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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Why Study?

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Confucius, a Chinese philosopher

The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyse, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be - and not everybody can come to grips with the demands of Austrian logical positivism - the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.

It can also be studied at many levels. In the US, where the number of philosophy graduates has increased by 5% a year during the 1990s, only a very few go on to become philosophers. Their employability, at 98.9%, is impressive by any standard. Philosophy has always been a good training for the law, but it is equally useful for computer scientists. In this country, the Higher Education Statistics Survey ranks philosophy of science with medicine in its employment record for graduates.

Philosophy is, in commercial jargon, the ultimate "transferable work skill".

Philosophy in the Job Market