A Major is a Minor Commitment #02: Philosophy

Supposedly, philosophy is the major from which all others originate. Because of this, I feel this is a fitting start to A Major is a Minor Commitment. Below is a short synopsis of why this major is valuable.

 

Background

The literal meaning of philosophy comes from the Greek word “philosophia,” meaning “love of wisdom.” In the academic sense, philosophy is the study of knowledge itself. Of course, this definition significantly over-simplifies the field, as there are many subdisciplines that focus on increasingly specific topics. Those studying philosophy attempt to answer questions like “does God exist?” or “what is the good life?”, to name a few. In sum, philosophy allows for one to critically evaluate righteousness, reason, and ideas themselves.

 

Life as a Philosophy Major

Philosophy classes are usually designed around any given subdiscipline. For instance, one may take a political philosophy course, or an environmental ethics course, eventually building up general knowledge of the field as a whole. A typical day in a philosophy class consists of lecture and discussion about an assigned text that pertains to the course theme. A particularly well-designed course feels like a concise narrative, going from point A to B.

Outside of class, a philosophy major spends most of their academic time building an understanding of these texts and finding ways to apply the knowledge to a particular worldview, whether it’s their own or not. Philosophy majors are strengthened by natural curiosity, well-practiced introspection, and a keen interest in understanding key problems that plague humanity.

 

Top Transferable Skills Learned

Critical Reading — This skill can be applied almost daily, whether you’re reading a novel or a Tweet, and cultivates massive advantages. Critical reading reveals the ideas and values held by any author, which helps one understand their true intent of writing. As easily imagined, one with high critical reading skills may also have high media literacy, assisting with understanding how folks use information and media sources to shape perspectives of the general population.

Argumentation and Logic — A philosophy major can mentally isolate claims proposed in an argument and evaluate whether or not they’re sound, strong, or true. Using their evaluation, they are able to add to it or refute it, providing legitimate evidence or examples to back their side of the argument. This skill is very applicable to identifying problems, finding solutions, and persuasion — all applied in a reasonable and logical manner.

Communication — A philosophy major can effectively convey anything learned by either of the previous two skills. This is instrumental in clarifying and expressing ideas. Communication doesn’t just involve conveying a point — it also involves listening and understanding. Therefore, philosophy majors are also able to listen to others and understand their perspective.

 

Possible Professions

  • Philosophy professor — the classic option. This is a highly competitive field with few job openings, but it can be pursued successfully. Well-paying and rewarding. Some think that studying philosophy can pigeonhole you to this profession, but there are other possibilities.
  • Author — no need to write just philosophy. Philosophy majors write many essays in their studies, building their writing and narrative skills, so becoming a fiction writer, a screenwriter, a playwright, or a nonfiction author are all options.
  • Strategy Consultant — the business route. Philosophy majors are able to take a different perspective when evaluating organizational problems — ones that people of other educational backgrounds are unable to spot. In a business setting, a philosophy major doesn’t have to just be applied to strategy consulting; entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, and HR are all viable avenues.
  • Political advisor — political theory, value propositions, law, and mass communication all in one? Sounds like a perfect place for philosophy majors.
  • Therapy — understanding the role of emotion, evaluating the impact of life events, and the successful encouragement of self-exploration are involved here. Sounds familiar to a philosophy major.

 

This piece serves as a resource. It will be continually updated, clarified, and expanded upon to become more concise and accurate.

– Sean

One Reply to “A Major is a Minor Commitment #02: Philosophy”

  1. What a great synopsis of skills learned and applicable for all in life from a Philosophy major. Better yet, I love how you simplified and named the specific careers where a Philosophy major can lead.

    Like

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