The Importance of Philosophy in Your Academic Studies
A question from our students: "You know that not everyone is ready to become a professional philosopher. I am wondering, although philosophy can certainly enrich one’s life and deepen one’s thought, whether the study of philosophy can add any 'cash value' to other academic pursuits?
The answer is straightforward. Ask yourself this question: what do the fields of natural sciences (astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, biology), social sciences (anthropology, psychology, sociology, criminal justice, economics, business and management, communication, peace and conflict studies), humanities (history, philosophy, English, world languages and cultures, religious studies), and mathematics and computer science have in common? Not much in the way of subject matter, that is for sure. What they do have in common is their dependence on critical THINKING. They all require you to develop the abilities of critical thinking, analyzing and problem solving, effective communication, and skillful persuasion. Philosophy is thinking about thinking. The study of philosophy is the best way to develop and improve those different capacities of thinking: such as the abilities of revealing implicit assumptions, identifying and solving problems, organizing ideas and issues, assessing pro and cons, spotting logical fallacies, engaging in rational argumentation, effectively communicating ideas and agendas, and writing with clarity and with the power of persuasion. These capacities of thinking represent transferable skills that can be effective transferred from philosophy to non-philosophy areas of study.
Besides, study of philosophy can yield immediate benefits for students planning post-graduate study. Professional schools, such as law, seminary, medicine, business, often advise that philosophy is an excellent preparation for their fields. Training in philosophy is indispensable to the students who want to pursue their graduate study in humanities and social sciences. To a certain degree, the importance of philosophy to humanities and social science students is as mathematics to natural sciences students. This is why the students majoring in philosophy usually tend to perform better in other fields of humanities and in any area of social sciences.
To learn more why philosophy is necessary, at least beneficial, to your study in other areas, please read the following links from APA website and other related sites:
The Uses of Philosophy in Academic Studies (review "General Uses of Philosophy" and "The Uses of Philosophy in Educational Pursuits")