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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.
I 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.
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 interesting way.
Expect 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.
I 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 career field.
If 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 meaningful paths.
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 UWL career.
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 intellectual fellowship.
I am a proud UWL graduate with a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction. I currently teach AP Psychology and World History in Shanghai, China at Shanghai American School's Puxi Campus. I am also a staff writer for Urban Family Magazine writing articles on development, psychology and education.
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 philosophy program at UWL to anyone who wants to develop versatile skills that will remain relevant throughout life, or anyone searching for a thought awakening. There's nothing like it!
About Me: I attended Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco from 2007 to 2010. While in San Francisco I interned at the California Appellate Project working on death row inmate appeal cases. I am currently working as a Contract Attorney for various litigation firms in the Twin Cities.
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 life. 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.
After graduating with a major in philosophy from UW La Crosse, I earned my master’s degree in nursing from Marquette University. 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 world.
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 JourdanHines.com.
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.
Why Philosophy? In 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 beliefs. Perhaps most importantly, you’ll get more jokes.
If 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.