April 8, 2008

The Popularity of Philosophy

Posted in Life tagged , at 9:09 pm by Katelyn

An article in the NY Times today explored and tried to explain the growing popularity of the philosophy major.  I, for one, never took a philosophy course in college.  I took an ethics course, which is similar, but not philosophy.  So I did some pondering on my own as to the value and benefits of a philosophy degree.

Philosophy (noun) – The rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics.

Philosophy is derived from the Greek “love of wisdom.”

What a great thing – the “love of wisdom”.  Who wouldn’t want to major in that?  When I was in college, however, I think I would have agreed with the mother in this article who asks, “what are you going to do with that?”  Before I had experienced much of the world, I wanted a practical degree – one that would get me a job post-college.  Would I make the same choice now?  Not necessarily.  Now I think I would agree that preparing your mind in how to think for yourself is the best education.  Not only will it help you look at situations and ideas objectively, but it will teach you to question and never settle.

Of course there are going to be certain fields, like medicine, that require a specific major in order to get a job, but for most other fields, the majority of the training and learning are done on the job and not in school.  In that case, why not spend college looking at and analyzing the world in which we live?  I think this is something that far too few of us actually do.  So to all the philosophy majors out there, I say – we need you.

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1 Comment »

  1. Sujit said,

    Would say, questions of philosophy occur to all of us. But it’s only for a privileged few to really pursue those questions to the heart’s content.

    Moreover, by the way things are, I wonder if a major in philosophy fetches one the wisdom to pursue the answers to those fundamental questions. I feel, it’s tough to do real philosophy; and the bar for these courses ought to be set high, even at the risk of making the courses unpopular. Otherwise, besides creating a handful real philosophers, we end up with a deluge of con-men who train themselves in stylishly using high-sounding jargon, without having any deep insight into them. Such people malign the image of philosophy, have added that sense of unreality to them.

    Real philosophy is a real subject, asking questions which concerns all of us. Not always because that gives us our next square meal, but by asking again questions which occur even to children, but are met with such disinterest by people that we forget asking them as we go along.


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