When I decided to study philosophy in the later years of my undergraduate study, I would get weird looks from many a people. Why would you decide to go from an Economics and Business background to studying Philosophy ? For myself it was a professional decision my studies in philosophy repeatedly prove to strengthen my experiences and future studies. Unlike popular misconceptions about a Philosophy degree, studying Philosophy has many advantages.
Studying Philosophy gives you depth. You learn and analyze historical texts and ways of thinking. Many of these text are very dense and hard to read and give you an excellent mental workout. Reading these texts sharpens your critical thinking skills as you learn how our ‘thinking’ has evolved over the centuries. Furthermore, you realize that even though these philosophers of the past were very wise men, the principles they introduced have evolved over time, giving rise to knew ways of thinking and application. Learning to apply logic and critical reasoning sharpens your mental activity. The skills set of critical reasoning and logic has led to many a scientific discoveries over the centuries. The principles of induction and deduction are powerful tools that can be applied across disciplines.
Reading philosophy is an exercise in sculpting your character. You learn about ethos, pathos and logos. You read as to why it is important to focus on ethics, you learn humility and learn to question your own knowledge and the knowledge of others. Being able to ask questions and test the principles that govern our world is an integral part of philosophy. It was only a few centuries ago till we thought that the world was flat. Learning philosophy is a forever learning process. Countless authors and philosopher from across the centuries have written and explored a depth of issues. You never run out of material to read and think about and write on. It sharpens you writing skills as you learn how to mold your writing inspired by the many a great philosopher before you.
People do wonder that what practical uses does philosophy have in the fast paced corporate world that we live in. Many people do not want to hear from philosophy majors who are bound by their studies in ethics and law to do the right thing. In a fast paced corporate world greed takes over and this greed and avarice is what philosophy protects you against. You learn to think about happiness and not only your happiness but the happiness of others. You learn about values and that money only has instrumental value while happiness has intrinsic value. You learn the philosophical positions of different cultures and you learn to appreciate the knowledge gained from different view points.
The Socratic method is the preferred method of law schools and therefore studying philosophy provides you with an excellent foundation from which to pursue further studies in law. In matters of policy formulation a good foundation in the study of different philosophical positions and schools of thoughts teaches you to avoid many a pit falls. It is from philosophy that you learn about political positions and the thought process behind policy formulation and the idea of a state. In matters of business philosophy enables you to think critically and you learn to use methods of reasoning to explore business ideas and concepts. Philosophy instills in you the practice of conducting business ethically and creating your management philosophy and leadership skills.
Philosophy is a beautiful discipline, with it’s reach extending into all disciplines. One must not surmise that philosophers only use logic. Many a philosophical positions are based on the foundation of rigorous mathematical and logical thinking. Neither should one hold the position that philosophers can only engage in the discipline of law, business or social policy. Philosophy extends its reach in to the disciplines of physical and social sciences holding its own in the disciplines of biology, medicine, engineering, psychology, economics, physics and the arts.
The fact that being a philosophy major you can study across disciplines gives you the desire to keep on learning. You make for an excellent interdisciplinary researcher who can hold their own across disciplines and if need arise specialize in one. In the midst of many a specialists a generalist philosopher can provide for a very cohesive working environment being able to relate to everyone around him. But perhaps one of the most important lessons to be learned from philosophy is that it teaches you wonder. It teaches you to marvel not only at your surroundings but also wonder out loud the meaning of your existence.