Why Philosophy Is Actually a Really Important Major

Usually, when I tell someone that I’m majoring in philosophy, their first response is to cringe or look really concerned. But after they hear that I’m also majoring in economics, their shoulders relax and they seem a bit more content. People are probably concerned about my decision to major in philosophy because it has a highly erroneous stereotype attached to it, that the major is “worthless” or “a waste of time”. “What kind of job can you get with a philosophy major?” and “Do you do anything besides argue?” are really common questions I get from people who don’t truly understand the philosophy major here at Florida State University. As a second-year student who is taking upper-level philosophy courses, I can attest to the fact that it’s a worthwhile and rewarding major, for a multitude of reasons. 

It takes you way, way outside of your comfort zone.

One of the reasons why I think philosophy is such a valuable major is because of the fact that it has the ability to make you uncomfortable and flexible in your learning. College is the perfect time to start exposing yourself to views that are foreign to you or different from your own, because, in the grand scheme of things, not everyone is going to agree with you. The philosophy courses here at FSU tackle a wide range of controversial topics, including the existence of God, self, free will, and it even debates on issues such as the morality of the death penalty or abortion. I’ve found myself challenging and changing my own views many times since I’ve been a philosophy student, and the courses I’ve taken have definitely helped me adopt stronger and more independent views. Philosophy is probably one of the few, if not the only, college major that can give you the unique and important skills of tolerance and adaptation to concepts you may not agree with. 

Courtesy: Daily Nous

Philosophy provides you with skills that apply to a wide range of jobs.

I think that people negatively judge the philosophy major because they believe it will leave a person jobless or without post-grad opportunities. However, majoring in philosophy can set you up to obtain a wide range of jobs, including jobs in areas such as law, education, journalism, politics, business and more. In fact, philosophy majors consistently score the highest on the Law School Entrance Exam (LSAT) compared to other majors. According to the Philosophy Department at UC Davis, data from the Law School Admission Council shows that philosophy is the highest-scoring undergraduate major, with an average LSAT score of 159. Additionally, philosophy majors have salaries that match the invaluable skills they possess. According to the Educational Testing Service (ETS), philosophy majors with only undergraduate degrees have the fourth-highest median earnings, coming in at $81,200 per year. This figure outranks the salaries of other popular STEM majors like business and chemistry, which have earnings of $72,100 and $79,900, respectively. 

Courtesy: Scientific American

The networking opportunities are amazing. 

I may be slightly biased, but the professors here at FSU are some of the best in existence. I have professors who have been published by Oxford University Press, have traveled to foreign countries to speak on philosophical topics, and professors who are willing to tackle critical research with undergraduates. Part of the college experience is taking advantage of networking opportunities that can help you in your future career. Philosophy gives you an amazing chance at doing this because the major is usually fairly small at any given university, thus professors have the chance to form a more personable relationship with students. Here at FSU specifically,the philosophy department consists of distinguished philosophers and scientists who have worked hard at making our university home to one of the most diverse and successful research institutions in existence and have committed to making our program extremely fruitful. As a first-semester sophomore, I was able to join FSU’s Experimental Philosophy Group, which consists of graduate students, scientists, philosophers and professors alike. This is an invaluable opportunity that has already provided me with so much knowledge and outlook for my future career path. This is all to say that the philosophy major can open extremely exciting doors for you. It’s a major that has professors whom are determined to share their love of philosophy and pass on their wisdom to younger students. 

Courtesy: Oxford University Press

This is the cover of a book that was published by Oxford University Press and written by one of my professors, Alfred Mele. 

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