Why philosophy degrees are among the MOST useful. Evidence demolishing myths peddled by philosophy bashers.
Here is an excellent resource on why philosophy degrees make especially smart and successful businessmen and women, lawyers, journalists, etc. (you are actually dramatically better off doing a first degree in philosophy than business administration for a career in business).
Some very good answers to "Philosophy? What are you going to do with that?" question. Go here.
Includes GRE test performance (philosophers do staggeringly well - look right), comparative salary information, and various other useful bits of evidence that collectively puncture the peculiar modern myth that philosophy isn't "useful".
I previously commented on the GRE scores comparing philosophy students with all other students here.
A quote from Fordham:
"In addition, as the marketplace becomes more competitive, graduate degrees become more desirable, and that entails a strong performance on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), the exam most business schools require their applicants to take. Philosophy majors consistently outperform other majors on the GMAT, including all business majors, all humanities majors, and all social sciences majors. Philosophy majors enjoy enormous advantages going into business."
The first and last testimonials are especially good. Opening quote from the final "testimonial" on linked page:
"Most of management theory is inane, writes our correspondent, the founder of consulting firm. If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an M.B.A. Study philosophy instead."
now I have a job, lucky me:)
I cannot see someone with poor A-levels choosing/ reading Phil.
As I recall, he was one of the more successful students...
Additionally, doesn't the GRE test get a bit of flak for being quite a rigid format - potentially the particular test format favours philosophy students without them actually being able to perform better than students of other disciplines in 'real-world' or different examination style settings?
(note: I've only skimmed your post/the links as I'm at work, so some of my questions may have been dealt with already).
Just spotted the link to the numerical data graph - quite a number of disciplines outperform philosophy on numerical reasoning in the GRE (not surprisingly they're the maths-heavy subjects, although rather oddly accounting is an exception to this!)
I do think that for some careers - primarily vocational - it is better to get a grounding in the core subject. Engineering for example, too often I encounter bright people with 1 year conversion courses who lack knowledge of the basic principles that any engineering undergraduate would know.
However the flip side is the lack of respect I often encounter in these vocational careers for liberal arts courses. This usually goes hand in hand with poor language skills. In the last 24 hours I've encountered the following 3 clangers in emails:
"Your aware of..."
"I want to help with the companies branding" - which companies? Oh you mean our company's branding...
"Who is the Principle Engineer?"
Only, I can see exactly why people drilled in analytic approaches will be very good at logical reasoning, problem solving, prioritising, picking out crucial detail etc. I'm less convinced an immersion in Heidegger and Foucault (for all its other merits) would cash-out in business acumen...
Hell, who needs numbers if words will do. Only boring people think about numbers.
Of course the honest ones are more likely to have a conscience and so stick to academia :)
What this is saying, I believe, is that people who study philosophy develop good written communication skills and, hopefully, good verbal communication skills as well.
I work in engineering and I would argue that problem-solving is the most important skill, and that includes many areas like politics and economics, not just technical environments. If one examines the recent Fukushima disaster, there are a number of problems to be solved: technical, political, strategic, social, economic; and they all require intelligent debate.
From my experience of studying philosophy, I would argue that analytical and critical thinking are the mental attributes that get exercised most regularly.
If you had to do real experiments with data you would understand that you need to control for the ability of graduates on the way in to university as well as the way out - this is the cause of your selection effect.
It ought to be fairly obvious that a different type of person chooses to do a philosophy degree to the kind of numpties who march into business degrees...
Of course I did. I mentioned it in the earlier post. GRE scores obviously don't establish by themselves that the increased smarts is *caused* by degree programme. However, When combined with other evidence. you can start to build a case...
1) The GRE also has a math portion - it doesn't do to forget that. Just sayin'.
2) About 55% of Engineering students with aspirations of graduate study are international (from India, China, S. Korea and so on), where learning English isn't highly emphasized. Consequently, their verbal and writing scores are low.
A more interesting analysis would be to compare Writing scores vs Math scores, and Reading scores vs Math scores. This, I think, would provide a better sense of which majors create "well-rounded" individuals.
Seems the answer is still nothing. Well, I should change that to,
"Nothing, but I will go back to school to get a degree that actually means something."
I should add that I am joking around. :) Great article and thanks for posting the information.
That is why philosophy majors do best when they double major or minor in something else. By carrying their knowledge and skills from philosophy they will improve and do better than most other in any field they move into. Philosophy majors tend to score in the top 5 of any other majors for all graduate school tests, such as the LSATs, GREs, GMATs etc.
I'm working on finding a job by using my philosophy degree right now, but not just a teaching job. I'm thinking about combining philosophy with psychology to be a therapist. Combining existential therapy with normal therapy and also something new called Philosophical Practitioning.
Check it out on my blog. www.philosophydegreejobs.com
Loved this post by the way. Nice to see this kind of reaction to my degree.
But thanks for a refreshing article.
Broken links. Please restore! I currently study PPE at Warwick so would love to hear what people are saying about where philosophy gets you. Would be a useful counter to my dad who wants me to do an MBA and not an MA in Philosophy and Literature (facepalm).
I have master degree in philosophy and just I have submitted my research project for Ph.D. now I am thinking about job. Anybody can suggest me in this regard…..? My id is email@example.com
I come from Poland, sorry for my English.
I think Philosophy can possibly (depend on student) teach you 'better' thinking - here logic (especially philosophical logic) and methodology as a tools for clearer distinguishing of ideas, meaning of words and the range of them.
Also student have chance to improve ability to thinking abstractively - ontology, epistemology and huge amount of history of philosophical ideas make difference and 'bend' student's mind in different shape.
Of course as always it depend on individual's ability, aptitude and attitude.
And the best, in my opinion, is finish philosophy by getting degree in Law:)
Thanks for sharing this Post, Keep Updating such topics.