Shane Bryson talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Shane Bryson talks about 4th year


I'm not just assuming things, now that I'm taking philosophy. I’ve got some ideas on how morality might or might not work that aren’t arbitrary.

Study philosophy because you love it

In the last year of a combined honours degree in Philosophy and English, Shane Bryson feels comfortable standing on unsure ground.

“I am not sure there are solid answers,” he says, but he’s okay with that uncertainty. He’s not looking for an ultimate truth—just better answers to impossible questions.

Shane fell in love with philosophy in his first year and he hasn’t looked back since.

“It just kind of draws you in. The story is the same for a lot of people I know. They are in philosophy because they fall in love with it.”

You don’t practise philosophy alone. Learning how to test the quality of ideas with other people—to argue, debate or talk with—is central to the program.

“You’re learning things as you debate, which is a big part of what the discipline is about,” he says.

But the art of expressing yourself well comes with practice. He often talks about philosophizing as a lifestyle, or discipline, one follows.

“I found that taking philosophy, or being good at philosophy, has been a practice of just thinking about these things all the time. Constantly thinking about the ideas that you are learning in class.”

A method to examine life

This commitment is reflected in the program. He says the faculty are really approachable.

“I spent a lot of time in my first couple years just going to office hours asking random philosophical questions that came up.”

“You just go in and sit down and say, ‘This is what I have been thinking. What do you think of this?’ Lots of profs are really good at providing feedback and also saying you should look at this or that article if you want to find out more.”

Philosophy gives him a method to examine his life. University life gives him the time to think through these questions. He’s grateful for the chance.

When he adds up everything he’s learned in four years, he thinks that practising philosophy has built strong foundations for his own morals.

“I'm not just assuming things now that I'm taking philosophy. I’ve got some ideas on how morality might or might not work that aren’t arbitrary.”