Re: Philosopy Majors

In a message dated 98-04-16 17:40:08 EDT, you write:

<< > Being a jounior in high school it has come time for me to chose a
>major when I apply for colleges. I am contemplating a major in
>philosophy. On which career path would this place me? How useful is a
>philosophy major?
> -Michael Thomas

>"You hear remarks such as 'Philosophy leads to nothing,' 'You can't do
>anything with philosophy,' and readily imagine that they confirm an
>experience of your own. There is no denying the soundness of these two
>phrases, particularly common among scientists and teachers of science.
>Any attempt to refute them by proving that after all it does 'lead to
>something' merely strengthens the prevailing misinterpretation to the
>effect that the everyday standards by which we judge bicycles or sulphur
>baths are applicable to philosophy. ...granted that we cannot do
>anything with philosophy, might not philosophy, if we concern ourselves
>with it do something with us?"
>--Martin Heidegger, _Introduction to Metaphysics_
>"what is philosophy today--philosophical activity, I mean--if it is not
>the critical work thta thought brings to bear on itself. In what does it
>consist, if not in the endeavor to know how and to what extent it might
>be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already

>--Michel Foucault, _The Use of Pleasure_

>Both of these quotes have found their way into my dissertation, and I
>could think of no better answer to your question--besides a lengthy
>discussion of the merits of a liberal arts education in the skills of
>critical thinking, reading, and writing--that to reproduce them here.

i would like to add one, the author of which i can't remember:
"education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."

if philosophy lights your fire, go for it. i chose it over engineering and
law, and while the job market for philosophers is grim compared to these other
high demand professions, i have never regretted it. philosophy has prepared me
(and still does) for life, regardless of my "profession." i forever owe this
debt to an english teacher in my senior year of high school who introduced me
to philosophy and existentialism. (by the way, i was ranked 890 out of 920 in
hs with a 1.2 out of 4.0 avg. currently pursuing phd in philosophy,
graduated cum laude with double major from undergrad. without philosophy, i
may have never finished college, but that's me)

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