Non-Academic Philosophers in The Atlantic

The Atlantic has a short piece on Helen De Cruz’s interviews with non-academic philosophers, which were posted at NewApps in three parts (1, 2, 3). The article ends with a telling quote from Carl Baker, who is now a statistical researcher at the House of Commons Library:

If I had to highlight one weakness in my postgraduate training it would be the lack of discussion of how the skills developed during a philosophy Ph.D. can be used elsewhere.

We’ve taken up similar issues before, and one can get a sense of how the skills philosophers develop can be put to use elsewhere in the economy from seeing what kinds of non-academic jobs philosophers have gotten recently. Other suggestions about how to address Baker’s concern are welcome.

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9 years ago

I would like to add that Helen’s interviews (and their subsequent publicization in The Atlantic) are a valuable service to the philosophy profession. One challenge the profession faces is the common unfamiliarity with how studying philosophy could be practical, and this work helps educate the public on that point.

Reply to  justinrweinberg
9 years ago

I teach philosophy to children, and I constantly face this challenge when I talk to the parents of my students. You’re right to point out the value of the article. I’m happy to have read it and to know of the people she interviewed. I can point to them and say “look at this successful person, your child is developing skills like that.”

9 years ago

how would we come to know in any systematic sort of way how the skills of philosophy (which are?) do or do not translate into non-academic practices and whether or not these skills are the equal of the training/experience of someone who wasn’t actively part of their new field for as long as it takes to do philosophy grad work.

9 years ago

What are your thoughts on non-academic philosophers in the Pacific?