; the topic we are covering this week is the right to emigrate. However, because my first class starts at 1pm today I decided to head to the library before-hand to finish the set readings that I had been given.
Ten minutes before my lecture was due to start, I headed from the library to the lecture theatre. During the lecture I took notes and wrote down some questions I had in order to ask about them in the seminar. After the lecture I had an hour before my seminar, so I decided to go to one of the many Prets around King’s – the one overlooking the Royal Courts of Justice – to get a snack and go over the lecture material. The view is amazing!
I then went to my Kant seminar, where we discussed whether space was a real phenomenon or something that our mind has made up to make sense of things. Straight after this I had my political philosophy seminar. The questions we discussed were: does a right to emigrate mean you have a right to immigrate? How would the right to emigrate be grounded? And the difference between a moral right, and a legal right.
After this I had two hours before my evening Spanish lesson, which is run by the Modern Language Centre at King’s. I knew that some of my friends were at the vegan café at the top floor of Bush House, so I went to join them. The café has a terrace that overlooks all of London, and I managed to catch the sunset.
Finally, I went to my Spanish lesson. And that’s it! A day in the life of a philosophy student.
If you liked Ilona’s post, check out Aaran’s post on “What careers can you do with a Philosophy degree?”.
You can also learn more about the Philosophy BA course offered by King’s by clicking here.