Why study philosophy
There are intrinsic and extrinsic reasons to study philosophy, and our links speak to both. With respect to the former, some study philosophy because they find the subject enjoyable and its questions and history fascinating; others regard philosophy as a central part of a university education, aimed at gaining knowledge and understanding about the world and ourselves.
But philosophy, while not providing any obvious vocational training for particular courses, has many extrinsic or instrumental benefits. The skills that philosophers develop – including the capacities to think well about important issues, to assess and formulate arguments, to communicate clearly and succinctly, and to learn to be an independent and flexible thinker – will both be of value throughout one’s life and in demand by many employers. As a result, the study of philosophy promises, for many students, to be both its own reward and to have significant value beyond the subject.
See also Careers and Employability for more information about academic and non-academic careers in philosophy.
You can find information about the value of philosophy, and answers to the question ‘why study philosophy?’, on most departmental websites. Some of these will focus on the benefits of studying at that particular department or university. But many have more general information about the value of the subject, and advice on career prospects and other external benefits to a philosophy degree. There are also a number of websites and newspaper links promoting the value of philosophy; we’ve included some of the best of these below.
- McNeese State University
- The Open University
- New York Times
- US News
- The Atlantic
- The Guardian
- The Atlantic
Philosophy for all
Philosophical writing is not restricted to academic books and journals, and the audience of philosophical writing does not consist solely of academic philosophers. Instead, an increasing number of publications, podcasts, and websites bring philosophical writing and research to a wider audience. These publications aim for accessibility without sacrificing rigour, and should be of interest to students pre- and post-university, their teachers, and any member of the general public with an interest in philosophical questions. See our dedicated page on public philosophy.