Recently, I received some flak from someone for taking a philosophy class. Though I’m not working towards a philosophy degree, I’ve often found that philosophy courses are a good way to relate other areas of study. Depending on the subject of the courses, a few philosophy courses can work as an effective way to bind together the knowledge from other areas of study. At the very least, each philosophy course is an opportunity to develop and practice the following skills.
- Thinking clearly and logically about a problem.
- Evaluating a chain of reasoning for errors.
- Dissecting and analyzing claims, arguments, and rhetoric.
- Communicating a problem and solution in a clear manner.
Regardless of whether or not the specific subject matter of a philosophy course can ever be applied to work or living, these skills have value. Further, knowledge for the sake of knowledge is worthwhile. It’s up to the student to figure out how any course applies to their career or life. Personally, I enjoy learning about these subjects while exercising these skills. I’ve even used these skills while on the job. Examples are listed below.
- Documenting a problem and solution.
- Moderating discussions in a meeting.
- Thinking clearly about misinformed claims or feedback.
- Challenging an idea in a meeting and clearly communicating an alternative idea or course of action.
There may be other ways to develop these skills. However, if you love knowledge and have interest in the course material, why not study philosophy?