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Bright Future for Philosophy Students! April 7, 2008

Posted by Nina Rosenstand in Nina Rosenstand's Posts, Philosophy, Philosophy Profession.


I’m often asked by my students what they’ll be able to do with philosophy as a major. The latest answer, according to the New York Times and The Guardian, is, anything you want! Philosophy has emerged as the latest fad major, not for the first time, but this time around it actually appears as if there is some solid reasoning going on, not just in the minds of philosophy students, but in the minds of employers. According to The Guardian,

“Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency show philosophy graduates, once derided as unemployable layabouts, are in growing demand from employers. The number of all graduates in full-time and part-time work six months after graduation has risen by 9% between 2002-03 and 2005-06; for philosophy graduates it has gone up by 13%.

It is in the fields of finance, property development, health, social work and the nebulous category of “business” that those versed in Plato and Kant are most sought after. In “business”, property development, renting and research, 76% more philosophy graduates were employed in 2005-06 than in 2002-03. In health and social work, 9% more….

…Fiona Czerniawska, director of the Management Consultancies Association’s think tank, says: “A philosophy degree has trained the individual’s brain and given them the ability to provide management-consulting firms with the sort of skills that they require and clients demand. These skills can include the ability to be very analytical, provide clear and innovative thinking, and question assumptions.””

 This is, of course, what we philosophy instructors have been saying for years, but we’ve generally considered it a nice bonus added to the major benefit of actually enjoying doing philosophy. And according to the New York Times, it is a lot of fun—and it is also useful (hmmmmm):

“Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other perks. She said she found many male philosophy majors interesting and sensitive. “That whole deep existential torment,” she said. “It’s good for getting girlfriends.””




1. Huan - April 7, 2008

I would like to disagree with “That whole deep existential torment is good for getting girlfriends” comment, personal experience says otherwise. 🙂

Seriously though, this is good news indeed. I think most serious philosophy students know that it’s much more than just an interesting leisure activity, it’s extremely useful to be able to think analytically. Now even the business world recognizes this, perhaps early education will soon also recognize this and middle-high school will become much more philosophy oriented! I couldn’t even imagine what things would be like if I was interested in philosophy back in middle school.

One thing is quite strange to me though, I always thought of the world of profit as bureaucratic and not very flexible, where any sign of flexible thinking would lead to the system’s demise. Maybe that only applies to the chess pieces and not the person playing chess?

Another thing, why Plato and Kant?

2. Moriae - April 7, 2008

Why Plato OR Kant?

3. philagon - April 12, 2008

Synecdoche: a term denoting a part of something is used to refer to the whole thing

Plato and Kant = philosophy

4. Huan - April 12, 2008

I thought there was something about them that was more attractive to the capitalist world. It makes sense in the case of Plato in an indirect way, isn’t he the one that inspired Ayn Rand’s ideas?

5. Stephen - April 13, 2008

Huan, that was Aristotle.

6. Huan - April 13, 2008

Oh was it? My mistake, I just remembered something about her thinking Nietzsche’s ideas lacked “forms”.

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