AB in Philosophy in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy (AB-PHILO) is a four year degree program that provides students with the understanding of different philosophical theories regarding human nature, society, civilization, culture and religion. The AB-PHILO program teaches students how to analyze philosophical arguments and texts, construct good arguments and present arguments in a logical way. It also has special emphasis on Philippine culture, arts, politics, and folkways.

AB-PHILO is a good preparation for further studies in fields such as theology, law or business.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the AB Philosophy curriculum are divided into five main categories:
  • General Education Subjects: Language and Humanities Cluster, Mathematics, Computer and Natural Science Cluster, Social Sciences Cluster, Mandated Subjects
  • Core Subjects: Introduction to Philosophy, Formal Logic, Philosophy of Person, History of Philosophy, Philosophical Anthropology, Philosophy of Religion, Rationalism and Empiricism, Aesthetics (with Art Appreciation), Theorizing Enlightenment and Modernity, Philosophy of Science, Narrative Philosophy, Filipino Philosophy, Literature as Philosophy, Analytic Philosophy, Biomedical Ethics
  • Major Subjects: Metaphysics, Epistemology, Scholasticism, Social and Political Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Phenomenology and Existentialism, Philosophical Research, Ethical Systems, Chinese Philosophy, American Philosophy, Dialectical Materialism, German and French Critical Theory, Ancient Philosophy, Medieval Philosophy, Modern Philosophy, Contemporary Philosophy, Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Existentialism, Advance Logic, Asian Philosophy, Indian Philosophy, Legal Philosophy, Phenomenology, Political Philosophy, Tribal Philosophy, Women in Philosophy
  • Seminar Courses: Philosophy Seminar Course I and II
  • Research Courses: Philosophical Research I and II

The AB-PHILO program is taught to students through classroom lectures, educational talks and seminars. From time to time, students are also required to attend debates.

As a requirement for graduation, students are required to write a Research Paper under the guidance of a faculty adviser. Upon completion of the paper, the student defends his/her work infront of a panel of judges.

Is Philosophy considered a profession?

Philosophy is not considered a profession. A graduate of this program will usually need to complete a graduate course in order to find any kind of professional occupation. Non-professional employment maybe attainable to Philosophy graduates, but that is true for any bachelor’s degree, and Philosophy is not an advantage. Typical paths that Philosophy graduates take are Law, Theology, and Masters in Philosophy (which can lead to an academic career).

What are the admission requirements for the AB in Philosophy program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but generally are the basic college admission requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the college entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college dean/faculty.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Love for reading – expect that when you study this course, you will spend most of your time infront of books and different literary/historic arts. A love for books/being a wide reader is important to survive this course.
  • English Language Fluency – a student must be good in English both orally and in written form; this course will require you to construct oral and written arguments. Written argument should be expressed in clear, lucid, coherent prose and orally it should sustain a reasoned line of argument.
  • Free Thinker/Open-minded – AB Philosophy tackles different views, paradigms and perspectives on things such as religion, human nature and life in itself, it is very important to be open-minded so that you are able to understand fully other philosophies not only what you believe in.
  • Analytical skills – analysis is a very important skill that you must possess when you study Philosophy. Most subjects contain lessons that are complex, the ability to examine and understand different Philosophies in a deeper level will be a challenge.
  • Logical skills – the ability to identify the interconnectedness of philosophical theories and principles and relate it to real life scenarios; during the course of study, you will be taught how to create valid arguments based on facts, presenting it in a logical manner is essential.
  • Reasoning skills – during classroom discussions and oral recitations professors will start an intellectual argument which will require you to reason according to what you’ve learned and think.
  • Memorization skills – to be able to survive this course, it is necessary to have strong memorizations skills because you need to remember important figures in Philosophy, different Philosophies and theories.
  • Reading Comprehension – ability to read and analyze texts and other primary sources critically while addressing issues of genre, content, perspective and purpose

How difficult is AB in Philosophy?

AB in Philosophy is a difficult course.

The subjects in the course are heavy on historical readings. You will read thousands of pages, mostly in ancient vocabulary, as many of the world’s greatest philosophers used styles of writing that are archaic and confusing to modern readers. In addition, philosophers often used confusing jargon that is specific to their particular philosophical viewpoint or had a historical meaning that may be different than the one in modern usage. This makes the reading itself one of the most daunting things that first time philosophy students must deal with.

Subject matters and themes in the program are dense and quite complex, forming opinions and arguments can be very challenging if you don’t know how to do extensive reflection and research. Aside from this it is difficult because it forces you to reconsider everything you have ever believed when you study this course.

One of the positive things about this program is the fact that it does not have an On the Job Training (OJT), and only a Philosophical Research Paper is required. It is one of the few programs in the Philippines that does not have an OJT in its curriculum.

How long does it take to complete the AB in Philosophy program in the Philippines?

The AB in Philosophy program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in a shorter time in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Career Opportunities for Philosophy graduates

As we mentioned earlier, most jobs available to philosophy graduates are not directly related to philosophy, and many graduates will go on to take another degree such as law, theology or a business degree.

As a fresh graduate you can apply to various entry level positions in the BPO/Call center industry, as well as various administrative and sales positions.

The only path that is directly related to philosophy, is working as a philosophy teacher/professor at a higher education institute. This kind of job will usually require you to complete a master’s degree in philosophy.

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Reviews of AB in Philosophy graduates:

M. D.
◈ Studied BA Philosophy
◈ At University of the Philippines Diliman
◈ Graduated 2014

list bulletWhy did I choose Philosophy: Unlike the other courses which actually leads to specific jobs and specializations, this course serves more of an eye-opener. It does not only help one master the craft of philosophizing, but it opens one's mind in order to improve skills such as critical thinking and analysis, and better judgment.

list bulletAbout my college education: It's a matter of perspective. I survived and excelled in my course not because I memorized all the theories and embraced all the teachings. Rather, I listened, analyzed, studied, and placed my opinion about the topics we tackled. Philosophy is not for everyone. It is boring for those who doesn't care about it. It is difficult and intimidating for those who do not love the discipline. But it is also very fulfilling and informative to those who are eager to learn and hone their skills.

list bulletMy current job: I am not employed. I am an incoming 1st year Juris Doctor student at Ateneo de Manila Law School.

list bulletDo I recommend studying Philosophy: If you are planning to take up Law in the future, then it is highly recommended to take up Philosophy. The skills and discipline you'll get from the course will help you in the study of law. All else (finances, job opportunities, etc) will follow once you pass the bar exam.

list bulletAdvice to people who are thinking of studying this course: Take a leap of faith, keep an open mind, and expand your horizon. Just be critical and diligent, and you'll be fine. You might actually enjoy it.
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