For more details about people who study philosophy, see the next section.
1. Why Study Philosophy?
Avoid being duped
In multiple studies, people with training in philosophy are shown to be significantly less likely to be duped by faulty intuitions.
Philosophy majors outperform every major except math and physics on the GMAT.
Philosophy majors outperform basically every other major on the GRE.
Philosophy majors outperform every major and tie law majors on the LSAT.
Philosophy majors are accepted to med school at higher rates than other majors, including science majors.
Mid-career median salary for philosophy majors is about $81,000. That’s higher than every other humanities major.
Philosophy is projected to be the top-paid humanities major for the class of 2016.
Why Study Philosophy? What Can it do for you? Check out this conglomeration of data, charts, articles, etc.
Reading And Math Competence (especially for kids)
A randomized controlled trial of over 3000 primary school children showed that introducing children to philosophy significantly improved children’s’ reading and math skills.
2. What Is Philosophy?
Let’s make a few things clear. Philosophy isn’t just esoteric pontification. It isn’t just some form of skepticism. And it certainly isn’t just pseudo-profound bullshit.
Perhaps philosophy is just figuring out what to believe and how to live. Of course, those are life-long projects. Someone may start these projects during their first philosophy course, but they will certainly not finish during that course!
3. What Is Good Philosophy?
Notice that, according to that definition of philosophy, everyone does philosophy at some point.
Of course, not everyone does philosophy well. Doing philosophy well involves good reasoning and good living. Most of the time, these do not happen naturally or easily. We’ve got bad reasoning habits and plenty of ulterior motives to keep us from doing our best. So philosophy takes practice.
This is not to say that there is only one way to do philosophy, of course. Heck, that’s not even to say that there is only one way to do philosophy well. And it is certainly not to say that only certain people can do philosophy (or do it well). Anyone can learn the tools that philosophers use. So anyone can do philosophy well!
4. What Is A Philosopher?
What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of a philosopher? Seriously. What is it? I’m curious. Tell us in the comments.
As I see it, philosophers are people who spend most of their time doing philosophy. So I guess I think of philosophy as a vocation.
If that’s right, then one need not be paid to do philosophy in order to be a philosopher. Getting paid to do philosophy would be something else: a professional philosopher.
Maybe there are other kinds of philosophers that don’t fall into these categories.
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