What is it like to be a philosophy student at Corpus?

As a famous article concludes, it is difficult unless you are a bat to know what it is like to be a bat.  And it is perhaps just as difficult to know what it is like to be a philosophy student at Corpus unless you are or have been one.   But here are some thoughts from recent Corpus students that might help a little.

“For me, studying at Corpus Christi was marked as much for the intellectual stimulation and guidance offered by the professors as it was for the stimulating interactions I enjoyed with my peers. The atmosphere in the college, and the intention of the teaching to promote personal engagement, meant that the trio of undergraduates I was a part of would regularly bristle with interest, opinions and disagreement and it was not unknown that we would stay up talking long into the night. I am very fond of those memories and indeed a great many others from my time at Corpus. The immersion in a world of ideas and intellectualism which went far beyond the parameters of the taught course really made for an experience which I doubt I could have gotten anywhere else.”

“Often our instinct when approaching a piece of philosophy is to criticise, and whilst this of course can be valuable, at Corpus we were encouraged in the more difficult task of first considering what is right about a theory, what insight may be gained from it, what it is for. Answering these questions often proves much harder work than showing a theory’s weaknesses, and the answers are less frequently given in explicit form in the literature – but the task also proves far more illuminating, opening further questions for consideration and paths for exploration. And of course, if criticism can still be levelled when context and purpose have been uncovered, it is likely to be far stronger.”

“Corpus philosophy encourages a certain historical sympathy (that is, a proper understanding and appreciation of, rather than pure reverence for, philosophy of the past) and a sensitive approach to philosophical texts. You learn to read texts slowly and carefully, to try to understand the position that is being presented, and studying a primary text is always recommended before secondary literature. The training at Corpus, I believe, makes you a better philosopher. But in terms of the more immediate concerns of undergraduate study, it also makes you better prepared for the surprises that Tripos can throw up.”

“Doing a Philosophy degree at Corpus also makes you a clearer and more flexible thinker, and gives you an opportunity to question and shape your beliefs around ethics, human nature and language. And the time to do this is while your mind is malleable: before your profession is decided and that role has become your character, not after.”


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