Wednesday, November 21, 2007

So, this is what it's all for?

A report in yesterday's Guardian tells me that philosophy graduates are much more popular with prospective employers than perhaps they used to be. Certainly there are many more of them (in 2006 more than twice as many people graduated with a degree in philosophy than in 2001) and they are finding work in some interesting places.

Good for them. But I couldn't help feeling a little deflated by the following:
Fiona Czerniawska, director of the Management Consultancies Association's think tank, says: "A philosophy degree has trained the individual's brain and given them the ability to provide management-consulting firms with the sort of skills that they require and clients demand. These skills can include the ability to be very analytical, provide clear and innovative thinking, and question assumptions."
I would have hoped that all university degrees offer that kind of education. For my part, I don't think that what I am doing when I teach is fit someone out with the kind of skills that management consulting firms demand. And it somehow bores me to hear once again the reduction of philosophy to some kind of 'brain-training' and the provision of a set of transferable analytic skills. But perhaps the increased employability of a philosophy degree will attract some good students who might otherwise have been put off and, if things go well, perhaps they will in the course of their studies read and think about something which lets them imagine doing something interesting afterwards.

1 comment:

Tamerlane said...

To be blunt, some disciplines are simply harder than others. It seems likely to me that more philosophers could be successful historians than historians successful philosophers. Some may disagree, but the equation is certainly true if you replace 'historians' with 'accountants.' The harder the discipline, the greater the 'brain training' and the greater the set of transferable skills.