What Do Philosophers Do and Why Are They Important?

Most people are unaware of what philosophers do for a living, but the reality is that their job opportunities are very broad. Learn all about them here!
What Do Philosophers Do and Why Are They Important?

Last update: 18 May, 2022

Everyone has some idea of what a doctor, an architect, an engineer, a psychologist, and other specialized professionals do. But how many people know what philosophers do for a living?

Philosophy students are constantly being asked, “What does a philosopher do?” or “what will you do when you graduate?” They also tend to get questions like “What will you actually do with your degree in philosophy?” and “What are your plans after you graduate?” And the truth is that they have more job opportunities than they themselves could imagine, especially nowadays.

Well, thanks to the constant changes that the world is going through due to new technologies, philosophers are increasingly in demand in the workplace. Let’s take a look at why and at the areas in which a philosophy graduate can work.

Why are philosophers so important?

If you’re a philosophy student, you’ve probably been told that the only thing you can devote yourself to is education or research. However, nowadays, philosophy has a great practical value in society. Technological advances and social changes are pushing us to rethink the status quo and reality.

For example, climate change, the increasing development of artificial intelligence, biotechnology, global justice, and religious conflicts are fundamental issues that need to be discussed and analyzed by specialists. In this case, philosophers are the most appropriate.

Philosophy doesn’t teach us what to think, but how to think. Therefore, the philosopher has the ability to analyze problems through different perspectives and approach them with the open-mindedness necessary to identify those aspects that escape common reasoning.

In other words, the philosopher makes rational suggestions that help us understand the world and how to improve it. For this reason, UNESCO recently recognized the importance of this discipline and instituted World Philosophy Day.

We think you may be interested in reading this, too: The Modular Theory of Mind: How Does the Human Brain Work?

The skills and competencies of philosophers

Knowing the strengths of philosophy graduates will help us to have a clearer idea of their importance for society and in what fields they can perform.

Among their competencies, the following stand out:

  • Ethical sensitivity
  • Critical analysis of arguments
  • Abstract and logical thinking
  • A panoramic vision of human existence
  • The ability to express complex ideas orally and in writing
  • Proficiency in a variety of subjects, such as politics, anthropology, psychology, mathematics, religion, education, logic, history, etc.
Filósofos griegos.

What do philosophers do for a living?

In 2007, the British newspaper The Guardian reported that by 2001, 90% of philosophy graduates were employed within 6 months of graduation. And by 2006, this figure had risen to over 93%.

In addition, many of these jobs were found to be rewarding, and graduates included entrepreneurs who were capitalizing on the ethical demand in the corporate world.

Now, to better understand the scope that a philosophy degree has in the world of work, here are some of the areas in which philosophers work.

Research and teaching

This is perhaps the most well-known area of work for the philosopher. In fact, many people believe it’s the only one.

The truth is that academia is one of the environments that philosophers are most attracted to, as they’re passionate about knowledge. In this case, their role is to analyze and disseminate knowledge about any area of reality. For example, politics, the human being, the mind, the sciences, etc.

Also, as a teacher, you can sow concerns in your students and encourage them to question the status quo. In this way, a philosopher passes down open-mindedness to the new generations.

The business sector

Nowadays, more and more companies are looking to integrate philosophers into their staff. This is due to their great analytical capacity when dealing with a variety of topics.

In this field, philosophers are excellent consultants who analyze risks and define strategies in the areas of administration, human resources, and finance. Also, their humanistic training allows them to address business ethics and compliance.

If you want to succeed in business, don’t get an MBA. Instead, study philosophy. –Matthew Stewart, correspondent for The Atlantic magazine and founder of a consulting firm

The media

Another answer to the question of what a philosopher works in is classical and contemporary media, such as film, podcasts, literature, and music. These media need figures that go beyond the commonplace and the hackneyed formulas.

Therefore, with his or her deep historical knowledge and his ability to analyze contemporary reality, the philosopher can offer new and quality content to these media.

Like this article? You may also like to read: Rationalism: What Is It and How to Apply It To Everyday Life?

Politics

Meanwhile, a philosopher also has a broad background in politics, ethics, history, and social phenomena. He or she is therefore an excellent candidate to hold political positions.

In this case, he or she could be an advisor in the development of proposals and public policies that better address social reality and attack the causes of problems.

Filósofo en una empresa.

Information technologies

Finally, in the technological field, philosophers are also good candidates. Since their training in mathematical logic can be of great use in the design and construction of algorithms.

Some final thoughts

Now that you know what philosophers work on, you can realize the value of this discipline in today’s society. Thanks to the philosophy we can look at any issue from different perspectives and make the most appropriate decisions to make the world a better place.

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