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I have grown sceptical of humanities &c. degrees Watch

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    (Original post by ChancedTravels)
    From my experience, English Literature teaches you how to encounter texts, arguments, records, etc. and decipher/analyse them. It teaches you how to independently research, utilise archive materials appropriately and develop novel arguments and contributions.
    But what it also does, is expose you to philosophy, cultural theory, history, sociology, psychology and science. I had a seminar last week about the 4th dimension. I've had seminar discussions and conducted research on cybernetics, trauma, attachment theory, medieval sexual ethics, social shifts in the post-atomic era, greek mythology, nuclear mutation, translating old English, post-humanism, late capitalism, etc. It's not just about reading stories and talking about what they mean or if they are good; it's about using literature as an access point to a whole host of other knowledge.

    Personally, I think it's a valuable experience.
    Can you read a balance sheet?

    Can you assemble a workflow?

    For an awful lot of jobs, you are going to be behind anyone that can

    I accept learning for learning's sake but how many humanities graduates are doing what they are doing, not for love of subject, but to enhance career opportunities.
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Can you read a balance sheet?

    Can you assemble a workflow?

    For an awful lot of jobs, you are going to be behind anyone that can

    I accept learning for learning's sake but how many humanities graduates are doing what they are doing, not for love of subject, but to enhance career opportunities.
    I think you are assuming a) that because I study English, I have no mathematical ability and b) that I would ever consider doing a job where reading balance sheets was a component.

    I'm fully aware of the graduate prospects of my subject. If I had been concerned with working in an office/in a scientific field after graduating, I would have done a different degree. Though, I agree, many don't have that awareness going into humanities based degrees.




    This Ted Talk might be relevant to this thread, also, as a different angle:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvBdH5AKlNc
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    (Original post by nulli tertius)
    Likewise, they are misled as to the limited extent that the skills (as opposed to knowledge) they acquire are different to the life skills acquired by anyone who works in an office environment for a similar period of years.
    This is the crux... we have way too many people going to university. You don't need a degree to do your average office job. I got in to work straight out of A-levels in a big office, I could have learnt everything I needed to know about the job by... just doing it. They sent me on training courses to get the practical knowledge. You don't need degree level critical thinking skills to follow a SOP.

    Labour's policy to get 50% of people in to uni wasn't good. All it means is that now people are forced to go to uni, because jobs which previously didn't require a degree are now asking for one because everyone has a degree. This has been really damaging for perfectly capable people who didn't go to university because their career prospects have been eroded.

    Luckily some big employers are starting to see beyond this now.
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    (Original post by Puddles the Monkey)
    This is the crux... we have way too many people going to university. You don't need a degree to do your average office job. I got in to work straight out of A-levels in a big office, I could have learnt everything I needed to know about the job by... just doing it. They sent me on training courses to get the practical knowledge. You don't need degree level critical thinking skills to follow a SOP.

    Labour's policy to get 50% of people in to uni wasn't good. All it means is that now people are forced to go to uni, because jobs which previously didn't require a degree are now asking for one because everyone has a degree. This has been really damaging for perfectly capable people who didn't go to university because their career prospects have been eroded.

    Luckily some big employers are starting to see beyond this now.
    Agreed.
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    (Original post by YesAllMen)
    No it's not ridiculous at all. what else should they have? An 'almost philosophy but not quite philosophy degree because the fields aren't that good?'

    Most universities have things like formal logic, metaphysics, epistemology as part of their core modules before allowing students to specialise in their area of choice since a lot of the content permeates throughout other modules (Phil of religion for example). However, somebody who doesn't choose to specialise in the modules you list doesnt in any way dilute the subject in particular when you mention political philosophy and philosophy of religion. Indeed, you can answer questions relating to philosophy of science better than they can, but they'll be better at answering questions to do with the topic of politics than you, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Part of philosophy that it is so diverse -- at the end of the day it's all part of philosophy regardless of whether or not you like it. Aesthetics isn't my speciality or interest either, but it's required to answer aesthetic questions and has a significant cross over with other fields (ethics for example). Things like this have been emphasised by some important philosophers such as Heidegger or Wittgenstein. I doubt you'd be so quick to dismiss them. Philosophy of religion includes a variety of themes related to religion (e.g. religious experience), and even the question of whether God exists typically intersects and has informed a wide variety of philosophical topics (e.g. epistemology [e.g. Plantinga's engagement with foundationalism], metaphysics [e.g. the philosophy of causation in relation to cosmological argument], ethics [e.g. voluntarism in relation to divine command theory. So really, there isn't really some kind of digression as your post implies

    Haven't seen any reputable place that leaves out the subjects that you mentioned and doesn't allow specialisation (the same time) to some other diverse fields. Of course, some of the weak universities might, but they're irrelevant when it comes to profession of philosophy- and they're not how an institution should operate

    ...Consider posting this question to
    /r/askphilosophy and you'll get the same kind of reaction
    Yes, but the introductory courses for epistemology/meta-physics/formal logic are piss-takes. You basically learn all that doing a-level philosophy. Or just having some common sense. Hardly esoteric and certainly nothing you need to go to university to learn.

    My point is not that particular subjects are superior or inferior, just that, some subjects within philosophy lend themselves to very very different methodologies, bits of research and ultimately knowledge. I do not feel that people with such modules have a similar enough -all of those- to warrant the same degree certificate. It is misleading and inefficient. Just like the whole university system.

    On the other hand it should be quite obviously that philosophy of science, formal logic and epistemology are far more important from a financial perspective than philosophy of food. And you must have noticed how so much university has become financialised as of late.

    And on the ethics thing, I am actually an ethical objectivist in spite of my atheism, just a heads-up. I'm not dissing ethics as being a "futile pursuit".
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    I think all degrees are worthwhile, but the perceived quality of a degree is only going to be as good as its graduates. I think the problem with humanities degrees is not the subjects studied, but the proliferation of university places and the lowering of entry requirements. Humanity study can be very rigorous, but it won't be if 80% of your classmates are unable to keep up intellectually. I think that as a consequence of this, for humanities degrees, it really does matter where you study, more than for other subjects. Even then, the quality of outcome across the sector has been so diluted now that the whole subject group has been tarnished by it.
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    (Original post by YesAllMen)
    No it's not ridiculous at all. what else should they have? An 'almost philosophy but not quite philosophy degree because the fields aren't that good?'

    Most universities have things like formal logic, metaphysics, epistemology as part of their core modules before allowing students to specialise in their area of choice since a lot of the content permeates throughout other modules (Phil of religion for example). However, somebody who doesn't choose to specialise in the modules you list doesnt in any way dilute the subject in particular when you mention political philosophy and philosophy of religion. Indeed, you can answer questions relating to philosophy of science better than they can, but they'll be better at answering questions to do with the topic of politics than you, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. Part of philosophy that it is so diverse -- at the end of the day it's all part of philosophy regardless of whether or not you like it. Aesthetics isn't my speciality or interest either, but it's required to answer aesthetic questions and has a significant cross over with other fields (ethics for example). Things like this have been emphasised by some important philosophers such as Heidegger or Wittgenstein. I doubt you'd be so quick to dismiss them. Philosophy of religion includes a variety of themes related to religion (e.g. religious experience), and even the question of whether God exists typically intersects and has informed a wide variety of philosophical topics (e.g. epistemology [e.g. Plantinga's engagement with foundationalism], metaphysics [e.g. the philosophy of causation in relation to cosmological argument], ethics [e.g. voluntarism in relation to divine command theory. So really, there isn't really some kind of digression as your post implies

    Haven't seen any reputable place that leaves out the subjects that you mentioned and doesn't allow specialisation (the same time) to some other diverse fields. Of course, some of the weak universities might, but they're irrelevant when it comes to profession of philosophy- and they're not how an institution should operate

    ...Consider posting this question to
    /r/askphilosophy and you'll get the same kind of reaction
    PRSOM
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    (Original post by Phoebus Apollo)
    You're right. But you're making the assumption that the same can't be done with a science degree. With all the resources out there (youtube videos, textbooks from libraries, online courses) it is perfectly possible to learn anything by yourself. Absolutely anything. You do not need an 'oxford don' to excel in chemistry for example - you just need access to a computer/library card.
    I myself am embarking on a humanities degree in the future. And no I'm not one of those people who is humanities humanities humanities - I currently do maths, biology and chemistry A level (I also do Latin if you're wondering). But why, for heavens' sake, can't I just do something I enjoy? Isn't that what life and higher education is about? Why do we constantly fight about what's useless or not? Not to get all philosophical, but it's all useless in the end, isn't it?
    And put it this way - if JK Rowling had taken, hmm let's say a degree in physics, Harry Potter probably wouldn't have been created. Yes, perhaps that oncologist may have saved a cancer patient's life, but Harry Potter may have made the chemotherapy a bit more bearable.
    As others have said, labs and access to very expensive, specialist equipment unique to universities.

    My degree requires equipment that is used in industry. (In fact, a company actually rents out our equipment, and that collaboration has resulted in graduate jobs)

    A degree is just a collection of modules that make up credits. It doesn't demonstrate understanding of a given topic. It assumes it.
 
 
 
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