Most people, if they think they know anything about philosophy, it's two things: it's very hard and very impractical. Students of philosophy read a lot of old dusty books, delight in throwing around a lot of big words, and all in all just think too much about questions nobody can answer. Don't philosophers have their heads in the clouds, and isn't it all just a matter of opnion anyway?
Well, yes and no. Like many stereotypes there is an element of truth to these beliefs. Students of philosophy do tend to find absolutely amazing things most people rarely think about so many folks think philosophers must be uninterested in everyday things. But a good philosopher must not only know a lot about Plato, Kant, and Rawls; she or he must be just as knowledgeable about everyday living as anyone else, in fact, more so, because thinking about, and acting in service of, the world is what philosophy is all about!
Students of philosophy at Marywood are trained to be creative thinkers, to interpret difficult texts, to evaluate complex ideas and moral situations, and to be sensitive to many points of view. At Marywood, philosophy students are taught that their ultimate obligation in their quest for knowledge is to serve humanity in the best way they can. Marywood philosophy faculty, in adddition to their teaching and research duties, serve the community in different ways, from monthly discussion groups in libraries and senior residences where everyone has a voice, to public lectures and field trips dedicated to the compassionate treatment of animals. Students are encouraged to do service as a vital part of their philosophical education.
Philosophy is the only field of study whose primary focus is with thinking. And isn't our access to the world crucially tied to what we think about it? One has to think no matter what path in life one chooses, right? Wouldn't it be a HUGE advantage to be able to do that even better? After all, those dusty books philosophy students love reading and talking about so much contain the wisdom of some of the greatest minds in the history of civilization.
Here are two websites about famous and successful people who studied philosophy, what you can do with a philosophy degree, and how well philosophy majors do on medical, law, and graduate school tests, and much more:
- So what can philosophy do for you? Here is a page with several links to responses to this important question: https://sites.google.com/site/whystudyphilosophy/
- Some testimonials and lists of successful people who majored in philosophy: http://healthcareethicscanada.blogspot.com/2008/12/philosophy-degrees-and-famous-people.html