A letter was published in The Star Online News, called, “Scrap moral studies in favour of Philosophy”, written by Arvin Thurairaj. In that letter, Thurairaj argues that there is not a single academic institution in Malaysia offering a philosophy course at the tertiary level. It is a lamentable state of affairs and he would like to request that the Education Ministry take urgent action to correct the situation. He suggested that the current Moral Studies syllabus be scrapped and replaced with a philosophy module which covers both Eastern and Western philosophical schools of thought.
There is no denying that students should include a Philosophy course in their studies. It gives you the intrinsic reward of thinking carefully and deeply around the world. In other words, seeking an understanding of the world. When you study Philosophy you learn about logic, analytical skills, how to understand things, how to see through other people’s false logic and faulty arguments, and how to find the truth about things.
We should study philosophy because it helps give meaning to life, according to Thurairaj. A well-known quote by the renowned Greek scientist or philosopher, Aristotle, says that “All things in life are philosophical.” It gives us a framework for understanding some of the greatest questions that have occurred to mankind for centuries. These questions connect us to humanity’s past and its future. It also helps ground us in our beliefs. The study of philosophy instills expertise in critical analysis, thinking and problem-solving, empowering students to communicate ideas, logically and compellingly, within a contextual framework of ethics.
According to the Department of Philosophy, Philosophers ask big and tough questions such as what is the meaning of life, how should I live my life, where did the universe come from, does God exist, what is the truth? These are philosophical questions, and philosophy teaches how we might begin to answer them.
Students are taught how to think clearly about arguments and views. Philosophy courses develop a set of analytic reasoning skills that allow students to critique views, develop logical arguments, and make progress towards answering difficult questions. Philosophy students then learn to articulate their views and the reasoning behind them, both verbally in classes and writing. Philosophy students learn to be careful with their language, and the importance of clarity. Students who learn philosophy get a great many benefits from doing so. The tools taught by philosophy are of great use in further education and employment. The most important reason to study philosophy is that it is of enormous and enduring interest. In this department, students can learn how to ask the questions well, and how we might begin to develop responses. Students will also learn to make progress on an idea by approaching topics with an inquiring mind. As the saying goes, “Philosophers are interested in asking whether an idea is logical – rather than simply assuming it must be right because it is popular and long-established”.
In conclusion, Malaysia’s Education Ministry should include a Philosophy course in our academic institution in Malaysia to give students a highly diverse intellectual environment, allowing them to develop into successful individuals due to the multitude of philosophical schools available in both the East and West as described by Thurairaj. “Innovation is seeing what everybody sees but thinking what no one ever thought”, a quote by Joey Yap and I hope that the Malaysian students will use the knowledge of Philosophy to think out of the box and apply and share it to our society.