View Full Version : Philosophy lovers gather here

05-10-2001, 09:41 PM
I would like to know how many took a philosophy course or read a philosophy book or was a philosophy major. Theology does not count, well it does, but not for this thread.

I majored in Philosophy and I noticed some others have mentioned the subject. In particular, what did you do in your first job interview when you told them you majored in Philosophy! In mine they thought I was very religious, although my niche in philosophy was scientific/mathematical foundations. To expand this a little more, what does any liberal arts major say in a job interview?

05-10-2001, 09:56 PM

"I'm good with people!"

I'm gonna keep going until everybody is pissed at me!

05-10-2001, 09:59 PM
I can learn.

05-10-2001, 10:00 PM
I told them (an economist, a medical sociologist and an epidemiologist--research faculty for a hospital administration program) that even though they were looking for a programmer and general computer specialist and even though I barely knew anything about that stuff, they should go ahead and hire me because there's documentation for most computer stuff and I could probably figure it out because, hey, I don't seem to have any problem navigating highways with roadsigns, even though others do, right? I was pretty convinced of the value of a liberal-arts education. (I had just graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Chicago and had taken several history, philosophy and lit courses in my 3 years there and 1 year at UMKC.)

They hired me, despite their severe misgivings about my inexperience and general arrogance. It worked out great for all sides. I'm now a dissertation shy of a Ph.D. in mathematical statistics from UIC, all of which I've done parttime while working fulltime at Rush, the hospital that hired me right out of college.

You would have loved the U of C, oleman. I had an entire course just on Hegel's Philosophy of Right and another one just on Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. We stick to the primary sources there. I wish I remembered more of what I learned while I was pulling down all those bad grades.

05-10-2001, 10:02 PM
Later, while driving around in Virginia and Maryland, I learned that, in fact, I *do* have trouble navigating highways with road signs, especially when the roads bend around a lot. Oh well--nothing like youthful brashness!

05-10-2001, 10:12 PM
Is that a guy thing?? Not asking directions or reading the maps???:D
As far as philosophy ?? I love Lonesome Dove and what Gus lives by his philosospy. Very simple and quit simple. What a miniseries that one was!

05-10-2001, 10:15 PM
I mostly sat with my mouth open, awe struck. Had some text books I did not comprehend one single complete sentence but some how I knew I liked it. I remember there were three profs, and just before my senior year two were hired by some company I's never heard of which became IBM. One was the logics, symbolic logic guy, the other was the guy trying to get me to understand Einstein, Bohr, Russell. In most of my classes I was the only undergraduate, sorta the pet dog. The prof they didn't hire was an authority on Kant. That wasn't too much fun.
I never got a job really, until I persuaded a company I would work for nothing as a stock broker. First year I posted prices on a black board and sold the, only had one to sell, mutual fund. Had to go in the Army between the two.

05-10-2001, 10:31 PM
My oldest daughter got a PHd in Clinical Psychology from Vanderbilt. Since then I've always been a little reticent in what I say around her. Her major was math/physics form UCLA but she felt I had pushed her into it, and when she took a job in statistical research at a cancer facility she opted to go somewhere else and got a scholarship to Vandy. I noticed when she was three she had learned to add and subtract. Her mother was very bright.

05-10-2001, 11:03 PM
As I indicated before, my interest in philosophy came after my "formal education". I consider myself a Platonist and engage in dialogue with a professor who teaches here in California. His specialty is in comparitive religions and the art of the Dialectic. He teaches the art of philosophical midwifery and does research in what Plato called the Dream Master. Fascinating talk whether something profound is reached or not!

I'm just about finished with a book titled, "Quantum Questions", edited by Ken Wilber. It is excerpts from some of the most profound physicists of the 20th century about their own feelings on mysticism and its relation (or lack of) to science. Einsteine, Planck, Eddington, and more. I was really impressed with Wilber's introduction. If you still enjoy reading such, I'd recommend!

Philosophy wasn't something I put on my resume, and my job doesn't call for it formally, but I think its pursuit can lead to a much more satisfying life, yes, I actually read it for enjoyment!

05-10-2001, 11:23 PM
She sounds pretty impressive, oleman. I bet Tennessee has all kind of need for clinical psychologists, too. With Dollywood being the world's largest Rorscach blot and Jack Daniels creating so many blots, the need for interpreters has got to be overwhelming ;)

Coincidentally, my sweetheart has just joined the UC-system as a stat professor for some cancer researchers. Though she's up at Davis, she might share another trait with your daughter--a proper UCLAer-type disdain for USC!

05-11-2001, 12:54 AM
In college I took one philosophy course. What I am about to tell you is the absolute truth, not an urban legend because it happened to me. My professor was a 20 year old full Ph.D in philosophy. I had done very well in the course because we spent lots of time on what is basically boolean logic, circular arguments, and logic in general. Well it comes the day for the final and I had studied my arse off. Here we are sitting around with our Blue Books waiting for this horrific essay final. The prof walks in and hands out a six page set of instructions. We all immediately get busy reading and some start writing (I never understood that but I guessed they had just scanned through the first five pages and had found the only question and started writing). When I finally filtered through the entire set of instructions I realized the professor had warned us not to over analyze the question and just concisely answer the question. So what was that question?


I thought about it for all of one minute and wrote my answer, which was all of two words.

Why not?

I got up turned in my blue book and walked out with one other guy. I asked him what he had answered, it was:


I realized immediately that he had the perfect answer, and began sweating what would happen to me.

Well as it turned out he received the only A and I received a B+. No one else in the class of about 14 recieved anything higher than a C+ and many had spent the entire 2 hour filling their blue book.

It was one of the most valuable lessons I ever learned in college. Sometimes the answer is as simple as it seems. Learn to trust your instincts, and do not go to extremes when it is not required. This may have been the most valuable liberal arts class I ever took. Other than the one lesson from that final not much else was of value later in my career, but that one lesson has proved invaluable. By the way for the course I got an A- so the B+ was not a big deal.

Hope you enjoy my little story on my experience with a Philosophy class.

05-11-2001, 04:00 AM
Had similar circumstance with a logical positivism Prof. He was tall, cowboy type from Univ. of Texas who came to replace the symbolic logic,etc Prof who went to IBM. His course required the boolean, and symbolic representations knowledge in order to read the text, which to me looked like a weird math book from Mars.
There were only five in the class, the four others were working on their Phd's in math. His first words to the class was that he was going to grade on the curve. I knew nothing about graduate courses, so when he said attendance was required, I thought that was a little redundant. Well, he was joking about the curve but not about attendance, so the class was cut to four rather quickly. I sat the whole semester terrified he would call on me. That is until we started having classes at his apartment with beer. And all at once I had four more instructors.
We had a mid-term exam which he threw out the day of the finals, since it was pre-beer and announced the final was the final grade. He said since logic was required the 2nd answer must follow from the first and the third from the 2nd. There were three questions and the first was 50% I was sick. This ought to get me to the front lines of Korea real quick.
I knew by heart the major premise of the book, reality is empirical, and is always only probable for there is always another test that can be made. Whereas 2=2=4 can be true by definition. yada yada

Throughout the book there had been this crazy equation that had a bunch of dots trailing after it..........but everyone around was writing like mad. Well I wrote it down for my #1 answer. Then went to two which based on one was a yes. and the third I did not understand so I left it blank. I sat the rest of time pretending to be thinking, trying to keep my food down, completely utterly embarrassed. But I honestly did not know what else to answer. I did write an apology. When I got home and looked up the equation I wrote, I felt a little better for I felt I at least was close to having some sort of answer in the right format.
Of course I aced it, or I wouldn't be writing this, but this test transformed my life into one of confidence that even if you cannot understand a single word you can in the end know it. Computers were much the same way or trading currencies.

05-11-2001, 04:38 PM
and haven't had the chance to study or major in the course of philosophy, but is anyone here familiar with Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson? Or any of the other great philosophers who believed in trascendentalism? If so, what are your thoughts?

05-11-2001, 04:59 PM
I've only read Thoreau's Civil Disobedience and Emerson's essay "Self-Reliance" (if I remember correctly) and that was a long time-ago. I recall thinking that Thoreau's observations about the Federal Government's role in the Mexican-American role had the ring of truth to them, and that Self-Reliance was wise. I think that the transendentalist notion that what goes around come around is a good basis for ethical action.

I'm sure that I would read both works differently, now that I'm a little older!

05-11-2001, 05:04 PM
Self-Reliance was good, I did enjoy it, but one that I think you may enjoy, if you have any extra time on your hands would be Thoreau's writings that he composed while living in a cabin a mile away from any other settler on a small pond to live out his beliefs of simplicity, it is simply entitled...."Walden" after the pond at which he built his cabin and settled....makes you think why we choose to live in such havoc.

05-11-2001, 11:18 PM
"I returned to the woods, not afraid that I might die, but that I had not truly lived" -DT

I think that's right but you're really testing my memory. Too often in this materialistic age we over exersize the physical and mental aspects of self without due regard to the spiritual nature of being akin to our planet and the cosmos.

I meditate with my wife in the mornings to reconnect with that energy to help remind myself that life is indeed beautiful..."and that has made all the difference."