Studying philosophy means doing philosophy
Philosophy is unusual in that to learn it you need to do it. There is no serious alternative to having a go at answering the big questions yourself, using the work of others to help you do so.
In this respect it is different from studying poetry or art, for example, where you do not yourself need to become a poet or an artist. For this reason, philosophy can be daunting at first. It is common for beginning philosophy students to feel that they are not entitled to express their own point of view, especially when they find themselves disagreeing with some big and important philosopher of the past. But as you jump off at the deep-end, you won’t be alone.
How we support you
As well as your fellow students, most of whom will have no prior experience of studying the subject, you will have the support of a designated tutor. She or he, as part of the tuition team for the module you are on, will help guide you through the written and audio-visual teaching material, responding to the work you submit for assessment, offering regular (but optional) face-to-face or live online tutorials, etc.
The study materials themselves include information and explanations, but also regular short activities. These allow you to check that you are absorbing what you are being taught. More importantly, they offer you a chance to do philosophy – to defend a particular point of view, to recount the strengths of an opposing point of view, to train you in the art of extracting a philosophical argument from the work of a historical author before developing your own ideas, etc.