Why Study Philosophy?
Philosophy majors learn two different but closely related kinds of things. First of all, one learns how some of mankind's greatest and most profound thinkers have tried to answer certain basic and perennial questions. Among these are questions about morality, about our knowledge of the world, about the existence of God, about the relation between mind and body, and about the conditions of a just society. These quite general questions and the answers to them that have been advanced represent some of the most important themes in the history of our civilization. Acquaintance with this material is a necessary component of a balanced liberal education.
A philosophy major, however, does more than simply learn the views held by various philosophers. For in attaining a grasp of those views he or she must extract the principal points from complex material, evaluate the soundness of the arguments involved and, most important of all, justify his or her own position on any given topic. Writing papers, an integral part of almost any philosophy class, requires the ability to express one's thoughts in a lucid and concise fashion and to defend them cogently. These components of a philosophical training enable the philosophy major to develop sophisticated skills that are valuable in almost any field in which one might work, from business through law to highly technical scientific fields, including medicine.
What Can You Do With A Major In Philosophy?
Many students who major in philosophy go on to graduate or professional schools, usually in law, medicine or business. Philosophy is an excellent field to major in for these professional schools. The emphasis on careful and rigorous analysis of arguments is particularly helpful for law (and the LSAT's). According to a recent study, the average LSAT score for a philosophy major was nearly l5 points higher than the average score for any other major. It is also worth noting that according to a study recently completed by the American Medical Association philosophy majors had the third highest acceptance rate into American medical schools. Many philosophy majors go into business (investment banking being a popular field), teaching, and a number of other fields. Some continue their study of philosophy at the graduate level.
For More Information Contact:
Chair, Department of Philosophy and Religion