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Sample Statement of Purpose - For a Philosopher

I haven't always wanted to be a philosopher. In fact, I've wanted to be many other things: a writer, a psychologist, an artist, perhaps even a scientist or doctor. As a child, I grew up imagining the things I wanted to be, but never what I wanted to do. "You can be anything you want to be," I was told, and I learned to think about just that: being something. Rather than seeing these prospective careers for what they would intrinsically require me to do for a living, I simply saw them for a collection of desirable superlatives. I imagined myself as an artist, popular and innovative, but I lacked the desire to create art. I liked the title of novelist, the prestige, what I imagined life being a writer would be like, but I did not want to write (creatively). As I grew up, I pictured myself in various roles; I imagined how others would view me, the respect I would garner, and all of the other instrumental benefits of each title, but I never truly envisioned myself doing the jobs that went along with those titles.

It was not until I was a philosophy major and thesis student in college that I found myself not just wanting to be someone, but wanting to be doing something. Everything I had wanted to be up until this point, I had wanted for the sake of getting something else: an image, celebrity. But I do not want to be a philosopher because of how I imagine the world will see me. I want to be a philosopher for the intrinsic doing, the practice of philosophy. I imagine the hard work, the scholarship, the research, the classroom, and that is what I want for my life. When I took my first philosophy course, I learned that my life's passion- the ideas, and questions that have always consumed my every thought and word, could be my life's work, and this has been my greatest realization to date.

[...] Cornell University: Statement of Purpose - Philosopher I haven't always wanted to be a philosopher. In fact, I've wanted to be many other things: a writer, a psychologist, an artist, perhaps even a scientist or doctor. As a child, I grew up imagining the things I wanted to be, but never what I wanted to do. "You can be anything you want to I was told, and I learned to think about just that: being something. Rather than seeing these prospective careers for what they would intrinsically require me to do for a living, I simply saw them for a collection of desirable superlatives. [...]


[...] Having done the sort of sustained research required for my undergraduate thesis, I have a much clearer idea than I once did (though still, perhaps, an imperfect one) of what will be expected of me in graduate school. The prospect of working with others who engage me at the philosophical level on topics related to morality, the self, the mind, and the countless other areas of interest not only excites me, but reminds me of the seemingly infinite possibilities for future study, work, and self fulfillment. [...]

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