As a philosophy major, people frequently ask me what I expect to do with my degree; and, habitually, I respond jokingly: “Greet people at WalMart.” In reality, however, I believe that learning to perceive the world with a philosophical mindset will unshackle my mind from other’s predispositions.
Why philosophize? Or more importantly, and relevant in my situation since I am a philosophy major, why study philosophy?
Philosophers, philosophy majors, or any individual interested in studying philosophy are confronted with these questions continually. Personally, I am actually made fun of for being a philosophy major, which 99% of the time I take as a friendly joke, because most individuals don’t see how advantageous studying philosophy really is.
For myself, there are two reasons why I study, and enjoy studying, philosophy … and Heidegger’s views STRONGLY resonate with my second rationale.
The first is practical. Yes, there is a practicality in majoring in or studying philosophy. The most notable characteristic acquired is the ability to think … to think rationally, critically, and focused in respect to complex circumstances. Thinking well (quite obviously), regardless of the profession, is obviously desired in an white-collared work position.
And the second resonates with Heidegger. It cultivates the individual. It works on the mind and the self. It changes the individual into something new … (even though cliche) something better. Philosophy is a supplement for a good life. How can one do something, as was stated in class, without philosophy? It is pervasive. It is influential. And as Heidegger stated, it works itself on the thinker, the individual.
This contagiously positive view of the world (the philosophical mindset) is essential for thinking well and living a good life. So when asked what I expect to do with an undergraduate degree in philosophy, I think: “Save the world.”