I do a degree in plain philosophy. I have never taken any university-level course on any other subject. I am currently in my third and final year, and I intend to go on to obtain a PhD in the subject and try to become an academic.
Surprisingly, none of the people I know who are doing other degrees in my university think I am doing a degree that will leave me with no good career prospects, and most of the people I know are non-philosophers, in fact many of them are science students. However, this seems to be an uncommon attitude towards philosophy degrees. I have seen people make tend to make two claims: that a philosophy degree is a very poor investment, and that philosophy itself is pointless or useless as an intellectual pursuit. Indeed, even if they don’t think my degree is a useless degree to have, my own friends agree with the second claim.
I would like to ask the non-philosophers (and of course, philosophers if there are any) here some questions. I genuinely am interested in discussing the utility of my degree.
- Have you had any significant contact with philosophy? Of what kind? By this I mean something more than knowing that it exists, or coming to know about general attitudes and beliefs about it. For example, have you taken a course in philosophy, read some books, went to conferences, had a philosopher among your family or friends?
1a. If so, and if the question applies, what made you want to have contact with philosophy? What attracted you to it?
Independently of (1), what do you think about philosophy as a degree? Do you think it’s useless to have it as a degree? If so, why? What have you heard or read about its usefulness? Do you think it is easy/hard? Why?
What do you think about the usefulness of philosophy in general? Again, do you think it is a waste of time? Why? Should it get any funding? Why?
What is your concept of philosophy? What do philosophers do, and how do they do it?
Of course, feel free to ask any questions about the degree, about how I would answer those questions above, or about what I think of your answers to those questions.