value of philosophyTag
Philosophy departments often include in their pitch to undergraduates the claim that studying philosophy can improve one’s thinking skills. But does it? (more…)
Philosophers at Wellesley, Smith, Mount Holyoke, Bryn Mawr, and Barnard—all women’s colleges—have authored a letter opposing the proposed elimination of the philosophy department at Mills College. (more…)
Elliott Green, a professor in the International Development Department at the London School of Economics, looked at which works from anthropology, economics, education, geography, linguistics, management, philosophy, political science, and psychology are cited most by social scientists. At the top of the list of the 50 most cited books, he reports, is Thomas Kuhn’s ..
The Republican Presidential Primary Debate earlier this week led to a spike in public attention to the study of philosophy. Various news outlets covered Marco Rubio’s claim that the United States needs “more welders and less philosophers,” as well as other disparaging comments about philosophy by John Kasich and Ted Cruz (see previous post), along with responses by ..
Why should all of us have some access to philosophy?
Philosophy has traditionally been studied by the elites in a society, I suppose for a few reasons. One is that elites will want to be able to think for themselves. They want to be able to make decisions; they want to have leadership positions in society. Also, the elites in society want to enjoy the best of hum..
As we’ve discussed before, most of our students are not heading off to become philosophers. Increasingly, students already have jobs and are saddled with time-consuming responsibilities, and are coming from a broader range of socio-economic backgrounds. What good is a philosophical education for them? Jennifer Morton (City College of New York) takes up the question ..
Andrew Mills (Otterbein) is conducting a survey about what philosophers think is distinctively valuable about philosophy. I’ve reproduced his note about it, below, and I encourage you to complete the survey. As he says, the survey might help us adjust our teaching “so that we are emphasizing those skills and content that we think are most important for students to k..
Cosmology’s hot streak has stalled. Cosmologists have looked deep into time, almost all the way back to the Big Bang itself, but they don’t know what came before it. They don’t know whether the Big Bang was the beginning, or merely one of many beginnings. Something entirely unimaginable might have preceded it. Cosmologists don’t know if the world we see around us is..
Philosophy departments face many challenges. Philosophy is perceived by some as “less practical” and so less choiceworthy a course of study. Most entering students have not taken philosophy courses and do not come to college thinking about studying philosophy. Philosophy is unfamiliar, its critical element can scare away some students, and it has a reputation among ..
I am a professor of philosophy at a public university. What is the value of philosophy to the taxpayers who subsidize my teaching? Philosophy is an abstruse and difficult field. Many of those whose taxes support higher education probably would have a hard time seeing the point of most philosophical debates. Why ask people to pay for discussions of seemingly arcane a..
It is not the purpose of a Philosophy class to transmit information or inculcate skills, however useful that may be. It is to introduce students to the life of the mind, with all the characterological as well as intellectual changes that requires. It is to welcome the young man or woman into a moral sphere in which argument, honesty, and a passion for ideas reign…
“On occasion, someone will ask you why you’re a philosopher and not a scientist or some other, more obviously respectable, intellectual.”
I don’t know when Bryan Frances wrote “Why I Think Research in Non-Applied, Non-Interdisciplinary, Non-Historical Philosophy is Worthwhile” but now is a pretty good time to read it. It’s not even four pages long.
Traditionally, the liberal arts have been the privilege of an upper class. There are three big reasons for this. First, it befits the leisure time of an upper class to explore the higher goods of human life: to play Beethoven, to study botany, to read Aristotle, to go on an imagination-expanding tour of Italy. Second, because their birthright is to occupy leadership..