Philosophy can be daunting and confusing to take on. Many people find it convoluted and difficult to grasp on even a basic level. Further, a lot of us don’t necessarily see the point of it. When our friend tells us they’re a philosophy major, the first thing we want to ask is: “What kind of job can you even get with that?”
Each person stands to gain something from delving into this form of study. Philosophy comes from two root words which come together to mean “love of wisdom,” and this is a very accurate term. Philosophy is a way of approaching the problems in humanity that science and math cannot answer. Philosophy is a way of trying to understand what is referred to as the human condition. In this article, I provide five reasons why I think philosophy is valuable and even necessary.
- It provides valued job skills: What a lot of people don’t always understand is that college isn’t just a direct ticket to a job in your field. For many employers, what they’re really looking for in a degree is evidence that you’re a capable learner and that you’re dedicated and well-rounded. A philosophy degree is no less indicative of this than a degree in anything else. Further, it hones many of the skills that make people attractive options to employers. Philosophy provides discipline, a deep understanding of ethics and morality, and it shows a depth of cognition.
- It helps you to understand yourself: Many of us go through our lives experiencing confusing and conflicting phenomena. People are tricky and contradictory, and they create situations which are both complex and baffling at times. Philosophy seeks to understand the way humans think, feel and behave. Through reading this work, we can better understand through the words of dedicated scholars just what we’re feeling and doing and why it happens. For example, through reading Jean-Paul Sartre’s essay “Existentialism and Human Emotions,” I was better able to understand much of the guilt and frustration I experience on a daily basis.
- The issues are enduring: Philosophy is not an outdated study from the days of old and it is not best left to the people who have already come and gone. The issues tackled by philosophers are timeless in the sense that they are still present in our daily lives. Struggle, despair, conflict, war, peace and other deeply complex components of society are not going away anytime soon. Philosophers work hard to make sense of these things, especially with regards to the time they’re living in. Life is constantly progressing forward into the future, and it is incredibly important that we are constantly modernizing and updating our ways of thinking to help us better understand issues of humanity in the context that they’re occurring in.
- It helps us hone skills of logic and reasoning: Many of us are deeply introspective and enjoy doing this kind of thinking already. Philosophy helps us exercise those parts of the brain in a more sophisticated and structured manner. Philosophy also provides us with the appropriate and fitting language so that we can discuss things logically and accurately. It helps us to think more abstractly, but also helps us to apply the abstract to real and tangible scenarios.
- It is politically relevant: I don’t think it’s too controversial for me to say that morality and politics are deeply intertwined. Many great works of philosophy were published on the tail end of war, political occupation and other social tragedies. Much of this work is revered and still referenced to this day because of how profound and illuminating the critiques were. The world is currently undergoing insurmountable levels of political turmoil and it can feel difficult for even the most astute political science student to make sense of everything going on. Philosophy can help all of us to have a more nuanced and in-depth examination of current events.