I am a working tech professional who wants to switch gears and pursue philosophy as more than just a hobby. I might have saved enough to tide over the transition, but not to spend on the crazy college tuition fees.

Is going to 4 year college and then Graduate/PhD studies the only way? If so, are there cheaper colleges to do it? Has anyone done this before? How did you do it!

  • 4
    If you want a career in philosophy, you have to have outstanding academic credentials. There are way more people trained in philosophy than there are academic philosophy jobs. If you just want to learn philosophy, no degree is necessary, just read and think.
    – causative
    Sep 27, 2021 at 5:09
  • Thanks makes sense.
    – Gadam
    Sep 27, 2021 at 5:36
  • What do you mean by "more than just a hobby"? Do you mean pursuing a career in academia? Or studying philosophy in a more structured setting? Or something else?
    – E...
    Sep 27, 2021 at 17:00
  • @Eliran - Both structured learning and possibly derive an income from that field later (not neccessarily academic, but also i am not sure what other options are there in the field)
    – Gadam
    Sep 28, 2021 at 17:27

2 Answers 2


In the movie Good Will Hunting, there is a popular scene where the main character talks about how "you spent 100k on a degree for knowledge that could have cost you 5 dollars in overdue library charges." I'm not sure what your financial situation is, but there are a couple options.

  1. Online education
  2. Buy books, this has been extremely beneficial to me.

Or you might just have to bite the bullet. If you want to contribute, it seems you need credentials.

  • Buying books has been hit or miss for me. Its hard to know where to start and sometimes the book is too obtuse/advanced for my current knowledge. So a structured learning can help. Online education shows courses without much depth typically. I am also exploring community college.
    – Gadam
    Sep 28, 2021 at 17:31

I'd say the key thing, is to make sure you get a broad foundation, and don't just stick to narrow aspects of philosophy or things you know you find interesting already. So I'd recommend figuring out a list of topics, & reading for each. I found philosophy of politics & religion way more interesting than I expected, & might have avoided them given free choice.

Stanford do lots of high quality free online material and lectures, like this one on Language, Proof and Logic. MOOCs, massively open online courses, are increasingly a thing now, and EdX list lots of university level courses.

There are lots of online learning platforms with free courses, FutureLearn (not so many there, one on Korean philosophy though, interesting), Open University's free courses, Coursera (different grades for courses, helping find the right level).. There are probably discussion groups out there working out which are good.

It's fun and interesting to get an overview of history of Western Philosophy. Personally, I hate Bertrand Russell's book, which just lists more or less famous thinkers in historical order, with somewhat random snippets about their thought. And really like Vervaeke's Awakening From The Meaning Crisis, which gives a developmental account, but I know it's not for everyone.

The bit that will be most difficult, is writing essays that you get feedback on, and being in debates. These are really core to philosophy. Likely you will have local groups that meet to discuss philosophy at least if you are in a city, but lack of shared groundwork can limit how useful these are. It's hard to get people to read your essays. It's hard to write good essays without writing a lot of them..

  • 1
    Thanks for the useful links, will check them out. Yes bought and hated 2 books by Russel: History or western Philosophy, and problems of philosophy. I am liking A New History of Western Philisophy by Kenny Anthony and Think by Simon.Blackburn.
    – Gadam
    Sep 28, 2021 at 17:35
  • So after I learn from those above resources, is there an opportunity to find a job in the field? I understand others pointed out academia is super hard, but some other smaller jobs maybe?
    – Gadam
    Sep 28, 2021 at 17:36
  • @Gadam: What, like doing research..? Philosophy isn't like chemistry or something where there's grunt-work. Write compelling things that challenge people, & get noticed, pretty much, ideally get a book published. Read popular philosophy magazines & journals, like 3quarksdaily.com to see what people read. The pay & conditions are terrible though. Very few academics do 'pure' philosophy, well known thinkers are generally in specialisms, after excelling at every stage of study which may or may not include philosophy but ended up with getting into the deep end of things. Read everything
    – CriglCragl
    Sep 28, 2021 at 20:52

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