Why study Philosophy?
Philosophy provides a toolkit to critically engage with difficult and important questions. It seems that some actions are right and others are wrong, but it's difficult to explain if this is because one produces better outcomes or the other respects humanity. It seems that some scientific claims are almost certainly true, but a crucial element of the success of science is its willingness to revise its claims in light of new evidence. It seems that there is little more to our brains than complex neural networks, but how do these networks generate intense feelings?
Discussing these abstract problems develops the philosophical tools necessary to deal with practical problems, such as whether an unpopular theory should be accepted, or to what extent we can appeal to common sense when arguing about a radical claim. In grappling with these issues, philosophers seek to build a well-grounded picture of the world and of human life. The key skill for a philosopher is the ability to construct and dissect arguments – a central part of all philosophy is training in clear and effective reasoning.
Some of our students go on to successful careers as professional philosophers, but for most of our students, it's not about getting a career in philosophy, it's about getting some philosophy into their careers.
Many surveys of salary by degree only look at salary after a few years of graduation, which can be misleading. A survey of 1.2 million degree holders by PayScale, Inc., cited in the Wall Street Journal, shows that Philosophy majors increase their starting salary by 103.5% after 10 years, an equal best with mathematics among all majors. The overall mid career salary for a philosophy major at the 75th percentile is 127,000 U.S. dollars, 9th among all 50 majors surveyed.
Philosophy gives you a unique mix of analytical and literary skills that are highly sought after by employers whether you are pursuing a career in academia or elsewhere.
A recent destinations survey showed that our graduates live in cities across the world such as Vienna, London, Frankfurt, Vancouver, Berlin, Singapore, New Orleans, and all over New Zealand and Australia. See the placements of some of our recent students.
Philosophers find work in a huge variety of careers, including:
- Dispute resolution
- Documentary film making
- Nature conservation
- Social services
- Software Design
- Systems analysis