File spoon-archives/foucault.archive/foucault_1998/foucault.9804, message 20

Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 18:14:48 EDT
Subject: Re: Philosopy Majors

In a message dated 98-04-16 17:40:08 EDT, you write:

<< >    Being a jounior  in high school it has come time for me to chose a 
 >major when I apply for colleges.  I am contemplating a major in 
 >philosophy.  On which career path would this place me?  How useful is a 
 >philosophy major?
 >                                         -Michael Thomas
 >"You hear remarks such as 'Philosophy leads to nothing,' 'You can't do 
 >anything with philosophy,' and readily imagine that they confirm an 
 >experience of your own.  There is no denying the soundness of these two 
 >phrases, particularly common among scientists and teachers of science.  
 >Any attempt to refute them by proving that after all it does 'lead to 
 >something' merely strengthens the prevailing misinterpretation to the 
 >effect that the everyday standards by which we judge bicycles or sulphur 
 >baths are applicable to philosophy.  ...granted that we cannot do 
 >anything with philosophy, might not philosophy, if we concern ourselves 
 >with it do something with us?"
 >--Martin Heidegger, _Introduction to Metaphysics_
 >"what is philosophy today--philosophical activity, I mean--if it is not 
 >the critical work thta thought brings to bear on itself.  In what does it 
 >consist, if not in the endeavor to know how and to what extent it might 
 >be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already 
 >--Michel Foucault, _The Use of Pleasure_
 >Both of these quotes have found their way into my dissertation, and I 
 >could think of no better answer to your question--besides a lengthy 
 >discussion of the merits of a liberal arts education in the skills of 
 >critical thinking, reading, and writing--that to reproduce them here.
i would like to add one, the author of which i can't remember:
"education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire."

if philosophy lights your fire, go for it. i chose it over engineering and
law, and while the job market for philosophers is grim compared to these other
high demand professions, i have never regretted it. philosophy has prepared me
(and still does) for life, regardless of my "profession." i forever owe this
debt to an english teacher in my senior year of high school who introduced me
to philosophy and existentialism. (by the way, i was ranked 890 out of 920 in
hs with a 1.2 out of 4.0 avg.  currently pursuing phd in philosophy,
graduated cum laude with double major from undergrad. without philosophy, i
may have never finished college, but that's me)


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