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What Can I Do With A Philosophy Degree?

LifeAfterLibArtLifeAfterLibArt Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
edited December 2011 in Other College Majors
Yes, just what the heck can you do with a philosophy degree? A perennial question of potential philosophy majors, holders of a bachelors, and those pursuing graduate work. In fact, according to Google, this question, word for word, is asked 2400 times a month. That’s a lot! I was asked it so many times that I developed a knee-jerk response to it that would get a chuckle and dismiss the question, side stepping my obligation to give it a meaningful answer the way a fat-man sidesteps the salad bar for the dessert buffet: “Oh, you know, I’m qualified to ask the deep questions in life, like 'Paper or Plastic?' or 'you want fries with that?.'" This was foolish of me, but I didn’t know what else to say.

But really, the question should be, what can’t you do with a philosophy degree? And to answer that question, let me first digress to the point I’ve made to so many undergrads with only one major: the wisest coupling you can undertake is philosophy and _______, where “_______” is whatever other major they’re thinking of. Philosophy sharpens the mind, the wit, the intellect; it makes you better at whatever else you do.

As a “stand alone” degree, it’s pretty valuable. After all, the most valuable things are valuable in their own right and for nothing else, right? Okay, not always the most consoling thought, thanks Aristotle. However, the point remains that, if you succeed or did succeed as a philosophy major, then you’re trained to delve deeply into matters your peers cannot fathom. Of course, if you are or were smart enough to couple it with another degree, then you will stand out leagues ahead of most of your peers (assuming you can avoid becoming the smug and pretentious kind of philosophy major common in some larger institutions (and generally avoid nihilism, to)).

See, there are the “given” fields, like grift, fraud, and white-collar crime...er...I mean law, politics, and academia in general, where philosophy majors do well generally. But a good philosophical steeping will make you a better chemist, or artist; a better engineer, or teacher; a better psychologist, or sociologist; a better historian, or a better farmer (and, as you undoubtedly know, Socrates thinks that’s where we all out to be – out farming). And, at the end of the proverbial day, even if you’re unemployed, surely you’ll appreciate your situation better than most, right? Like a sentient dish-rag sublimely aware that it exists (“cogito!”) amidst all the spiritless dish-rags. That’s worth something, right?

Okay, I kid. Sort of. But here’s a thought. You’re poised to dominate any field you try. Your degree makes you better at business than many business majors. Managerial skills you can learn; critical thinking however cannot be taught very easily. That’s what I did. I started my own business, online, and it’s paying the bills to this day. Invent something. Build something. Start something. You’re uniquely adept to do these tasks, oh philosophy major. Just get out there and do it.

(Re-posted with permission from: What Can I Do With A Philosophy Degree?)
Post edited by LifeAfterLibArt on

Replies to: What Can I Do With A Philosophy Degree?

  • MeMyselfMeMyself Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    If I had the money, I would double major and couple my Econ degree with a philosophy degree. I would be unstoppable!

    Nice post.
  • TheBeatlesRockTheBeatlesRock Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    you could become a lawyer. Philosphy majors score the 2nd highest on the LSAT exams..(its funny that criminal justice scored the lowest) heck they also score high in the top 3 for GMAT . Philosophy majors are among the smartest major. I would really advise you to become a lawyer or double major with economics and minor in math.
  • pandempandem Registered User Posts: 1,364 Senior Member
    Yeah, sorry, but you can't really do anything with a philosophy degree. Anyone who has the slightest bit of logic / argument training would rip that post apart. You don't need to drop 30k+ on a philosophy degree to "Invent something. Build something. Start something." Start building today, and read philosophy in your spare time.

    /former philosophy major
  • EjonesEjones Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I take it you didn't succeed in philosophy? I'm a current double major in Philosophy and Business and I can honestly tell you I'm light years ahead of my colleagues. It was a great post, not all philosophy majors find jobs because the general public doesn't see the potential in the field.
  • mmmaythemmmaythe Registered User Posts: 269 Junior Member
    I'm thinking about minoring in philosophy and world religions, and major in anthropology. I think ethicist is a possible career choice along with librarian, museum curator, lawyer, and professor/teacher.

    Philosophy doesn't seem so realistic when you learn it, because it tends to focus more on the past (Socrates, Plato, Descartes, etc. etc.), but it is applicable to today's society especially in politics and ethics.
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