Why Study Philosophy?
Two main reasons why one should consider majoring in philosophy are 1.) a philosophical education is personally rewarding, and 2.) a philosophical education provides excellent career preparation.
First, many people find the study of philosophy fascinating because it provides students with the opportunity to consider the most basic questions concerning the nature of reality, human knowledge, and morality. These questions are relevant to all of us, and in attempting to answer them, we better understand who we are, our commitments, and what we wish to accomplish in life. In the process of searching for answers and formulating our own positions, we are challenged to critically examine our foundational beliefs, considering whether they are rationally justified and logically consistent, and becoming more aware of what they entail. Additionally, in the process of learning how past and contemporary philosophers have answered these questions, we are exposed to some of the finest examples of philosophical creativity and methodology, fascinating in themselves and also of interest due to their instrumental value in helping us find new frameworks for investigation.
Second, a major in philosophy provides students with important practical skills necessary for success in any professional career. Studying philosophy helps students develop skills in critical thinking, logic, communication, and analytic writing, as evidenced by the performance of philosophy students on standardized tests. In 2013, philosophy students scored highest as a group in both the verbal and analytic sections of the GRE, and philosophy is consistently among the top-scoring majors on the LSAT and GMAT. Law schools are interested in philosophy students due to their abilities in critical thinking and argumentation, and businesses value them for their problem solving skills and intellectual creativity. Technical fields, too, appreciate a background in philosophy. For example, background in ethics is an asset to those entering engineering or the health care professions. In todays fast-changing economy, the transferable skills developed by philosophy students prepare them to be successful in their chosen fields.
For more information on why majoring in philosophy is a smart choice, see the articles below.
"Best Majors for GRE Scores in 2013: Philosophy Dominates," Physics Central, 29 July 2013.
"A Liberal Arts Degree Is More Valuable Than Learning Any Trade,"Forbes, 13 November 2012.
"Philosophy--What's the Use,"New York Times, 25 January 2012.
"Philosophy is Back in Business,"Business Week, January 2010.
"Philosophys Makeover: Why job prospects for philosophy grads are brightening,"University Affairs, 3 November 2008.
"Learn Philosophy: The classic discipline can help with contemporary dilemmas and modern careers,"U.S. News & World Report, 18 December 2008.
"In a New Generation of College Students, Many Opt for the Life Examined,"New York Times, 6 April 2008.
"The Rise in Stock of Philosophy Graduates: I Think, Therefore I Earn,"The Guardian, 20 November 2007.
"Philosophers Find the Degree Pays Off in Life and in Work,"New York Times, 26 December 1997.
"How to Get to the Top Study Philosophy,"Globe and Mail, 2 January 1990.
Department of Philosophy and Humanities
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