Philosophy in Your Academic Study
Not everyone is ready to become a professional philosopher. You may be wondering, although philosophy can certainly enrich one’s life and deepen one’s thought, whether the study of philosophy has any “cash value” to your other academic pursuits? In other words, can philosophy bake “bread” for you? The answer is straightforward: it surely does by “heating up” the oven for you. To see why, 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? No 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, problem analyzing and 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. As law, seminary, medical, business, and other professional school faculty and admission personnel have often said, philosophy is an excellent preparation for their students. Especially, certain 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 sciences 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.
Want to know why you had better take some philosophy courses, check the following links from the website of American Philosophical Association: