27 November 2007

Who Knew? Political Theory Makes for a Good Career Choice

"In the years after the second world war, there was a sort of
Wittgensteinian air about philosophy, which meant practitioners
were proud of the fact that they appeared slightly esoteric and
were not doing anything practical. There was very little political
philosophy, and moral philosophy was disengaged from people's
actual moral problems, and that did lead to the subject being
marginalised. That has changed. Political philosophy is a central
part of the Cambridge course." ~ Simon Blackburn

I missed this story in The Guardian when it appeared last week. It turns out that studying philosophy is a relatively wise career choice for British undergraduates. Why? It turns out too that British employers like to hire people who can think. That seems like a novel idea! Moreover, in the passage quoted above, Simon Blackburn attributes the enhanced fortunes of young philosophers to the relatively central role now given to moral and political philosophy in the undergraduate curriculum! Of course, my home department has, without any real discussion, more or less eliminated political philosophy in favor of even greater emphasis on intellectually muddled endeavors like game theoretic and quantitative studies of international relations.* I suppose the best our students might hope for is that employers in the U.S. are less interested in hiring employees who can think than are their British competitors.
* I will happily defend this characterization of our new emphasis if it offends anyone.
[Thanks to Evelyn Brister for bringing this article to my attention.]



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha! Reading this, I chuckle because I started college with the idea in mind of a Philosophy /Political Science oriented education, and then switched over to Photography because I decided that I'd make more impact with images. It's nice to see that Britain is leaning this way, since I am a fan of the photography that has come out of Britain, but I am also passionate about political/social/moral issues. Thanks for the post!

27 November, 2007 16:53  
Blogger Jim Johnson said...

Hey Sarah, Thanks for stopping by. My advice (worth every penny you are paying for it) is to not make the photography v. political theory trade-off to stark. Do both. Jim

PS: I checked out your blog and really like some of the portraits you are doing.

28 November, 2007 00:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey - thanks for the advice, I like to hear as much of it as possible. My approach is to try to go with my gut instincts, and hopefully that will lead me to a place where I can do many different things. Glad you liked the portraits. Keep up the good blogging, I really enjoy it!

28 November, 2007 14:14  

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