Why Major in Philosophy?

Why major in philosophy? Studying philosophical questions and theories is inherently fascinating. Philosophy can be a source of tremendous intellectual stimulation and satisfaction. It can also help you learn to think through important personal, scientific, social, and political issues.

One purpose of a university education is to become informed about the alternatives open to you in life, to identify and critically examine the values you endorse, the kind of life you hope to lead, and the sort of person you hope to be, and to discover how to pursue these ideals. Studying philosophy, whether you major in it or just take a few electives, will help you fulfill this purpose.

Studying philosophy has numerous practical advantages as well. Philosophy trains you to read critically and write clearly. It helps you learn to speak in front of and debate with others. It gives you practice in evaluating and supporting or criticizing rival proposals about various issues. It teaches you to grasp both the forest and the trees—the overall picture and the details that make up that picture. A philosophy major or minor is like a fitness program for the mind, strengthening your cognitive skills, intellectual creativity, and even emotional wisdom to help prepare you for any challenge to which you apply yourself. Philosophy majors typically go on to careers in a variety of fields, including business, politics, law, and journalism. They are welcomed by employers for their ability to learn quickly, evaluate and improve on what they’ve learned, and adapt to change.

If you are already committed to a major in another subject, consider doing a minor in philosophy or a double major with philosophy and another subject. Philosophy can be especially useful when studied in conjunction with subjects such as psychology, politics, economics, anthropology, sociology, law, history, literature, journalism, or foreign languages.

The following are several interesting websites and articles about the benefits of studying philosophy.