Louis Wall on why he chose Philosophy at Sheffield

Louis recently completed his BA in Philosophy after moving from Bristol to study at Sheffield.

Why did you choose to study in Sheffield?

"I chose to study at Sheffield for a number of reasons. Firstly, I was attracted to the fact that there are no compulsory modules on the philosophy programme. I already had an idea before coming to Sheffield of the kinds of questions that I wanted to think about - namely, those concerning logic and meaning - and, although you will need to study a range of topics whilst at university, the course has allowed me to largely tailor my programme of study to suit my interests. I have, for instance, been able to study solely logic, mind, language and metaphysics in my final year."

One of reasons I chose to study in Sheffield is that it looked to be a lively place to study philosophy with lots of opportunities to get involved, and indeed this has proved to be the case.

louis wall, ba philosophy

"Secondly, I was attracted to the several opportunities to get involved with philosophical activities in ways that go beyond the mandatory seminars and lectures. I have twice attended the departmental Reading Weekend which takes place in the Peak District each year, and had the opportunity to practice presenting a paper at the last event; I was also able to conduct a supervised research project in philosophy over the summer (funded by the university). Both of these were excellent experiences, and have been very useful. There is also an undergraduate conference each year, the undergraduate philosophy journal, and various other conferences organised by the department - I have greatly enjoyed attending, and, in some cases, helping to organise these events. One of reasons that I chose to study in Sheffield is that it looked to be a lively place to study philosophy with lots of opportunities to get involved, and indeed this has proved to be the case."

"Thirdly, I was attracted to the university itself. I wanted to move away from the Bristol area and was looking for a city based student experience - rather than a secluded, campus style university - but without the hectic life offered by London or Manchester. I didn’t want to have to commute on the train for half an hour just to get to lectures! Sheffield, on the other hand, is a remarkable in that it is a city university (it is dispersed amongst the town) but the central mode of student transport is walking; the student accommodation is within easy walking distance from the university buildings. Moreover, the city is both large, but also rather peaceful; my conception of Sheffield as a dirty, industrial city was quite misguided, and the university and student living areas are in fact extremely nice places to live. These features attracted me greatly."

What do you particularly enjoy about Philosophy?

"My reasons for enjoying philosophy are too many to be enumerated here. But perhaps my favourite aspect of the subject is the method by which it is conducted. Philosophical practice, irrespective of the subject about which one philosophises, essentially involves clarification and analysis: one must firstly get clear about a certain claim - to reformulate the claim in its strongest form - and then secondly subject the claim to both logical and empirical scrutiny. It is the analytic skills and tools for thinking about issues that one acquires through studying philosophy, and the process of using these tools to reason about problems, that I enjoy most about the subject."

It is the analytic skills and tools for thinking about issues that one acquires through studying philosophy, and the process of using these tools to reason about problems, that I enjoy most about the subject.

What are your top tips for any students thinking about studying Philosophy in Sheffield?

"If you do chose to study here, then I would advise that you get involved with the Philosophy Society - the society organise various social events and run both football and netball teams. Also, I would strongly advise people to take logic in first year. It is not a mandatory course, but it is seriously useful for later courses - this is particularly relevant for those who might want to continue studying philosophy at a postgraduate level."

Tell us about being a student in the department.

"Being a student in the department is fantastic. In fact, I would say that the department is the best aspect of studying philosophy at Sheffield. The lecturers are friendly and approachable, they are very happy to make time to talk to students, and their advice is extremely useful; I regularly go to office hours and have greatly enjoyed discussing, and receiving feedback on, my ideas. The friendly atmosphere in the department is a major advantage to studying here, since it creates a very positive working environment."

What is your highlight of studying and/or living in Sheffield so far?

"I have enjoyed cycling in the Peak District and playing rugby - also the beer in Sheffield is strangely delicious and very good value! I enjoyed living in the Crookes and Endcliffe areas which are both very nice, and, of course, I have enjoyed reading philosophy."

What are your plans after your study?

"I plan to continue studying philosophy as a postgraduate."

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