Business and Philosophy

Regarding trends in business, a writer in the New York Times reported that "businessmen are coming to appreciate an education that at its best produces graduates who can write and think clearly and solve problems" (23 June 1981). A recent long-term study by the Bell Telephone Company determined that majors in liberal-arts fields, among which philosophy is a central discipline, "continue to make a strong showing in managerial skills and have experienced considerable business success" (Career Patterns, by Robert E. Beck). The study concluded that "there is no need for liberal arts majors to lack confidence in approaching business careers."

There are people trained in philosophy in just about every field. (Even Woody Allen was a philosophy major!  Ever seen his movie Love and Death?  From philosophical study comes genius in many forms.)  Philosophy majors have gone into such professions as teaching (at all levels), medicine, and law; they have also pursued computer science, management, publishing, sales, criminal justice, and public relations, just to name a few.  Philosophy majors at Hampden-Sydney are no different.  Some professionally trained philosophers are also on legislative staffs.  The work of some of them, for a senior congressman, prompted him to say:

It seems to me that philosophers have acquired skills which are very valuable to a member of Congress. The ability to analyze a problem carefully and consider it from many points of view is one. Another is the ability to communicate ideas clearly in a logically compelling form. A third is the ability to handle the many different kinds of problems which occupy the congressional agenda at any time. (Lee H. Hamilton, 9th District, Indiana, 25 March 1982)

The moral of the story: No matter what career you choose, philosophy can help you succeed.