# Jobs for Philosopher?

1. Dec 6, 2005

### beanryu

Okay, I want to be a philosopher.
I think about life alot, the meaning of life, people's interaction and I think i figured out alots of things already in my own interpretation.

Is there any job available for a thinker like me except becoming a teacher or another confucius? Any jobs for Philosopher? Philosophy major?

2. Dec 6, 2005

### inha

I have no factual information but I guess your career choices would be either getting a faculty position at some university or flipping burgers.

3. Dec 6, 2005

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
Many people who have an undergrad degree in philosophy end up going into law.

4. Dec 6, 2005

### JasonRox

He might get fired for flipping burgers because he will be thinking about flipping burgers too much, and not actually flipping them. :tongue:

I don't think there is much out there for a Philosophy Degree, probably nothing. If you think about life so much, I find it surprising that you aren't into physics or anything of the sort.

Philosophy is cool and everything, but you studying philosophy doesn't really make you a better of a thinker, in my opinion. I'm taking a philosophy course next term, but I don't expect anything out of it besides a history lesson (which is why I'm taking it).

I believe Paul S. Halmos got his Ph. D in Philosophy and he admitted that getting a Ph. D. in Philosophy you must become a mindless drone, so I don't know where being a mindless drone becomes useful.

Note: Like MIH said above, Law is probably a good direction. She is right. Most people argue that they Law Students choose to take Art Degrees because they are easier, hence higher marks, and easier entry into Law School.

Note: I know of two Law Students, and they both agree with what I said in the previous note.

Last edited: Dec 6, 2005
5. Dec 6, 2005

### robphy

Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
6. Dec 6, 2005

### gravenewworld

Study logic. Logic goes hand in hand with computer science/programming. You can be a philosopher that does programming. Med schools like philo majors too.

7. Dec 7, 2005

### beanryu

but the thing about physics and engineering is that they require a lot of work and talents in math. I can't even take an integral now and I am drowning in my electrical engineering class.

8. Dec 7, 2005

### Tide

Write books! Either textbooks or popularizations - start early and be persistent.

9. Dec 7, 2005

### Math Is Hard

Staff Emeritus
Just for fun, here is a list of famous philosophy majors:
http://www.clemson.edu/caah/philosophy/website/html/Famous majors.html

I thought the "Hollywood" group was the most interesting:

Wes Anderson (director and filmmaker - Rushmore and The Royal Tennenbaums)
Steve Allen (writer and comedian)
Woody Allen (director, writer and comedian)
George Carlin (Comedian and actor)
David Duchovny (actor on X-FILES)
Harrison Ford (actor)
Chris Hardwick (MTV host)
Jimmy Kimmel (comedian and former star of The Man Show)
Jay Leno (Host, The Tonight Show)
Peter Lynch (director)
Steve Martin (comedian & actor)
Dennis Miller (comedian)
Joan Rivers (comedian)
Susan Sarandon (actress)
Gene Siskel (movie reviewer, SISKEL & EBERT AT THE MOVIES)
Steve Thomas--Host, This Old House
Dave Thomas (one of the "Mackenzie Brothers" on SCTV)
Alex Trebeck (Host of Jeopardy)

10. Dec 7, 2005

### Poop-Loops

Philosophy is fun, but there's not much you can do. Your best bet is probably just leaving it as a hobby and do something else that you like.

The LAST thing we need is another hippy running around giving his opinion on things nobody cares about. ;)

11. Dec 13, 2005

### JoshHolloway

You could always get a good factory or construction job with a philosophy degree.

12. Jul 29, 2009

### Solombas

This is a useful website for advice on the kind of jobs you can get into with a PhD in Philosophy:

If you think about life a lot Philosophy IS exactly what you need to study alongside with a science of your interest (e.g. psychology, physics, biology etc.). I have been studying philosophy for enough years now to understand that:

1) Philosophy is NOT a history lesson!!

What is Philosophy?
There is no formal definition BUT:
Philosophers try to understand about the mind and the world, about what we ought to do as human beings and our place in the universe through the use of ARGUMENTATION and LOGIC.

2) Philosophy REQUIRES you to be a better thinker!

Philosophy is different than most university courses in that it ISN'T about conveying a body of empirical facts. Philosophy is about CRITICALLY ANALYSING an argument for a conclusion, regardless if the conclusion is empirical or not.

Therefore, Philosophy HAS to involve critical thinking skills!

I am much like you in that I think about meaning of life a lot. It is not an easy thing to do to understand the universe and it cannot be done by studying one discipline of science or philosophy alone (yes not even physics by itself and you can see Einstein was also an enthusiastic philosopher).

It is often better to study some discipline of science and philosophy as you will need both to understand the universe.

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
13. Jul 29, 2009

### Solombas

Don't know where you get that misinformation from.

Philosophy ISN'T about giving opinions, they don't give a DAMN about opinions. Philosophers care about the reasons behind a conclusion and they analyse them critically through use of logic. Simple as that - there is no trick about philosophy!

14. Jul 29, 2009

### maverick_starstrider

There's a big difference between PHILOSOPHY as a field and a PHILOSOPHER. Philosophers, in my complete and exclusive experience, are just full of hot air and either go to faculty positions, law school, use their degree as one of the standard "any bachelours required" jobs or become writers. I've often felt that the field of PHILOSOPHY has been tarnished, in the post-modern era, by PHILOSOPHER. But that's just one mans opinion.

15. Jul 29, 2009

### mal4mac

Sounds like you *already are* a philosopher manque. So do you want to be a professional philosopher?

What do you mean by "teacher"? School teacher? Of what? Physics? University teacher? Of what? I

I don't think the careers office will be able to help you with your aim to "be another Confucius." Too ill defined. What do you mean by this in terms they would understand? Political Adviser? Philosophical Counsellor?

16. Jul 29, 2009

### D H

Staff Emeritus
Do philosophers specialize in giving untimely answers? This thread is almost four years old!

17. Jul 29, 2009

### DukeofDuke

He's probably got his PhD in flipping burgers, er, philosophy, by now.

18. Jul 30, 2009

### mal4mac

Philosophers are quite happy to pursue threads that are 2500 years old. Plato and Aristotle are looked at as 'philosophical colleagues', and are much cited in modern philosophy books.

19. Jul 30, 2009

### Solombas

I assume you are blaming the modern day philosophers here. And I take it you didn't mean ALL modern philosophers are full of hot air since it is obviously not possible to meet all philosophers in the world. So, whether if most philosophers are intellectually empty is an empirical question. Meeting a few philosophers in one person's experience in a specific culture in time and place doesn't mean that they are representative of philosophers in general.

Besides, if a philosopher's argument is full of hot air then they cannot get away with being philosophers and certainly not a professor. Any philosophical conclusion must be defended by logical premises in an argument or it will not be a philosophical argument. It is like arguing for a mathematical answer with logical proofs - a mathematician can't just use illogical and nonsensical math rules in a paper and so can't philosophers use illogical and nonsensical statements in a paper. As long as a philosopher's argument is cogent and sound, then it doesn't matter if they are a green jelly-blob fish with one eye sticking out of its backside; their argument is still cogent.

But the field of philosophy has indeed been tarnished, we know from philosophy of physics, for example, that the Newtonian concept of absolute space and time no longer fits our empirical findings well ever since Einstein came into the picture; whereas it used to be a widely accepted theory before relativity. So, philosophy back then was probably just about as tarnished as it is now. We never know if our philosophical theories are certainly correct, just like in science.

20. Jul 30, 2009

### Solombas

Yes, in certain arguments of philosophy they are still looked at because their arguments, despite ancient, are still cogent and sound even in today's world. For example, we still use Newton's laws of motion to build rockets even though they are hundreds of years old and probably would still use it in the far future.

Just because a scientific principle is old doesn't stop us from using it and so we don't discard ancient philosophical arguments if their logic is still sound by modern standards.

21. Jul 30, 2009

### cosmogirl

My cousin's husband has a PhD in philosophy. What he really wanted was to get a postdoc position or a lectureship, but in the mean time he's designing websites.
Seems like a risky choice, anyway. You might want to do a double major, just in case.

22. Jul 30, 2009

### DukeofDuke

I dunno, it seems like a lot of philosophy is just about inventing an internally consistent system and then superimposing it on reality. The problem is, philosophers don't take note when reality bites back.

My university offered a course called History of Modern Philosophy, a pretty basic cruise starting with Descartes and continuing on. Descartes, Leibniz, Malebranche, Locke, Berkeley, Hume, Kant, they all come up with totally different worldviews and there's absolutely no way to disprove some of their internally consistent yet intuitively stupid ideas. Descartes will just tell you you're not clearly and distinctly perceiving things well enough. Malebranche will tell you that nothing can move on its own unless God runs around pushing everything because of some bogus ideas about "first cause" (and that's all it is, ideas and semantics), and Berkeley will tell you there's no world in the first place. Its all in your head, except its actually not your head because your head doesn't exist.

Sorry to be frank, but they all just invent some internally consistent ******** based on certain assumptions and nothing else, and for this reason only Hume managed not to make me angry while I was reading. Because Hume's position on extending past knowledge to the future is a lot like the scientific method...accumulating evidence, accumulating signs that nature approves of your ideas. Its that respect for nature, the real world, facts, etc that makes me like Hume, and its the lack of that respect which turns me off from philosophy.

23. Jul 30, 2009

### JCVD

Dalton from Road House got his PhD in philosophy from NYU and went on to become the nation's top bouncer (technically, the top cooler). I recall he got $5000 up front and$500 per night plus medical expenses to clean up the Double Deuce, the rowdiest bar in Missouri. He applied his philosophy training to his job, making deep metaphysical observations such as "pain don't hurt."

24. Jul 30, 2009

### mal4mac

25. Jul 30, 2009

### AUMathTutor

@DukeofDuke:

But empiricism is just another philosophy. What makes that better than any others, aside from personal preference? Mathematics is not empirical. Would you argue that mathematics imposes systems on the real world and that it makes you angry?

I think that philosophy, as the term is used nowadays, is just mathematics and science extended to the non-mathematical and non-scientific aspects of our lives. But, in the broader sense, all of mathematics, science, and in general the human academic endeavour is just philosophy.

That being said, perhaps philosophy is not the most lucrative, practical, or otherwise respectable major because it lacks sufficient depth of focus. You could make a major called "science" in which the student studied chemistry, biology, physics, geology, astronomy, computer science, mathematics, psychology, etc. and that would essentially be just as worthless as a degree in philosophy. Why? Sure, you learned a lot... but you didn't learn much about any specific topic. And most jobs don't need you to be well-rounded, just good at what you do.

Jobs that might require general knowledge on a wide variety of topics? Teacher, author, etc. Same as for philosophy.

So I don't think there's anything wrong with studying philosophy, even in the modern sense. But I think that the major could be broken up, for instance...

Ethics (like a pre-law degree, etc.)
Logic (like a computer-science degree)
Philosophy of Science (like a physics, chemistry, or biology degree)
Philosophy of Mathematics (like a mathematics degree)
History of Philosophy (like a history degree)
Economical Philosophy (like a business degree)
etc.

There would be enough to say about each of these subjects to fill an undergraduate degree, and they could be accompanied by a selection of useful courses from other departments. For instance, the "Philosophy of Science with a concentration in Physics" could include courses in basic physics and mathematics, as well as courses in logic, computers, the ethics of science, the history of technology, etc. In fact, you could make them take enough applications courses and leave enough room for electives to allow, nay, encourage double-majoring in the corresponding discipline, say, Physics.

Double majoring, of course, would be an easier solution.