… is that it will transform you. By turning your mind to the consideration of the most basic questions concerning reality, human existence, and God, you open yourself to a world of possibilities for understanding the world and our place in it. By exercising your mind in the disciplines of critical and logical thought, you gain the ability to imagine, debate, and clarify the nature of the good life. Philosophy encourages and empowers you to discover what really is true and good, and to distinguish it from what merely appears so. As Plato explained long ago, this is liberating.
How we learn to think about ourselves and the world have the power to transform the way we process our experiences, and consequently the way we will choose to live. The study of Philosophy provides one with the intellectual tools necessary to evaluate different possible life-choices so that one will be better prepared to find a meaningful direction for one’s life.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.”
– Lao Tzu
Plato likens the philosopher to the navigator on a ship. To the uninitiated observer, the navigator appears to do nothing but stare upwards at the sky, doing none of the work necessary to make the ship move. In fact, without the navigator the ship will have no consistent direction. Just so, he thought, in determining the direction of one’s life, philosophy can provide indispensable guidance.
By majoring in Philosophy, you will be embarking on a lifelong quest to understand and live the good life for human beings. More than this, however, many philosophers have claimed that philosophical activity is itself part of the good life.
“An intellectual man in complete solitude has excellent entertainment in his own thoughts and fancies, while no amount of diversity or social pleasure, theatres, excursions and amusements, can ward off boredom from a dullard.”
— Arthur Schopenhauer
In other words, Philosophy not only can serve as a tool for other ends, but can also be a highly pleasurable and meaningful activity in its own right.
“The heart alone is not enough; without the discipline of man’s mind the answer cannot be understood. For some, that is how the answer is most plainly heard. They are the philosophers.” – Abraham Kaplan
Ask yourself this crucial question: If money was not a concern, how would you live your life? This is the absolutely crucial question that philosopher Alan Watts invites you to consider in this provocative video:
The primary reason most of our majors identify as responsible for their decision to major in Philosophy is the intrinsic interest, challenge, and enjoyment of the subject itself. Philosophy speaks to something fundamental in their approach to life. If you love ideas and value wisdom, Philosophy should have a prominent place in your life as well. Why not lay a solid foundation now for a lifetime of philosophical exploration and discovery? If you major in Philosophy, you can!
Here’s something else to ponder: If the aim of education is to gain money and power, where can we turn for help in knowing what to do with that money and power?
Still worried that majoring in Philosophy now won’t help you to achieve financial security? Don’t be. Check out the pages on What You Can Do with a Major in Philosophy and Philosophy and a Satisfying Career. There you’ll learn that you can pursue a life of seeking wisdom and be able to eat something other than Ramen every day (not that you still couldn’t do that, if you wanted to…).