The leaf blowing in the wind simply moves with the wind. It does not ask why. To live an examined life, to do Philosophy, on the other hand is to ask why. It is to seek wisdom about the workings of the world around us, about our own minds and selves, and the interaction between us and the world. In time certain questions and answers coalesce into a field of their own and a new science is born. What remains with Philosophy, as Philosophy, are the empirically intractable‚ big questions: what is being, what is knowledge, how should we act, how should we govern ourselves, etc.
In today’s world when technology has given us unbridled power over the world it may seem that there is no place for philosophical examination. It may seem we have everything we need and science and technology are all that is required to fulfill any future needs or desires. But, it is precisely when our successes threaten to cloud our vision that we need Philosophy the most. Even for our scientific knowledge and technological prowess to lead us to our rationally desired ends we must rationally examine the ends we desire.
While Philosophy is the oldest of all disciplines, the Department of Philosophy is the newest of all departments at Ramanujan College established in 2016. Our department may be in its infancy but we attempt to impart to our students the maturity, and the reason and foresight, to not only flourish in the world as they find it but to question it. Our students are taught to examine their deepest held beliefs and their strongest felt desires. They learn to seek clarity, to think rationally, to think analytically. They learn to question uncritically held assumptions and seek answers beyond them. In this way we hope our students may not be just leaves in the wind, but by learning to question the world as they find it we hope they learn to if need be form it the way it should be.