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Philosophy vs History vs English vs Theology: Who is King of the Humanities? Watch

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    Which subject can rightly claim to be the supreme, magnificent, master of the humanities?

    I was thinking they each have a claim:

    Philosophy - some seriously big thinking, with terrifyingly complex topics, and has had such a huge effect on society. Probably produces the cleverest students imo

    History - the 'go to' humanities degree, but kinda done by everyone so not really very special. Obviously important, and very challenging - you'll be great at sifting through huge amounts of written information. Produces well spoken students, but, trouble is, their history knowledge is normally so specific it hardly ever comes up in conversation so they don't get the chance to talk knowledgably about something (whereas a Philosophy student can talk knowledgably about philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, political philosophy etc.)

    English - meh, I think English is slightly overrated. The langauge analysis is covered in the other humanities degrees, so the only reason you'd do english is if you a) happen to really like reading and learning from literature or b) don't know what else you can do. But English at degree level also includes a lot of history, and you have to do huge amounts of reading, and be able to write to a very high standard.

    Theology - controversial and rather exotic. Also extremely broad, incorporating learning ancient languages, philosophy, history, literature, and you learning a huge amount about different cultures. Also a bit rarer than the others, so perhaps more interesting when you tell someone.


    I've left out Latin/Classics since not enough people do them for it to be fair. Also left out economics and politics because they're social sciences, sociology because it's stupid and geography because it's not even a subject (basically just dumbed down science mixed with dumbed down economics and politics).

    What do you think?
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    C'mon people we gotta sort this out! It's clearly of vital importance to the world!
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    Nope. the king is English and philosophy. With the ability to analyse and with a good mind, read holy books of religions and see if religion is true, if so, which religion is true. find the true path.
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    I would say English, as a language, being able to communicate is top priority. Then, in close second I would say Philosophy because it explains fundamental questions. Then, I would say History and Theology because these are focused on 'what' questions, rather than 'why' i.e. what happened 100 years ago, rather than 'why do we have consciousness'?
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    Philosophy because it makes you think for yourself much greater than the other subjects you listed. It also makes improves your communication skills, your writing skills, your analysing skills and enhances as well as allowing new skills to grow rather quickly.

    I'm being rather bias because I'm hoping to pick this as my degree but oh well.
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    (Original post by Defraction)
    Philosophy because it makes you think for yourself much greater than the other subjects you listed. It also makes improves your communication skills, your writing skills, your analysing skills and enhances as well as allowing new skills to grow rather quickly.

    I'm being rather bias because I'm hoping to pick this as my degree but oh well.
    I agree that Philosophy's pretty cool. Are you applying now? I may be in the same situation as you if that's the case
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    I agree that Philosophy's pretty cool. Are you applying now? I may be in the same situation as you if that's the case
    I could but I want to take a gap year and I think academically it is better for me to apply next year(im doing some resits because of the restraints timing caused me to not do well as I thought I would have).
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    English doesn't really give you any skills that can't be gained from the others. Theology is a joke subject. Philosophy I imagine would arguably be the most interesting and will be fantastic at developing your ability to critically reason and ability to construct an argument. History is also very interesting and good for developing your ability to analyse texts and historical data, but the knowledge is somewhat specific whereas philosophy is more general. Depending on which part of history you specialise in, it will probably be more useful knowledge than philosophical knowledge, but the latter probably just edges it out on developing your overall skill set. I can't decide between these two, so Philosophy or History.
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    Law is the king of all the humanities. Law is the result of all the other subjects put together into something actually useful and relevant. Everything else is just wishy-washy thinking with no grounding in real life. Law is the direct application of philosophy, and the result of history. It gives meaning to abstract and frankly otherwise pointless areas of study.
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    If we're talking like at a very basic level, then speaking English is pretty important. Any higher than that and English Literature becomes a load of strange reaching, while language is semi-interesting but not that great.

    Philosophy does the most intense analysis in anything, ever while also at least trying to answer some pretty fundamental questions. It's also really good to study for getting some hot debate skills which is just really useful everywhere, so I'd say it's the best one. That said certain branches of philosophy make me want to kms
    (Original post by Nisathesharp)
    Nope. the king is English and philosophy. With the ability to analyse and with a good mind, read holy books of religions and see if religion is true, if so, which religion is true. find the true path.
    You won't find any absolute 'truth' in religion using pure philosophy without some form of confirmation bias as far as I've been able to tell.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    English doesn't really give you any skills that can't be gained from the others. Theology is a joke subject. Philosophy I imagine would arguably be the most interesting and will be fantastic at developing your ability to critically reason and ability to construct an argument. History is also very interesting and good for developing your ability to analyse texts and historical data, but the knowledge is somewhat specific whereas philosophy is more general. Depending on which part of history you specialise in, it will probably be more useful knowledge than philosophical knowledge, but the latter probably just edges it out on developing your overall skill set. I can't decide between these two, so Philosophy or History.
    Why is theology a 'joke subject'? Even if you don't believe in God, religion is still going very strong all around the world, and studying them is not only fascinating but very useful in such a theologically diverse society. This is evidenced by the large number of atheists who choose to study it.
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    (Original post by Abstract_Prism)
    Law is the king of all the humanities. Law is the result of all the other subjects put together into something actually useful and relevant. Everything else is just wishy-washy thinking with no grounding in real life. Law is the direct application of philosophy, and the result of history. It gives meaning to abstract and frankly otherwise pointless areas of study.
    lol a three year law degree's equivalent is a one year course. A one year course. Clearly not worth very much - far better to study something actually fascinating which you enjoy, not some dry, soulless vocational dullness.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    Why is theology a 'joke subject'? Even if you don't believe in God, religion is still going very strong all around the world, and studying them is not only fascinating but very useful in such a theologically diverse society. This is evidenced by the large number of atheists who choose to study it.
    Religion is just a human fabrication and an outdated institution that quite frankly needs to die. Regardless of this, the content learned about in theology isn't useful for any notable job aside from religon-specific ones. The skills gained in writing ability etc can be developed in other subjects (like the other three identified in this topic), so there will always be a more useful degree to do. Studying religon is not useful. Aspects of it may be somewhat interesting, but even then this is just opinion. If you can provide evidence that a large number of atheists choose to study theology then I'd love to see it.
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    lol a three year law degree's equivalent is a one year course. A one year course. Clearly not worth very much - far better to study something actually fascinating which you enjoy, not some dry, soulless vocational dullness.
    If you do the 1 year course you would miss out on a bunch of elective modules. And I'm sure you could condense most degrees into 1 year if you cut out all the optional modules and put in the kinds of hours that the law students on the GDL are doing.

    There seems to be this misconception that law is a dry subject, but honestly nothing is further from the truth. Law, I think, is the most intellectually challenging humanities subject, and if you enjoy solving puzzles through consistent logic, you'd enjoy law. Plus, the law is so much more than statutes. It gives you an insight into all areas - History, Philosophy and Ethics, Politics, Psychology and Criminology, Economics, even science to an extent - and manages to take all these abstract and intangible subjects and project them into something that actually has an impact in the real world.

    I think if we're talking dry, soulless vocational subjects, Business Studies is the prime target.
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    (Original post by JRKinder)
    Religion is just a human fabrication and an outdated institution that quite frankly needs to die. Regardless of this, the content learned about in theology isn't useful for any notable job aside from religon-specific ones. The skills gained in writing ability etc can be developed in other subjects (like the other three identified in this topic), so there will always be a more useful degree to do. Studying religon is not useful. Aspects of it may be somewhat interesting, but even then this is just opinion. If you can provide evidence that a large number of atheists choose to study theology then I'd love to see it.
    A few things to clarify here. Theology means 'God talk', and, as such, when you say things like 'religion is just a human fabrication' you are yourself doing theology, albeit not especially well.

    As I said, the content of Theology is not necessarily God himself but what people believe ('talk') about God. The world is extremely religious, and will continue to be so for a very long time, whether you like it or not. As such, learning about people's systems of belief is invaluable knowledge (far more so than any of the rather pretentious, obscure knoweldge gained via an English degree, for example, which is literally never used again), as is the knowledge of the history of Western thought, painting, architecture, philosophy etc. which are all encapsulated in a study of merely one religion, namely Christianity. Just imagine the depth of culture and history unearthed by the proper study of others like Buddhism or Islam, for example. Better understanding leads to better relations between communities. Perhaps if the US government officials, and public, had been better versed in Islamic theology dreadful wars stemming from ingrained bigotry on both sides could have been averted. Just a thought.

    You don't have to subscribe to religion, but pretending it isn't there is just absurd. If Dawkins had spent more time actually learning about the very thing he was attacking, I'd bet he would have won over many millions of religious people. Instead he presented a (philosophically laughable) case against a form of religion nearly no one recognises. Ignore theology at your intellectual peril.
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    (Original post by Abstract_Prism)
    If you do the 1 year course you would miss out on a bunch of elective modules. And I'm sure you could condense most degrees into 1 year if you cut out all the optional modules and put in the kinds of hours that the law students on the GDL are doing.

    There seems to be this misconception that law is a dry subject, but honestly nothing is further from the truth. Law, I think, is the most intellectually challenging humanities subject, and if you enjoy solving puzzles through consistent logic, you'd enjoy law. Plus, the law is so much more than statutes. It gives you an insight into all areas - History, Philosophy and Ethics, Politics, Psychology and Criminology, Economics, even science to an extent - and manages to take all these abstract and intangible subjects and project them into something that actually has an impact in the real world.

    I think if we're talking dry, soulless vocational subjects, Business Studies is the prime target.
    Alright, I agree on the business studies front
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    I am sure they all do well to prepare its graduates for a life of fast food service.
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    (Original post by Defraction)
    I could but I want to take a gap year and I think academically it is better for me to apply next year(im doing some resits because of the restraints timing caused me to not do well as I thought I would have).
    OK well good luck! If there could be one subject that I could choose to just read about for a year, I think most people would choose Philosophy!
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    (Original post by SunnysideSea)
    OK well good luck! If there could be one subject that I could choose to just read about for a year, I think most people would choose Philosophy!
    You too! Btw, what unis are you thinking of applying to?
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    (Original post by Defraction)
    You too! Btw, what unis are you thinking of applying to?
    I'm aiming for the skies lol. Well it's a choice between applying for straight Philosophy at Cambridge or Philosophy and Theology at Oxford. I like the idea of each tbh, which would you go for? I don't want to go for LSE cos I've grown up in London so I'm kinda desperate to go somewhere else. So the other ones I'm looking at are Durham, St Andrews (why do their courses have to be 4 years long?!), Exeter and maybe Newcastle or Manchester?

    What areas of Philosophy do you like?
 
 
 
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