• Mary Ellen
    3
    I personally have never had a Philosophy class and had/have no idea what to really expect. What would you believe to be the most important benefits of a philosophical education?
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    If you have to ask that question, then I suspect the philosophy bug hasn't yet bitten you. If you do not feel the pursuit of wisdom to be something akin to a need, without which you would be the poorer and utterly despairing, then the "stock" answers that can be given to your question will probably not have much effect.
  • Carbon
    19
    Yeah ignore whatever that Thorongil dude said. It's a fair question and you don't need to "bitten", want to "pursue wisdom", or have some weird magical drive to be interested in taking a philosophy class (FYI: you will encounter a lot of that type of bullshit in your first philosophy class though).

    From a practical standpoint a lot of people who go to law school study philosophy. In part because a great deal of the English philosophical curriculum emphasizes constructing and breaking down arguments and counter arguments. But the skills gained from classes are pretty cross-disciplinary and help out with a lot of different projects (e.g. writing, literary criticism, debate, etc.).

    In fact one of the major benefits of taking philosophy classes or going through a more philosophy oriented education is the amount of versatility it still leaves you with. Rather than a specialist degree like accounting for instance, you'll be able to take lessons from philosophy classes toward just about any other endeavor you undertake.

    One of my favorite benefits of taking philosophy classes when I first started in my undergrad was reading classical works. So if you're a bibliophile like I was, you might get a kick out of the readings you'll encounter in those sorts of classes.
  • Mary Ellen
    3
    Thanks Carbon! I am trying to get into class. To be 100% honest I have to take for Nursing school which is at one school, but for pre req university professors come from another school to teach and philosophy is a requirement through them for degree. I have heard such mixed reviews on this class beginning with good luck or omg I did so horrible in that class. So, I am hoping to get the most out of this class since its for a semester!
  • Carbon
    19
    Haha, yeah just roll with it and try to have some fun. A lot of those pre-rec phil. classes are mostly focused on reading classic works and little writing assignments about what those works are getting at. I wouldn't stress too much about it.

    I can tell you that because philosophy is such a social field, most philosophy profs are really good about responding to students' questions and making themselves available if you need help. So if you run into issues snag your professor after class or something.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I agree with @Thorongil and disagree with @Carbon - philosophy is more than more than mental gymnastics and mental masturbation.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    So there you have your stock answers. Eat your heart out.
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    If you have to ask that question, then I suspect the philosophy bug hasn't yet bitten you. If you do not feel the pursuit of wisdom to be something akin to a need, without which you would be the poorer and utterly despairing, then the "stock" answers that can be given to your question will probably not have much effect.Thorongil

    (Y)
  • Carbon
    19
    S/he is in a nursing program bro. No one beyond the newbie undergrads in philosophy gives a shit about the mystical connection with wisdom you think is required for REAL philosophy or whatever the hell you're supposedly doing.

    I'd tone it down a notch as you're the exact type of person that turns folks like Mary Ellen off in those sorts of classes.
  • Emptyheady
    228
    Philosophy is quite tedious if "the bug has not bitten you."
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    I'd tone it down a notch as you're the exact type of person that turns folks like Mary Ellen off in those sorts of classes.Carbon
    Perhaps some should be turned off if they're not ready yet.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    I wouldn't be too worried about the class, Mary. If you're okay with analyzing the way you already think and view the world, then you should be fine. If, however, you don't want to have an open mind, like some of the dickflaps in this thread, then you might feel uncomfortable. Regardless, I'm more glad of the fact that you're required to take a philosophy class for your nursing program. That's heartening to hear, O:)

    Cheers.
  • Agustino
    11.3k
    dickflapsHeister Eggcart
    Am I one of them? O:)
  • darthbarracuda
    3k
    S/he is in a nursing program bro. No one beyond the newbie undergrads in philosophy gives a shit about the mystical connection with wisdom you think is required for REAL philosophy or whatever the hell you're supposedly doing.

    I'd tone it down a notch as you're the exact type of person that turns folks like Mary Ellen off in those sorts of classes.
    Carbon

    On the contrary, I would argue that the very nature of philosophical questions causes us to become "mystical" or "transcendent" or whatever you want to call it. They are so broad and general that they apply to practically all of existence. The questions are timeless.

    I've noticed that when I study philosophy for a long time, I tend to lose this feeling and start to restrict the contents of my own psyche. It's not until I stop for a bit and break the cycle of narrowed-thinking that I'm confronted with the addicting nature of philosophical questions.

    So if anything, modern (analytic?) professional philosophy has largely lost this feeling of timelessness and has instead become kinda bland and cutesy.
  • Buxtebuddha
    1.8k
    No, I assume you've been circumcised. But you're still a dick, though.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    No one beyond the newbie undergrads in philosophy gives a shit about the mystical connection with wisdom you think is required for REAL philosophy or whatever the hell you're supposedly doing.Carbon

    Other people not caring about what philosophy is doesn't change what it is.

    I'd tone it down a notch as you're the exact type of person that turns folks like Mary Ellen off in those sorts of classes.Carbon

    And turned off they should be. "Studying philosophy" for one or another vain end will prove a waste of time. Philosophy is deliberately useless, though not for that reason without value. But its value will never be realized except by those who feel the need to pursue it as an end in itself. The absurdity of claiming that a "philosophical education" can be had on account of taking a class or two ought to be self-evident, and if it isn't, then you are a philistine.
  • Nils Loc
    557
    Don't despair if you are a hopeless philistine either. You can sublimate your will to power in all sorts of healthy ways, in a dominance hierarchy of your choosing. Take Donald Trump as an example. The most abject philistines can still be king.
  • jkop
    533
    Acquaintance with bioethics, for instance, seems appropriate for a good nurse.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    S/he is in a nursing program bro. No one beyond the newbie undergrads in philosophy gives a shit about the mystical connection with wisdom you think is required for REAL philosophy or whatever the hell you're supposedly doing.Carbon

    Quite a few people on this forum care about philosophy beyond it being useful for learning how to construct arguments. Take a logic class if that's the case. Or an ethics class, if that's the overriding concern for a Nurse.

    As for philosophy in general, everyone at one point or another asks deep questions about existence, how to live, what's the right thing to do, how we know what we say we know, etc. It's a human endeavor to think about such things.

    It's like asking what value art or music is, and being told that a sculpting class can help your dexterity when handling patients, or something. Even if it does, that's not the reason for art or music, nor should it be the motivation for taking an art appreciation class, or learning how to play violin.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Hopefully, what you would gain is some insight to creative thinking when contemplating the nature of people and the universe, which are some basic questions we have about our lives.

    However, what you are more likely to receive from academic philosophy classes is some historical background about some pop philosophers of any given era. Can be interesting, but may be quite boring depending upon how stuffy or open-mind the professor may be. Professors tend to like repetition of the same old, same old.
  • Carbon
    19


    Yeah, yeah. Save it for the forum gents! Don't say that stuff in a class setting because people like me don't want to read garbage papers like that in said classes. What what you're talking about isn't academic philosophy - that's fine, just know your audience.

    People like myself get paid to research, grade, and teach. We don't get paid to "be wise" or do all sorts of mystical nonsense. It's a vocation. So I'm not bemoaning what you do here on a forum like this - it's great! But do realize that for students, like Mary Ellen, who take classes (that people like me have to teach) - it makes it really difficult to get into the class if this is their take away. She was looking for info on classes - give her info on classes. Don't force your bizarre philosophical convictions down students throats. It's not cool, it's obnoxious for profs, and it's bad for academia. Save it for forum discussions, fun conversations with friends, etc. where it's no longer "bizarre".
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    But do realize that for students, like Mary Ellen, who take classes (that people like me have to teach) - it makes it really difficult to get into the class if this is their take away. She was looking for info on classes - give her info on classes.Carbon

    Jesus man, so taking a philosophy class has nothing to do with the reason humans engage in philosophical query.

    No wonder I'm so cynical about schooling. But hey, a lot of courses are like that. Physics is just about learning some equations. Math is just about solving some. History is about recalling some dates. Literature is about reading some books.

    Sounds utterly boring to and devoid of meaning to me. But I'm not criticizing you. I'm criticizing the approach to taking classes.
  • Carbon
    19
    No no, I'm sorry if I'm coming off as mean spirited or cynical. Seriously, I think forums like this are great! But for different reasons than academia! Most of the stuff you talk about in the forums isn't academic; mind you, that doesn't mean it's not valuable! Just that it's outside of what academic philosophy is after.

    But yeah, the academic side of things definitely has nothing to do with mysticism, being "bitten", or what have you. It's work man!
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    It's work man!Carbon

    And this is to sully philosophy. "Academic philosophy," "professional philosophy," and the like strike me as oxymoronic phrases. One can be a professional plumber, car salesman, accountant, or massage therapist, but a professional lover of wisdom? If that doesn't strike a discordant note with you, then nothing I say will have any effect. I'm not - at least not yet! - calling for the dissolution of such philosophy, but I am stressing its unimportance and non-necessity with respect to pursuing what philosophy genuinely is.
  • Carbon
    19
    I don't feel sullied or less genuine - I feel like I'd like to continue to buy groceries. Academics aren't professional "lovers of wisdom" - you'll get no disagreement from me on that - we're professional academics. We spent ten years doing job training, not learning to be all deep and wise or because we thought it we were accessing the real "truth" of the universe.

    Look, the line of absolute "purity" for me is pretty murky, but I'd probably lean more toward saying that forums like this, group discussions, etc. are more pure from a classical stand point. Which is great! But realize it's not what academia is, and poor Mary Ellen over there just had question about a single class in her overall career. I honestly couldn't care less if she wakes up after taking her class and feels philosophically "enlightened". I'd rather she just pass her class and maybe walk away thinking the educational experience was fun.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    poor Mary Ellen over there just had question about a single class in her overall career.Carbon

    Ironic that it broke out into a philosophical discussion? She did ask on a philosophy forum. That's the risk. Might actually provoke a discussion.

    honestly couldn't care less if she wakes up after taking her class and feels philosophically "enlightened". I'd rather she just pass her class and maybe walk away thinking the educational experience was fun.Carbon

    With all due respect, that comment saddens me. Maybe you're being pragmatic and all, and it fits with real academic experience, but couldn't one hope for more? Like poor Mary becomes intrigued by the sorts of questions philosophy raises? Maybe she even chooses to read a philosophical text during her nursing breaks?
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    But realize it's not what academia is,Carbon

    What do see as the role of education? To get a job? Does poor Mary really need philosophy class to become a nurse?

    I'm expressing my general cynicism of education, not a criticism of your career, btw.
  • Thorongil
    3.2k
    I feel like I'd like to continue to buy groceriesCarbon

    And inflating assigning grades to 20 something ignoramuses who barely know how to blink and who will forget everything you taught them, sell the boring textbook they had to buy, and wonder why the hell they just took your class is the best way of buying groceries?

    I'd probably lean more toward saying that forums like this, group discussions, etc. are more pure from a classical stand point.Carbon

    I don't feel obliged to hold up an Internet forum as any closer approximation to the ideal of philosophy than academia. I'm mostly here to kill time and don't pretend for a second that I possess or expect to receive an overflow of wisdom by posting here. But I do have high standards for what constitutes being a philosopher, yes.

    I honestly couldn't care less if she wakes up after taking her class and feels philosophically "enlightened". I'd rather she just pass her class and maybe walk away thinking the educational experience was fun.Carbon

    Right, your standards are low to vanishing. You can have them if you like, but just don't speak for all of those who are interested in philosophy.
  • Carbon
    19
    Straight up: I don't really care what someone does in their spare time. If they want to read Kant, great. If they want to watch porn or videos of people falling off skateboards - that's fine too. My job is in the classroom and my office. Do you want a structural engineer running around berating you for how you drive on a bridge or a random mathematician critiquing you for your slow or faulty ability to count the change you get from the grocery store? Probably not, right? Well, it's much the same for me. Philosophy isn't fucking Christianity - it's not my job to spread the 'good word', save people, and bring non-believers closer to philosophical-Jesus. I grade papers, read books, and write articles - it's fun, but it's a damn vocation... not a religious calling.

    To that effect, phil. classes are common pre-recs in the vast majority of state schools (and many private institutions). If I recall correctly my undergrad university required either logic or Intro to Phil. for just about all non-science majors (even then I think logic may have been a standard class to take as it met humanities requirements). That's fine. I didn't decide that - it's the administration who sits down and hammers this stuff out at meetings. And the bulk of those decisions they make regarding pre-recs are usually part of a larger consideration regarding types of federal/state funding, endowments, and career statistics. Philosophy isn't for everyone - that's cool. I get it. Chem wasn't for me either, but I still had to take the class.

    So first off - yes? They're just students man, many of which are straight out of high school. I don't expect the majority of them to care about my field or not need book money for their other classes. Additionally I'm not sure why you think colleges inflate grades - I've heard about one meeting on that and it was in a sociology department a few years ago (a prof was consistently failing over half his class). At any rate - yes, doing my job for the college does allow me to buy food because that's how all jobs work.

    Second, cheers on having high standards about whatever being a "philosopher" is. Whatever you think "philosopher" means is clearly not what academics are.

    Third, it's school... So students take around 12-16 credits on average at my institution. That equates to 3-4 classes. A phil. class is usually just one of those and intro classes are almost entirely comprised of non-majors. If a student is more interested than that - they'll probably major in philosophy. If they're more interested than merely majoring, they'll come to office hours and meet with profs. Guess how many students show up to our department for fun on an average day (i.e. no tests, midterms, or finals in the near future)? On average about six. Four or five of which are the same students who are in their everyday because they are passionate about the field. It's not about "enlightenment" at that level (if you're after enlightenment join a Buddhist monastery or something) - it's about locking down solid letters of recommendation, getting better acquainted with texts via experts, and likely out of a love for the academic vibe because you see yourself headed that way with your career.

    Here's what I'm getting at with a lot of this: I think you and a few others on this forum have a disastrous tendency to conflate this sort of glamorous image of "the philosopher" with modern academic philosophy. The latter simply does not fit with the former (and probably hasn't for several centuries). Creating "lovers of wisdom" is not the job of academia, universities don't get accredited for that. It's idealistic! It's maybe fun and creative to think about all the exciting and amazing things philosophy can do, but that's not why people go to college. As educators hired by our respective universities our job CANNOT solely be creating really "wise" students who "get it" and are "enlightened". We're paid to research subject matter, write papers on it, teach courses on specific subjects, and grade. Out of our 50-60 hour work week, most of the time is spent on the last two with meetings, emails, and bureaucratic stuff filling every other spare second.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Here's what I'm getting at with a lot of this: I think you and a few others on this forum have a disastrous tendency to conflate this sort of glamorous image of "the philosopher" with modern academic philosophy. The latter simply does not fit with the former (and probably hasn't for several centuries). Creating "lovers of wisdom" is not the job of academia, universities don't get accredited for that. It's idealistic! It's maybe fun and creative to think about all the exciting and amazing things philosophy can do, but that's not why people go to college. As educators hired by our respective universities our job CANNOT solely be creating really "wise" students who "get it" and are "enlightened".Carbon

    No doubt you're right, but a the same time, it's kind of sad statement on education. And not just philosophy, but any subject matter, bet it art, literature, computer science, etc. So you're basically saying that students aren't there to learn, they're there to get a grade in route to graduating, which will look better on a resume than not finishing college. And those who choose an academic career do so because they like the atmosphere.

    So why do we bother with the pretense of education at all? Instead, soon as little Johnny and Suzy can do the three RRRs, send their asses off to job training and trade schools, and be done with the silliness of taking a foreign language (unless that's part of the job training), learning about the Civil War, or reading some great piece of literature.

    Let's stop fooling ourselves if nobody outside of an online discussion forum cares about learning. Because endeavors like thinking and asking questions aren't important and fundamental to being human. I can't help but wonder what the ancient and medieval schools would think of modern attitude toward education.
  • Marchesk
    3.1k
    Since this is a philosophy forum, let's approach it a bit differently. What is the purpose of teaching philosophy in higher education? Is it just another subject to give students a choice of electives? But why? What do schools and society in general hope to accomplish? What will it do for the students who take these classes? Is it just to meet elective requirements and get a passing grade?

    If so, then what's the freaking point? Might as well take a bridge class.
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