[Penultimate bullet:] Get really good at something totally different than philosophy (because being good at philosophy helps shorten the learning curve on everything [bold mine]).

This question interprets everything to be other subjects besides philosophy (because it is tautological that excelling in philosophy helps you to learn better philosophy).

If anyone needs an example of another subject to discuss, please take law (one of my other interests, and I already know of the existence of philosophy of law).

  • I suppose through improved analytic skills and breadth of perspective, but I seriously doubt that the claim is true without qualifications. At least for some students, some subjects and stages of learning a more philosophical attitude is likely a hindrance rather than an asset (as an anecdotal example, many mathematicians find naive Platonism conducive to their mathematical work, even if they recognize it as bad philosophy otherwise). And if and when excelling in philosophy helps shorten the learning curve seems more like a question for a field study in cognitive psychology of education.
    – Conifold
    Commented Nov 25, 2016 at 22:53
  • 1
    I agree with Conifold that if this a question really about how "learning curves" work and how philosophy relates to them that it isn't really a question about philosophy. If you want to know what skills philosophy thinks it provides, then it seems like the question could be reworded...
    – virmaior
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 5:28
  • 1
    While this is perhaps not a typical question, we have also been accepting questions on writing essays, reading recommendations, etc. This question could fall into the applied philosophy bullet point in the help center.
    – user2953
    Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 23:20
  • I think it probably adds rather than subtracts, multiplies rather than divides... Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 6:35
  • As you've mentioned the philosophy of law, this is additional to the subject of law - one needs to understand the substance of law already before understanding why the questions that philosophy raises has any relevance. Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 6:37

3 Answers 3


There is a claim made here that seems to back up the point that has been raised. Unfortunately the author has failed to cite the study from which he is drawing these results so it's authenticity cannot be checked.

No detail is given, for example, on how other subjects faired. Philosophy excelled in four categories, but Mathematics, Physics etc might have been first on four (different) categories also, making philosophy different from, but not better than, any other major.

No detail is provided on the degree by which philosophy came first in the categories chosen, it may be that the difference between its score and that of the major coming second is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

Finally, there is no work (to my knowledge) on what the linking mechanism might be. The study has proven (if anything) correlation, not causation. The claim that it provides "Transferable skills that employers value." in the first part of the article contains no supporting evidence at all. Given the lengths the author has gone to to support his second assertion, I would hazard a guess that there is no such supporting evidence. Of the many possible explanations for the results of the study cited in part two of the article, the actual skills philosophy provides is just one.

Notwithstanding the caveats above, if you follow the study further you may get the answers you're looking for


Primarily, it's for the same reason studying gymnastics (presumably) shortens the learning curve for anything physical. There's almost no sport where having developed balance, flexibility, speed, agility and strength won't help. In the same way, it's hard to think of any mental activity that doesn't call on some portion of the mental toolbox developed by philosophical studies (including logical thinking, the creation and destruction of paradigms, the application of general principles to widely variant areas of study, the development of intellectual rigor, and much more).

There's also a reason that the doctorate in many different fields is called the "doctorate of philosophy." To really understand any field, you need to understand the larger context, and the big questions of that field. Your background in philosophy is inevitably going to be a big boost in that arena.


If you mistake philosophy for a way of looking at things then it won't. If you understand that philosophy is heuristic then the love of wisdom can facillitate obtaining knowledge. Love of wisdom is respect for obtaining knowledge and at the very least this rejects false arguments.

Philosophy is not a subject, nor an -ology nor is the history of philosophy philosophy. And this despite an academic catalog or section in a bookstore. It can be said that the virtue of wisdom (read: obtaining knowledge) is a quality you have but to the point it is something that you do. How will you learn to do philosophy? Study logic, reason and rhetoric. The domains of philosophy are the study of knowledge (epistemology) and the study of existence, the world, what is (ontology).

To assert something is according to "my philosophy" or "their philosophy" (e.g. existential philosophy, Marxist philosophy, etc. ad nauseum) is to use philosophy as misnomer for "a way of looking at things". To investigate, on the other hand, the philosophy of language is to investigate respect for obtaining knowledge from or of language. See the difference? The ability to distinguish what is true from what is "true to you" will be an asset in any endeavor to investigate the world such that knowledge is obtained.

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