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Major in Philosophy?

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Here's my dilemma...

I've been in college for awhile now (at least it seems that way), and I've yet to settle on a final major decision. For the most part, the decision was always between majoring in Economics or majoring in Business Administration. However, I've recently thrown majoring in Philosophy into the mix. I think that a degree in Business Administration would allow for the most rewarding career, such as owning my own business, but the required classes don't interest me at all. I really don't look forward to sitting through Human Resources Management and Minorities in the Workplace classes. A degree in Economics would allow for a less rewarding career (most likely teaching), but the classes interest me more. However, it would ultimately involve defending capitalism from an altruist, utilitarian standpoint. The classes that interest me the most are Philosophy classes, although it's hard for me to consider what kind of career such a degree would lead me to. If anything, I would have Law School as backup. Although I'm not specifically interested in law- I am very interested in logic and argumentation.

Is the interest I have for certain classes reflective of the interest I will have for careers in that field? What's the possibility of getting a business-type job without having a Business degree? Should I pursue an educational path that will lead to a better career even if I dislike the whole process, or should I go with what I like the best? I understand that it's a decision I'll have to make for myself, but I am hoping that people here may have some advice to give or have made similar decisions in their life.

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Forgive my ignorance, but business degrees have always puzzled me. After you get a business degree you go into "business". What kind of business? I dunno, just business. It seems that you could learn a lot more about business by working in a business. I could see a business degree as a supplement to something else, but not a primary. Maybe I'm way off base though.

Given your particular situation, what type of career do you desire? This is the job you are presumably going to be doing for a large portion of your life. What kind of job would you get out of bed looking forward to spending your day doing? Answering this question will lead you to what type of degree do you need to pursue to acquire that career.

Given your three alternatives, I personally would get an economics degree; it’s a lot more marketable than you may think. Do a Google search on "careers in economics" and see what it yields.

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Thanks for your reply.

I desire a career in the private sector. Although, I wouldn't mind teaching Economics classes (I wouldn't want to teach Philosophy classes, or rather- I wouldn't want to be a member of the Philosophy faculty at a public university.).

I think my problem is that what interests me the most doesn't lead to careers that I find to be very rewarding.

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Here's my dilemma...

You face a dilemma because your approach is backwards. Here is the proper approach:

1. Select a central purpose in life (CPL) that you would love doing. (See The Ayn Rand Lexicon, "Purpose," p. 398, for the idea of a CPL.)

2. Determine the best way to get there.

3. Follow your plan, step by step.

Howard Roark's CPL was to design and build buildings, to use a fictional example. Perhaps Ayn Rand's CPL was to portray the ideal man in fiction. Mine is to tell success stories from history.

Roark, armed with a clear idea of his CPL, figured out what he needed to do in order to do the work he loved -- regardless of whether the intermediate steps were boring or unpleasant. He attended a university to get enough education in architecture to enable him to go to Henry Cameron, from whom he could learn much more. Roark didn't worry about his marketability or today's job markets in his home town. He set his goal and crossed the barriers one at a time -- all for love.

People in real life do the same thing. I know because I have met them.

So, what CPL have you selected? If none, do you know how to select one?

I have written on CPL before, at length. Try a search for central purpose in life and my name.

Edited by BurgessLau
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There is no X major = Y career formula. I used to think that was how it works, but Burgess is right (and I have learned from experience) that it a backwards approach. You should take the classes that will give you the most knowledge and skills to further your CPL. Although getting a degree might be a part of this, ultimately your ability and choices will have a much greater impact on your career than what you major in.

In fact, I know very successful and purposeful people who have dropped out of college - as well as very unhappy and purposeless people who are extremely well educated. Education is not a guarantee of success or happiness, so make sure you don't try to substitute your major for you own path. No matter what major you choose you might have to take some crappy courses, and sometimes you can get around them if you work with your advisors and professors (by substituting other classes or make independent study arrangements). Even in the worst classes (like Human Resources, which isn't a favorite of mine either) there is something to be gained - even if it is only getting a deeper understanding of something that frustrates you (such as the mentality in business that it is human resources and the worker vs. the boss).


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The biggest long term goal for which I need philosophy is to write a novel about the role of philosophy in a person's education. Before that one there will be a few about romantic love.

A strictly philosophical project that I want to do one day is to integrate, and correct where necessary, the epistemologies of Aristotle and Ayn Rand.

There is a very personal project about the literary aesthetics of Romanticism.

And there is so much I want to do with the fictional works of Ayn Rand, Hugo, Schiller, and Rostand.

I can no longer think without getting philosophical; and I can hardly speak with others with going there too.

Philosophy is such a central part of my life, even though it doesn't directly pay the bills, that I wonder how not everybody wants to be a philosopher.

It is possible with proper planning to be a Socrates, i.e., a non-academic philosopher of stature--and one doesn't have to be a genius.

I would suggest that if you choose the "Socratic" path to make sure you know Economics and Computer Software, otherwise it will be that much harder for you.

A philosophy professor I once had told me that he was grateful to be teaching for thirty years at a University because teaching a course on philosophy for all that time allowed him to gain a deeper and expert understand of the history of philosophy. For him, though he knew that knowledge was not an end in itself, "understanding" was his ultimate goal, that was the purpose of his life ... because that activity made him happy.

The personal philosophic tasks that I listed are some of the existential aspects of my future happiness.


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Here's my dilemma...

I've been in college for awhile now (at least it seems that way), and I've yet to settle on a final major decision. For the most part, the decision was always between majoring in...

Think, and be rational.

The advice to "find your purpose" is the best advice possible.

All else will flow from that, if you have the courage to have been truly honest

about "who you are" and to DO what reality (rationality) tells you you must do.

That has NOT been my path,.. and I'm less happy because for it.

..but things are looking up. I'm here..! :pirate:


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