Why should I study philosophy?

9 Things About People Who Study Philosophy

Philosophy majors make more money, get better test scores, and have better school admission rates.Click To Tweet

For more details about people who study philosophy, see the next section.

1.  Why Study Philosophy?

2.  What Is Philosophy?

Let’s make a few things clear. Philosophy isn’t just esoteric pontification. It isn’t just some form of skepticism. And it certainly isn’t just pseudo-profound bullshit.
Perhaps philosophy is just, roughly, figuring out what to believe and how to live.

3.  What Is Good Philosophy?

Notice that, according to that definition of philosophy, everyone does philosophy at some point.

Of course, not everyone does philosophy well. Doing philosophy well involves good reasoning and good living. Most of the time, these do not happen naturally or easily. We’ve got bad reasoning habits and plenty of ulterior motives to keep us from doing our best. So philosophy takes practice.

This is not to say that there is only one way to do philosophy, of course. Heck, that’s not even to say that there is only one way to do philosophy well. And it is certainly not to say that only certain people can do philosophy (or do it well). Anyone can learn the tools that philosophers use. So anyone can do philosophy well!

4.  What Is A Philosopher?

What is the first image that comes to mind when you think of a philosopher? Seriously. What is it? I’m curious.

As I see it, philosophers are people who spend most of their time doing philosophy. If that’s right, then one need not be paid to do philosophy in order to be a philosopher. People who get paid to do philosophy would be a subset of philosophers: professional philosophers. And, of course, there might be philosophers who get paid to do academic philosophy: academic philosophers.

Maybe there are other kinds of philosophers that don’t fall into these categories.

5.  Follow up

Maybe you’re wondering how to do philosophy. If so, here’s a very basic flowchart of the process: “A Philosophy Flowchart…“.

Do you want to know more about philosophy? You can check out these videos, podcasts, blogs, and other resources about philosophy.

 

Featured image from dakine kaneCC BY 2.0, cropped, adjusted color.

Published by

Nick Byrd

Nick is a cognitive scientist at Florida State University studying reasoning, wellbeing, and willpower. Check out his blog at byrdnick.com/blog