Should I do a major in philosophy?

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Cirion Spellbinder
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Re: Should I do a major in philosophy?

Post by Cirion Spellbinder » Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:31 pm

mkm wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:29 am
Job wise mathematicians are usually very flexible when it comes to learn some CS or other things that depend heavily on analytical thinking, just don't seperate yourself totally from programming and a little bit of statistics, and you should be golden.
Awesome, Are you a math major or formermath major?

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Post by carnap » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:48 am

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:26 pm
I also really briefly have volunteered at a middle school as a teacher’s aide for a 7th grade (American) math class. I didn’t enjoy that quite as much, but obviously I just had my foot in the water, and in all honesty I would do it again if it didn’t conflict with my schedule!
While better than nothing being an aide isn't going to tell you that much about what its like to be a teacher full-time.

My general point here is that when you start college you have to make choices about things with very imperfect information. You may not know exactly what your'e best at yet, you may not know what job you'd really, etc so being more flexible by building up a few potential career paths can be really helpful.

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Post by mkm » Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:13 am

Cirion Spellbinder wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 8:31 pm
Awesome, Are you a math major or formermath major?
Yeah, finishing my PhD in "pure" math. Most of my friends who graduated in, let's say, applied mathematics, found job in data analysis and IT. Couple of my colleagues at PhD studies (mainly set theory and topology) decided that it's not for them and in time frame of months "rebranded" and found job with decent wage from the start, so I wouldn't worry about that.

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Post by carnap » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:19 pm

mkm wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 6:13 am
decided that it's not for them and in time frame of months "rebranded" and found job with decent wage from the start, so I wouldn't worry about that.
Its not only about finding a job....but creating a career that you'll enjoy doing for 30+ years. What did they "rebrand" themselves into? There are a good deal of jobs that don't require any specific education but they aren't necessarily going to be ones you enjoy.

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Post by carnap » Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm

Red wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:02 am
You sould watch the whole video first before being dismissive.
Why is that? I listened to enough to determine that the speaker didn't know much about philosophy and then I looked him up and found that he appears to have no education in philosophy as well.
Red wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:02 am
Yeah, and that's the issue we are trying to discuss. A little but if history is important, but it seems to be taking priority over philosophy. What you're saying is like saying you have to study the life of Isaac Newton if you want to understand physics.
No it would be like saying you need to study Newtonian physics if you want to really understand physics and that is true. You don't need to know every detail of Newton, but you do need a general idea of the history of physics (e.g., Newton) if you want to understand advanced physics like General Relativity (which shows that many Newtonian principles are wrong). Same goes with philosophy but its a slower moving field so history has even more importance.

Most philosophy programs only require a couple of courses in the history of philosophy so I'm not sure why you think its taking a "priority" over philosophy. Is it because you often go over the theories of people that have long been dead? You do that because their thoughts are still relevant. For example you learn about Plato because he is historically important but you learn about Hume because his work is still relevant today.

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Post by Red » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:46 pm

carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
Why is that? I listened to enough to determine that the speaker didn't know much about philosophy and then I looked him up and found that he appears to have no education in philosophy as well.
Well, it shows that you're not stubborn and close-minded, and that you have intellectual honesty.
carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
No it would be like saying you need to study Newtonian physics if you want to really understand physics and that is true. You don't need to know every detail of Newton, but you do need a general idea of the history of physics (e.g., Newton) if you want to understand advanced physics like General Relativity (which shows that many Newtonian principles are wrong). Same goes with philosophy but its a slower moving field so history has even more importance.
I can understand how Newtonian Physics can help you understand physics, but how does taking priority on the history of philosophy help with understanding philosophy?

Just as an anecdotal example, I've read a bit from the Enlightenment Thinkers, and how some took ideas of government from Ancient Greece and Rome and how that influenced the Founding Fathers, but that's more about how philosophy impacted history, not the history of philosophy. Understanding the history of this allows it to make sense, but how is it essential to the discipline?
carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
Most philosophy programs only require a couple of courses in the history of philosophy so I'm not sure why you think its taking a "priority" over philosophy. Is it because you often go over the theories of people that have long been dead? You do that because their thoughts are still relevant.
Again, just watch the whole talk. If you put it on 2x speed, it'll be only 26 minutes.
carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
For example you learn about Plato because he is historically important but you learn about Hume because his work is still relevant today.
Again, that's more about how it affected the history of humanity than philosophy.
Studying the history of science isn't gonna help you understand science. Remember, science is a branch of philosophy.
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Post by brimstoneSalad » Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:57 pm

Red wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 7:02 am
Yeah, and that's the issue we are trying to discuss. A little but if history is important, but it seems to be taking priority over philosophy. What you're saying is like saying you have to study the life of Isaac Newton if you want to understand physics.
Not so much studying his life as studying all of his nonsense beliefs side-by-side with his scientific contributions.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_Newton%27s_occult_studies

Philosophy as a field is very bad at sorting legitimate philosophy from pseudophilosophy; an achievement which in science was crucial to its development as a field.
mkm wrote:
Tue Mar 27, 2018 6:29 am
Main difference will be that with some training in mathematics you will filter out a lot of, let's say, imprecise matter in philosophy (or straight nonsense, putting it bluntly). I had one or two "general" (not mathematically focused) philosophy classes, and they were annoying most of the time, but there were some gems too, just hidden.
^ Pretty good summary of academic philosophy.

carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
No it would be like saying you need to study Newtonian physics if you want to really understand physics and that is true. You don't need to know every detail of Newton, but you do need a general idea of the history of physics (e.g., Newton) if you want to understand advanced physics like General Relativity (which shows that many Newtonian principles are wrong).
That's complete nonsense. There's nothing magical about Newtonian physics that makes it a prerequisite. There's no reason you could not start with relativity, Newtonian physics is just a little more intuitive and easier to teach high school students who don't need to know relativity (it's also a close enough approximation to work in practice for most applications, so the distinction isn't very important).
carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
Is it because you often go over the theories of people that have long been dead?
No, it's because you go over the nonsense of people who have long been dead. Unlike in empirical science (as with Newtonian physics) these kinds of foundational "approximations" are not useful in theory in philosophy, they just serve to confuse. You have to nail down credible metaphysical and metaethical understandings before you can move onto practical approximations.
carnap wrote:
Wed Mar 28, 2018 11:44 pm
You do that because their thoughts are still relevant.
No, you do that because philosophy as a field is very bad at coming to consensus on what is not relevant or useful.

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Post by carnap » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:24 am

Red wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:46 pm
Well, it shows that you're not stubborn and close-minded, and that you have intellectual honesty.
It does? So to be "open minded" you have to read or listen to every article, lecture, etc that is given by someone? As I said, I listened to a bit of it and it became clear that the person didn't know much about philosophy. I looked up the speaker and found that he has no background in philosophy. Why would I continue? Time is limited.

But if you think the author made a good point by all means briefly explain it.
Red wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:46 pm
I can understand how Newtonian Physics can help you understand physics, but how does taking priority on the history of philosophy help with understanding philosophy?
Philosophy departments don't take a priority on the history of philosophy. I'm not sure where that is coming from because your typical philosophy department requires only 1~2 classes in the history of philosophy. As I mentioned previously, the only thing I can think of is that you think because you're learning about someone's thought that has been long dead you're learning about "history". But that isn't usually what is happening.

Red wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:46 pm
Studying the history of science isn't gonna help you understand science. Remember, science is a branch of philosophy.
I don't agree, studying the history of science is critical to understanding the nature of science. Likewise for the philosophy of science.
Last edited by carnap on Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:33 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by carnap » Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:32 am

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:57 pm
That's complete nonsense. There's nothing magical about Newtonian physics that makes it a prerequisite. There's no reason you could not start with relativity, Newtonian physics is just a little more intuitive and easier to teach high school students who don't need to know relativity (it's also a close enough approximation to work in practice for most applications, so the distinction isn't very important).
There is a good reason and it has nothing to do with magic but instead that General Relativity builds on Newtonian physics. General Relativity provides a more general framework that both explains why Newtonian physics works so well in some contexts and also explains why some observations conflict with Newtonian principles.

brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:57 pm
No, it's because you go over the nonsense of people who have long been dead.
Nonsense determined by what exactly? What someone wishes to believe?
brimstoneSalad wrote:
Thu Mar 29, 2018 2:57 pm
No, you do that because philosophy as a field is very bad at coming to consensus on what is not relevant or useful.
Philosophy doesn't come to a consensus because there is no easy way to do that in non-empirical inquiry. Also "consensus" are often political and social in nature.

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Post by brimstoneSalad » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:32 am

carnap wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:32 am
There is a good reason and it has nothing to do with magic but instead that General Relativity builds on Newtonian physics.
Makes sense. Just like when you build a building you start with a shitty foundation that's falling apart, build your building, then use cranes to hold up the building while you chisel out the old foundation and pour a good one. ;)
carnap wrote:
Fri Mar 30, 2018 1:47 am
Philosophy doesn't come to a consensus because there is no easy way to do that in non-empirical inquiry.
Like it's any easier in empirical science? Nothing is ever 100% proven in empirical science. It's pretty easy for people (including scientists) with strong biases to reject obvious facts like anthropogenic climate change and the nutritional adequacy of a properly planned vegan diet.

I'd say it should be easier in philosophy, because when formalized basic logic is pretty non-controversial.
But then it's been pretty difficult to get Isaac to see the obvious, though that's because he refuses to engage in formal logic of any kind; he's just a humpty-dumptyist, so any discourse collapses at that point.

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