Philosophy is the best-value degree going

Prescriptions

I always enjoy articles that vindicate my decision as an 18 year-old to study Philosophy as an undergraduate. It’s quite possibly, other than marrying my wife, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

In Why I Majored in Philosophy Despite Everyone Telling Me Not to, Grant Ferowich explains that Philosophy, more than any other discipline, prepares you both for work and life:

Aside from existential questions (What is the purpose of life? Why are we here?) that brush some as being overly abstract, philosophy is probably the most practical subject there is, from politics, economics, history, science, to the more personal topic of ethics and religion. Philosophy knows no bounds.

That, of course, is because there can be a ‘philosophy’ of everything and anything. Big things like ‘Philosophy of Religion’ (with capitalisation) and small things like, I don’t know… having a philosophy of Mac keyboards. 

More than that, though, Philosophy is a way of choosing never to stop being curious about the world, where it came from, how it works, and your place in it.

For some of us philosophy majors, we are just genuinely curious about some notions in life that are often taken for granted. For instance, is our ability to have rational thought just a product of our brainwaves, the interaction of different neurotransmitters? Or is there something more going on, something “supernatural” that allowed humans the capacity for rational dialogue? Above all, philosophy seeks truth. The purpose of philosophy is to get at the truth of one’s place in nature.

Ultimately, as many philosophers — and particularly Stoic philosophers — have maintained, Philosophy is a great preparation to die well. That might seem a bit morbit but, actually, our society is unusual in its avoidance of talking about the end of life. It’s particularly striking when you pick up books written a few centuries ago, like Montaigne’s Essays.

Ultimately, Philosophy is a liberating thing to study. It refuses to be bounded, seeping into every part of your life. To my mind, if someone is going to be saddled with a huge student debt, then they might as well get their money’s worth and study something useful like Philosophy!

Image via Nomad Pictures


Bonus: if you haven’t discovered it yet, the Philosophy Bites podcast is one of my favourites. You’re welcome.