How TikTok Helped Me Expand My Philosophy Education
By Saisha Agarwal, high school student & PLATO Student Advisory Council member
I was in the trenches of quarantine when I began making TikToks about philosophy. Formerly philosophyloverr222, I started my account during my freshman year of high school as a plea to meet people open to discourse and bonding over the subject. Now, in a few months, I’ll be walking the stage at graduation as @philosophyloverr– but philosophical interactions will stay pixelated due to the seeming absence of philosophy education to the public.
To some, TikTok’s reputation solely includes being a platform that makes goofiness and catchy dances blow up. But as someone whose account has gone viral myself, I believe that the platform can expand learning and open conversations in a world where so much is overlooked.
When I first discovered philosophy, it wasn’t because of a curriculum or a class at school (there are none offered). I discovered philosophy through YouTube – a social media platform.
YouTube’s engaging videos and passionate creators such as PlasticPills, Pursuit of Wonder, Then & Now, opened my mind to a world of ideas that I had never been exposed to. A subject that previously felt distant and inaccessible became a facet of passion and interest through listening to others discuss it.
My viewing patterns inspired me to read and write my own interpretations of works. I soon began analyzing Nietzsche through contemporary lenses and connecting thought experiments in my own life. I found philosophy everywhere I went, even outside of my readings. This fueled an intense desire to talk about it with others which led me to start posting on my TikTok.
On philosophyloverr, I share philosophy quotes, book recommendations, and other snippets of ideas I resonate with. My online audience comes from all walks of life and comprises a community of people who are open to discussing and reflecting on big questions.
In my opinion, the philosophy TikTok community is a great place for anyone to enter the world of philosophy and talk about it in a way that is accessible to all – regardless of educational background. I know this because without any higher philosophy education, I have had the opportunity to connect with an audience where I can have the philosophical conversations I’ve always craved. Moreover, my followers have had the opportunity to be exposed to the subject and learn about the foundational ideas that are not taught in schools.
TikTok has emerged as a powerful tool for democratizing philosophy education and making complex ideas accessible to a wider audience. Now, as a philosophy TikTok influencer and a member of PLATO’s youth advisory council, I find myself immersed in a movement that bridges the divide between philosophy education and young audiences. It is an exciting prospect to be a part of a world that is reshaping the way we teach and understand philosophy in the 21st century.