Should U.S. Public Schools Offer More Philosophy Courses?


This is a marble statue of the ancient Greek Philosopher Socrates. Academy of Athens, Greece.

Cynthia Lan, Photojournalist

Many students at YLHS like learning the basics of philosophy, which has the benefit of practicing critical thinking skills, learning to empathize with people, and more.


In the complex information and societal challenges that abound, it is crucial to equip students with the tools to navigate these complexities. Introducing philosophy courses in U.S. public schools offers an opportunity to foster intellectual growth, ethical awareness, and well-rounded development among students.


While fundamental philosophy courses can analyze the values, reasoning, and understanding of different aspects and situations that are important to students, it can also be frustrating for students to think about questions that don’t necessarily have an answer.


Some people believe that AP Language Arts and Composition can be considered an introductory philosophy course. AP Language Arts and Composition teacher Ms. Ferris (Staff) explained that “… some AP Lang teachers may cover some philosophy readings or ideas” but she doesn’t think AP Lang can be considered the introduction to philosophy class. Our focus is the study of rhetoric (argument) and literary nonfiction in preparation for the AP Lang exam. [it is] most similar to a freshman composition class at a college or university, not an introduction to philosophy course” (Ms. Amber Ferris). However, based on her own experience of taking an introductory philosophy class a long time ago, she is certain that having “early exposure to college-level ideas and critical thinking is probably a good thing” (Ms. Amber Ferris). Nonetheless, she is still uncertain about adding philosophy courses as electives in U.S. public schools.


If there is a philosophy class added to the U.S. public school system, it can increase the cultivation of ethical awareness, thinking deeply about issues, and being open-minded. For example, in a philosophy class, students may explore a scenario where they have to decide whether it’s morally acceptable to lie in order to protect someone from harm.


The idea of high school education is for students to gain the skills that are necessary to apply for jobs or majors they want to do. Many students are wondering about the jobs they can find that relate to a  philosophy major. Here are some jobs that may pique your interest: lawyer, non-profit professional, philosophy professor, business professional, public policy professional, marketing professional, journalist, health care professional, financial services professional, paralegal, etc. (


Although it may sound interesting, philosophy is not recommended because there are many examples of people finding it hard to live with this major. But if you decide that you want to take this major, do some research to understand the field, and seek advice from your counselor, parents, and people who have experience with it.


All in all, introducing more philosophy courses as electives in U.S. public schools holds significant potential for fostering intellectual growth, ethical awareness, and well-rounded development among students. By enhancing critical thinking skills, promoting ethical reasoning, cultivating empathy and tolerance, and nurturing personal reflection, philosophy courses empower students to become engaged citizens capable of navigating the complexities of the modern world. By embracing philosophy as an integral part of education, we can provide students with the tools they need to succeed academically, ethically, and personally, ultimately contributing to a more enlightened and compassionate society.