Why major in philosophy?
The fact you’re reading this means you’ve
already been considering it. You’ve heard the call. If nothing
else sounds as loudly in your inner ear, then don’t turn away -
listen. Can you become a thoughtful, flourishing human being
without having been a philosophy major? Of course. But if taking
a deep dive into philosophy seems like a good move, right now
and right here, then it is a good move.
About meI went on to earn my Ph.D. in philosophy
from DePaul University in Chicago. I decided not to pursue a
professorship, but still teach and write a bit on top of my day
job as an administrator in the liberal arts college at DePaul,
where I spend a good deal of time talking with students who are
unsure about their academic direction. When they (or more
likely, their parents) ask me, “But what can you DO with a major
in …. “ I say, “Anything!”
I am sometimes able to smile through the absurdity.
Current position: Self-employed. Sole proprietor and CEO of Kurt
Carlson Appraisals. Easy to get along with.
Why philosophy? Every good philosophy
course I have taken has had a real impact on my
life, from Logic and Metaphysics to Ethics and Political Philosophy.
Each of these courses has helped me to better understand who I am, where I fit into the
world, and how to think about these issues more effectively, more creatively, and in a more
AdviceExpect your ideas and beliefs to grow
and change. Remember that you are taking
philosophy classes to learn, not because you
already have it all figured out. Spend a
lot of time thinking about and developing the
questions and ideas that excite you. Write about
them and find people who will help you think
more productively about them. Take courses from
different instructors, and engage them in
conversation if you can. They have more to offer
you than you might think.
MeI was immediately gripped by philosophy
at UWL and I took a wide variety of courses from
different instructors. I haven’t stopped doing
philosophy since UWL. I am currently teaching in
the Philosophy Department at Northern Arizona
University. I continue to work through many of
the ideas I began thinking about at UWL.
Philosophy truly is a noble
art. As far as we know, humans are the only
being capable of thinking about thinking in a philosophical manner. It is a
long tradition that has and will continue to
impact the greater world outside of its discipline and academia.
Philosophy trains one to employ critical
thinking to analyze and resolve the myriad situations one will
encounter in life and ensures a broad background
to specialize in nearly any discipline or
AdviceIf you do philosophy, do it
well with all your heart. Everyone I have met
from all over the globe who has done this, has had amazing things happen for them. Philosophy
done right enables one to choose unique and
Academically, after finishing my B.S. in
Philosophy, I ended up finishing my MA in
Liberal Studies at the University of Illinois (Political Philosophy and Public Health) and a
Project Management Professional Certification.
Professionally, I have worked as a Cambodian refugee Mental Health Case
Manager, for the federal government at the
Social Security Administration, as a coordinator for Bioethics Research Projects
and I currently manage various Medical Research
Projects at the Mayo Clinic in such fields as medical informatics, genomic
medicine, and laboratory data management.
Philosophy's Impact on my life:
I graduated from UWL an Education major
with minors in history, political science and
philosophy. Having spent significant chunks of time in
three major departments at UWL, I can say with
absolute certainty and pride that the time spent in
philosophy classes, and with the philosophy
faculty, was the most valuable educational experience of my
Why?Because the Philosophy department at UWL impacted me
academically and intellectually more than any other department. Beyond the utilitarian skill set of fine tuning my abilities to
think and write (thank you Dr. Glass for your insistence on
brevity) philosophy provided me with an intellectual outlet. If
you like to think, discuss and write, you must at least consider
a minor in philosophy. My philosophy courses were never seen as
an extra academic burden, but rather a joyous gathering of
I remember my first philosophy class. It felt like a thought awakening! I
didn't care that I was told my career options were 'severely limited.' I wanted more awakenings, so I
took as many philosophy classes as I could, and I am so glad I did! Many of the skills I developed
through my studies in philosophy: logic, analytical reasoning, creativity, and (let's be honest)
reading comprehension,have been invaluable to me in my graduate studies and my current line of
work. I'd recommend the
Why major in philosophy?
People always asked me, “Philosophy,
what are you going to do with that degree?” Or, they would exclaim, “You can’t get a job with that!”
However, examining the details between the frames of life not only gives a person the meaning
and value of an examined life, but it also adds to quality of
In twenty years, when you and all your friends are
working 9 to5 and then going home to clean the house and mow the
lawn, will you say, “Man I am glad I took marketing in college
instead of asking the really challenging questions about myself,
my culture, and my world?
I hope not!”
Hell, do both!
Find the people you most admire in history and do what they did.
About Me—After graduating with a major in philosophy from
UW La Crosse, I earned my master’s degree in nursing from
I am currently working as an adult nurse practitioner
outside of Madison, WI.
Skills acquired in philosophy:
One of the most valuable skills refined through studying philosophy has been
that of analytic analysis. Being able to take a broad set of information and
compare, contrast and evaluate relationships is a necessary tool that reaches
across many areas. Furthermore, the ability to develop one's own comprehension
of information can be greatly rewarding when solving problems in many areas of
work or study.
Advice to Current UWL Students:
Life is fleeting so enjoy the journey. College was one of the best eras of my
life. Make sure to study what you love and don't compromise your educational
interests for a degree that supposedly will get you a lots of money. Instead,
follow your passion and turn your dreams into a reality that can support you.
Through this you will be more personally fulfilled and have more to offer the
Current position: Self Employed: Freelance musician, audio engineer
and graphic designer. I also teach music privately and perform in local bands
based out of Madison, WI.
Check out his website at
Why you should consider studying philosophy:
In studying philosophy one learns how to think instead of what to think.
My journey to/through philosophy: “What do you want to
be when you grow up?” Quite possibly the hardest question anyone has ever asked me. Having always been
a good student with diverse interests, I struggled with choosing a major and
minor. After taking several general education courses I stumbled upon philosophy…I was hooked!
Studying philosophy pushed me to think differently about the world, the people in
it, and the interaction of both. The questions and process became more important than
answers and outcomes. This perspective has become pivotal in my life. Me:
I graduated from UWL in the spring of 2007 with a BA in
Psychology and minor in Philosophy. After five years of gaining valuable life experience through
repeated successes and failures,I am currently a Second Degree Candidate at UWL for
Spanish Education. I think I finally know what I want to be when
I grow up…maybe? Being a grown-up seems so final; I hope my
journey never ends.
Aurora: perpetual student of the world…continual
work in progress.
Why Philosophy? It’s
an invitation to question and explore to your heart’s content. Why wouldn’t you study philosophy? The guidance and
care I received in the philosophy department trained my thinking, warmed my soul, and pushed me to expand my awareness in ways that make me who I am today. About me: Since graduating
I have attended graduate school in an interdisciplinary study of international affairs and political science. Whether
my class was taught by a sociologist, economist, anthropologist, or political scientist, I always
found that my background in philosophy was a major asset for understanding their field,
and what was at stake in its assumptions and methods. I am currently
a PhD candidate in the field of Political Science, and continue to build directly onto the education that
I received in the philosophy department.
addition to being almost absurdly fun, philosophy will provide
you with a wide range of skills woefully absent from other
disciplines. Not limited to the ability to readily summarize
complicated material in a concise way and solve pressing
problems in a way which is relevant to your life, philosophy
will help you appeal to the masses by learning to appreciate the
perspectives of others as you develop aptitude for reasoning
analytically, methodically, logically, synthetically, and
beyond. You will analyze the relationships between factors,
cause and effect (if there is such a thing), and yourself and
others. You will come out of a philosophy major having learned
to articulate and defend adequately concepts, ideas, and
most importantly, you’ll get more jokes.
you’ve ever asked any of the “big questions,” had an opinion you
just knew you were right about, thought about your place in the
world/universe, wondered if everyone sees colors differently, or
questioned how so much of the universe can be empty space,
philosophy is for you. As one of the smallest majors on campus,
it’d be “absurd” to not have philosophy, logic, and tons of
other worthwhile courses under your belt in addition to whatever
you thought was more important.
About: Currently continuing the search for Truth.
With the ultimate pursuit of a doctorate in philosophy, plenty
of research, and teaching.
Particularly interested in metaphysics,
epistemology, phenomenology, & sense perception; animal
cognition, ethno-zoology, & apiology; philosophy of religion,
Mediaeval, & early modern philosophy; & absurdities & paradoxes.
Favourite philosophers include David Hume and F.W.J. Schelling.
If you received a degree in Philosophy at UWL, we'd love to post your story. Please send a brief bio, including your reasons for studying philosophy, to mkrizan AT uwlax DOT edu. If you'd like your picture to be included, please send that as well.