What is Philosophy?

As philosophers we do many different things and ask many different questions. What am I? How should I live? What will humans be like in the future? How does language work? How can we take care of our planet? Philosophers are not experts in anything but they have the skills and methods that allow them to ask deep and difficult questions about everything!

As we see it at Liverpool, doing philosophy is ultimately a sustained attempt to get to grips with this "deeply puzzling world" (to borrow an expression of Mary Midgley's), to understand it and to understand our place in it. Philosophy is not business; it's personal, more akin to therapy than to science. It's about finding out what is going on and what we are doing here. Can philosophy provide an answer to these questions? We don't know. But philosophy is trying. Perhaps what matters is not that we find an answer, but that we keep the question alive.

We cannot tell you what is right and what is wrong, important or trivial, beautiful or ugly, but we can help you to think about these questions in new and exciting ways and we can help you to understand the responses of some of our most inspiring and creative ancestors and contemporaries. The ability to ask deep and difficult questions, to exist in a state of puzzlement and wonder, and to write clearly, concisely and intelligibly about problems at the limits of human understanding will enrich not just your academic work and career prospects but also your life.

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