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'Why Study Philosophy'

midcan5

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I often read that students should study some field of knowledge that leads to productive work. But consider that my eventual working world did not even exist when I started college. My degree was eventually in Liberal Arts as I was never sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. When you examine the degrees of many of the national leaders in technology or business, their degree is often not related to their work. How is that, some even dropped out of school. So then maybe we need to ask what makes a person a good citizen and a productive member of society. Could it be a liberal education steeped in philosophy?

"Is a liberal arts education for everyone? Probably not. Some people would rather do just about anything than major in philosophy, and that is fine. But a liberal arts education forms students to be a thoughtful and concerned citizens, and that is the subtext here. Educated, concerned citizens aren’t going to sit back and let the economic elite run the show. McCrory can critique the educated elite all that he wants, but when you pal around with the likes of Art Pope you really have no business accusing anyone else of elitism.

McCrory himself studied political science and education. Bennett, who was interviewing him, has a PhD in – you guessed it – philosophy. The underlying assumption appears to be that if you’re part of the upper class, you can enjoy the luxury of a liberal arts education. If you’re lower or middle class, the public institutions that are supposed to be part of the mythical “American dream,” that level playing field, should only offer courses in skilled trades. Wealthy young people will get a liberal arts education. Poor and middle class young people will choose a trade."

Femmonite: Notes from an Employed Philosopher
 

drifter

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I often read that students should study some field of knowledge that leads to productive work. But consider that my eventual working world did not even exist when I started college. My degree was eventually in Liberal Arts as I was never sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. When you examine the degrees of many of the national leaders in technology or business, their degree is often not related to their work. How is that, some even dropped out of school. So then maybe we need to ask what makes a person a good citizen and a productive member of society. Could it be a liberal education steeped in philosophy?

"Is a liberal arts education for everyone? Probably not. Some people would rather do just about anything than major in philosophy, and that is fine. But a liberal arts education forms students to be a thoughtful and concerned citizens, and that is the subtext here. Educated, concerned citizens aren’t going to sit back and let the economic elite run the show. McCrory can critique the educated elite all that he wants, but when you pal around with the likes of Art Pope you really have no business accusing anyone else of elitism.

McCrory himself studied political science and education. Bennett, who was interviewing him, has a PhD in – you guessed it – philosophy. The underlying assumption appears to be that if you’re part of the upper class, you can enjoy the luxury of a liberal arts education. If you’re lower or middle class, the public institutions that are supposed to be part of the mythical “American dream,” that level playing field, should only offer courses in skilled trades. Wealthy young people will get a liberal arts education. Poor and middle class young people will choose a trade."

Femmonite: Notes from an Employed Philosopher
I have noticed a lot of law students were steeped in philosophy classes in undergraduate schooling.

I like to read some philosophy just because I get a different viewpoint or insight into ways of looking at things in life.

I have more of a preference in studying social theories though.
 

Skull Pilot

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There is no need at all to go to college to study liberal arts.

You can do it on your own for free. The funny thing is that the public is convinced that they have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to read a book.
 

dblack

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My oldest is getting his PhD in philosophy. His goal is a tenure track teaching position out of school, but that's tough to pull off. But the odds have been against him all along and he knocks down every barrier in his way, so I'm not too worried. Even if that doesn't pan out, he'll be prepared for any number of professional jobs out of school. He's a pretty good framing carpenter too. :)
 

drifter

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There is no need at all to go to college to study liberal arts.

You can do it on your own for free. The funny thing is that the public is convinced that they have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to read a book.
Well I agree with you about the free education.

I think it's BS that the government "requires" a college degree for some types of jobs.

It's just a way to make money off people.

But as far as your comment on getting your own education with books, absolutely.
 

drifter

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My oldest is getting his PhD in philosophy. His goal is a tenure track teaching position out of school, but that's tough to pull off. But the odds have been against him all along and he knocks down every barrier in his way, so I'm not too worried. Even if that doesn't pan out, he'll be prepared for any number of professional jobs out of school. He's a pretty good framing carpenter too. :)
He's a dedicated person !:clap2:
 

Wry Catcher

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Reading philosophy is an active event, much like reading a book on Mathematics or legal judgments. The authors, translators and editors of works of the great philosophers are not often the best writers, for their efforts to cover all bases leads to many parenthetic paragraphs. Most works require intense concentration and note taking.

The payoff is worth it. When the light bulb goes off it's like hitting the game winning home run or sinking that last second basket.
 

dblack

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There is no need at all to go to college to study liberal arts.

You can do it on your own for free. The funny thing is that the public is convinced that they have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to read a book.
Well I agree with you about the free education.

I think it's BS that the government "requires" a college degree for some types of jobs.

It's just a way to make money off people.

But as far as your comment on getting your own education with books, absolutely.
Hmmm... this could be an whole 'nuther thread, wherein I expound on the co-opting of public education as a screening service for business, rather than genuine liberal education. In a nutshell, education should about teaching, not evaluating, endorsing or otherwise 'vetting', students.
 

drifter

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There is no need at all to go to college to study liberal arts.

You can do it on your own for free. The funny thing is that the public is convinced that they have to spend tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to read a book.
Well I agree with you about the free education.

I think it's BS that the government "requires" a college degree for some types of jobs.

It's just a way to make money off people.

But as far as your comment on getting your own education with books, absolutely.
Hmmm... this could be an whole 'nuther thread, wherein I expound on the co-opting of public education as a screening service for business, rather than genuine liberal education. In a nutshell, education should about teaching, not evaluating, endorsing or otherwise 'vetting', students.
Make a thread on that topic we can go there and see if anyone else has a different perspective. Send me a link please.
 

Friends

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My oldest is getting his PhD in philosophy. His goal is a tenure track teaching position out of school, but that's tough to pull off. But the odds have been against him all along and he knocks down every barrier in his way, so I'm not too worried. Even if that doesn't pan out, he'll be prepared for any number of professional jobs out of school. He's a pretty good framing carpenter too. :)
It is a good thing he knows carpentry.

A liberal arts degree does not prepare one for a realistic job, and it may alienate one from one's co-workers. The liberal arts graduate will want to talk about Plato or Homer. His co-workers will be talking about last night's ball game or what happened on a sit com.
 

dblack

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My oldest is getting his PhD in philosophy. His goal is a tenure track teaching position out of school, but that's tough to pull off. But the odds have been against him all along and he knocks down every barrier in his way, so I'm not too worried. Even if that doesn't pan out, he'll be prepared for any number of professional jobs out of school. He's a pretty good framing carpenter too. :)
It is a good thing he knows carpentry.

A liberal arts degree does not prepare one for a realistic job, and it may alienate one from one's co-workers. The liberal arts graduate will want to talk about Plato or Homer. His co-workers will be talking about last night's ball game or what happened on a sit com.
Heh... yeah, I'm sure his head full of highfalutin ideas will cause him no end of trouble. ;)

Anyway, he handles himself pretty well amongst the plebs. I'm sure he'll be fine.
 
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The underlying assumption appears to be that if you’re part of the upper class, you can enjoy the luxury of a liberal arts education. If you’re lower or middle class, the public institutions that are supposed to be part of the mythical “American dream,” that level playing field, should only offer courses in skilled trades. Wealthy young people will get a liberal arts education. Poor and middle class young people will choose a trade.
A liberal arts degree is fine for people who do not need to earn a living. It is also fine for people who manage to get admitted to an elite university. If you have Harvard on your resume employers will hire you because of the IQ power that enabled you to get in. They know they can train you. In addition, many bosses think having a Ivy trained subordinate is a status symbol.

If you go to a fair to middling college or university employers want someone who can, as they put it, "Hit the ground running." They want someone they can put into a cubicle and expect that person to be as productive as the person who sat there for five years.

I know what I am talking about. My degree was in political science. When I was working as a stock clerk my boss told me, "You are intelligent. You work hard. You do a good job. Nevertheless, we have nothing in common. As far as I am concerned, that is a problem. When I come to work I want to talk about last night's ball game or a fishing trip I was on. You are not interested in that."

He was right. I was not interested. He was not interested in what I wanted to talk about about, which would have been a book I was reading, a magazine article I had read, or a documentary I has seen on television. That was not a termination interview. Nevertheless, that boss had already given me a bad job review for contrived and picayune reasons. When the time came to lay people off I was on the list.

When I was trying to get another job as a stock clerk I kept applying for jobs that asked for a high school degree and six months of experience. I had a year and a half experience. I kept getting rejected. Finally a job counselor told me that I should not tell prospective employers about my college degree. She said it meant that I was overqualified.

That is what you get from a liberal arts degree. You are not qualified to do anything that takes a certain amount of intelligence. You are over qualified for anything you can learn on the job.
 
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My oldest is getting his PhD in philosophy. His goal is a tenure track teaching position out of school, but that's tough to pull off. But the odds have been against him all along and he knocks down every barrier in his way, so I'm not too worried. Even if that doesn't pan out, he'll be prepared for any number of professional jobs out of school. He's a pretty good framing carpenter too. :)
It is a good thing he knows carpentry.

A liberal arts degree does not prepare one for a realistic job, and it may alienate one from one's co-workers. The liberal arts graduate will want to talk about Plato or Homer. His co-workers will be talking about last night's ball game or what happened on a sit com.
Heh... yeah, I'm sure his head full of highfalutin ideas will cause him no end of trouble. ;)

Anyway, he handles himself pretty well amongst the plebs. I'm sure he'll be fine.
I am glad to hear that. He could have learned those skills by reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. Nevertheless, he is getting an expensive education that will almost certainly not help him on the job market. It might harm those with less social understanding and social skills.

I am in favor of learning about philosophy, literature, history, and the social sciences if one finds those subjects interesting. They can be learned for free with a library card.
 

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Science is important. Science grew from the speculations of ancient philosophers. Nevertheless, I see little point in studying the works of contemporary philosophers. The last philosopher who had an effect on history, and who is worth studying for that reason, was Karl Marx. Existentialism is a lot of fancy words and complex sentences about nothing.

Everything I needed to know about philosophy I learned from reading, A History of Western Philosophy by Bertrand Russell. In addition, I enjoyed studying several works by Aristotle and Plato in college. A seminar I took after college in Das Kapital that was given by the American Communist Party was also interesting.
 

editec

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A liberal arts education prepares one to be a leader of society.

Sadly there are far fewer billets for leaders in this society than potential leaders.
 

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A liberal arts education prepares one to be a leader of society.

Sadly there are far fewer billets for leaders in this society than potential leaders.
It also prepares us to be educated critics of our leaders.
 

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Once I read an autobiographical account of an alcoholic who lived during the 1920s. He wrote about how alcohol ruined his life. He had a job as a factory manager, and lost it because of drinking. Then he moved to Washington, DC and got a job as a magazine editor. He lost that job for the same reason.

The thing I noticed reading his account was that every time he got fired he managed to get another prestigious and well paying position that he had no experience or training in. When a much smaller percentage of people had university degrees that was possible. Now it is not.

Our economy is becoming increasingly competitive. It is becoming increasingly unforgiving of mistakes, bad decisions, and simple bad luck. The worst mistake a college student can make is to get a degree that does not obviously lead to a job after graduation.

Also, many young people overestimate their talent. High goals are fine, but have something to fall back on if your dreams do not come true. If you want to be an actor don't major in drama. If you want to be a novelist don't major in literature. Major in something you will be able to do for a living while trying to be successful in one of those fields.
 
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dblack

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It is a good thing he knows carpentry.

A liberal arts degree does not prepare one for a realistic job, and it may alienate one from one's co-workers. The liberal arts graduate will want to talk about Plato or Homer. His co-workers will be talking about last night's ball game or what happened on a sit com.
Heh... yeah, I'm sure his head full of highfalutin ideas will cause him no end of trouble. ;)

Anyway, he handles himself pretty well amongst the plebs. I'm sure he'll be fine.
I am glad to hear that. He could have learned those skills by reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Actually, he learned those skills, in part, working construction to finance his education.

Nevertheless, he is getting an expensive education that will almost certainly not help him on the job market. It might harm those with less social understanding and social skills.
You really don't know what you're talking about. That's not a slam, I just haven't given you all the details. He's the most practical person I know (yes, much more so than his father), and he has taken all this into account. He's worked his way into a highly ranked PhD program with an excellent placement record. And he's doing quite well so far. I appreciate your concern, and while it might be good advice for someone wondering what to do, it doesn't apply here.
 
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A liberal arts education prepares one to be a leader of society.

Sadly there are far fewer billets for leaders in this society than potential leaders.
It also prepares us to be educated critics of our leaders.
In addition it prepares us to be educated critics of our bosses. Unfortunately, most bosses do not like being criticized. Unless you can advise your boss on how to achieve what he is trying to achieve, and unless your advice works you are best off keeping your mouth shut. Even then, it is a good idea to excel in your own job before giving any advice at all.

The most important single factor in a job is a good relationship with your immediate supervisor. You will not get that by telling him why you don't like him, and how he is unsuited for his position.
 

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Heh... yeah, I'm sure his head full of highfalutin ideas will cause him no end of trouble. ;)

Anyway, he handles himself pretty well amongst the plebs. I'm sure he'll be fine.
I am glad to hear that. He could have learned those skills by reading Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Actually, he learned those skills, in part, working construction to finance his education.

Nevertheless, he is getting an expensive education that will almost certainly not help him on the job market. It might harm those with less social understanding and social skills.
You really don't know what you're talking about. That's not a slam, I just haven't given you all the details. He's the most practical person I know (yes, much more so than his father), and he has taken all this into account. He's worked his way into a highly ranked PhD program with an excellent placement record. And he's doing quite well so far. I appreciate your concern, and while it might be good advice for someone wondering what to do, it doesn't apply here.
I hope things work out for him. Nevertheless, it is always a bad idea to learn something that you can only teach. You are competing with everyone else who is learning that. If you want to be a teacher learn something that you can do for a living.
 

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