Why Bother?

March 8, 2010

Why bother with academic majors that essentially make up the core of the academy…like, oh, I dunno, philosophy. It’s useless anyway.


  1. Perhaps. The academic majors are actually helpful, but you need to combine them with more “practical” training.

  2. This kind of thinking amongst the administrators is very troubling. As is the notion that ‘practical training’ is something that the classroom/lecture model of the university does well. If I want practical training in some vocation, I’m not majoring in something silly. I’m either skipping undergrad and going straight to training as a mechanic or carpenter or state patrolman or whatever, or I’m getting a degree and heading to grad school for an MBA or MSN or whatever.

    We should really do a better job communicating to undergrads just what a philosophy major can do for them, depending on what they want out of a B.A. ‘You’ll make a higher score on the LSAT!’ isn’t enough. As for communicating to administrators why offering a philosophy major might be a good thing at a university, well . . .

  3. Everyone thinks that their subject is the core of the academy. Why should you be any different?

  4. As upsetting as it is, a university education has, by and large, been reduced to something akin to what is sought after at a trade school. The traditional vision of a liberal arts education has been that of a culmination of a deep learning process begun long before the student reaches university level. For such a person, the learning of philosophy acts as a kind of final piece of a complex puzzle.
    It is hard to see the justification in forcing students raised on unending entertainment and stimulation to read foucault or Descartes, especially when all they are encouraged to gain from a college education is the chance to get a job that provides a living wage.

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