Philosophy Degrees are Undervalued

This is a vain and self-servicing reblog. I really like the figures in this post (as a physicist).

Edit (2017): It seems that unfortunately the original, reblogged post is not available any more. It featured a diagram that visualized the results of GRE tests: Verbal and quantitative skills of graduates – as discussed also e.g. here (also showing the diagrams, for 2010) and here (diagrams lost, but links to original PDFs with data) and reviewed critically here.  The diagrams looked very flattering for philosophy and physics majors ;-) Dan had written a thoughtful analysis which – if I recall correctly – also included arguments used in the critical review, like the self-selecting nature of degrees versus the alleged training you receive.

As physics undergraduates we used to joke (black humor) about why in hell we are studying physics when the corporate world (the world as such?) is ruled by people in the lower left quadrant of the skill matrix. OK, we used stronger language than ‘people in the lower left quadrant’.
Now and then I stumble upon anecdotal, yet powerful, evidence that this is true. Sorry Dan for using your thoughtful post for a rant of a reblog, I might add a more balanced update someday though all the business administration degree holders who will unfollow now are not going to read it.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Absolutely. I read your most recent post just a minute ago … I’ll work through it again this evening … heavy going. D

  2. Ha! Nice reblog … I viewed the original post and commented there. I said something like … this analysis shows what I believe most of us in academia already knew … that philosophers were some of the most intelligent, interesting, and fun-to-talk-to people around. They are quirky (a good thing), and spend their lives living and thinking outside-the-box … perhaps that’s why they have been historically overlooked by manager-types. Business likes square pegs fitting in square holes … those of us (physicists, philosophers … and, dare I say … biologists) who are ‘shaped’ otherwise spend their lives knowing to at least some degree they don’t fit. That’s OK … I like being differently shaped. How about you? Finally … I liked the comment about the world being ruled by ‘those in the lower left quadrant.’ Nice. D

    1. elkement says:

      Hi Dave – thanks a lot for your comment! I agree to anything you say, in particular “spend their lives knowing to at least some degree they don’t fit”. But there is some glaring irony: Businesses seem to demand people who think out of the box and are creative etc. – they don’t feel the contradiction. I guess 99% of corporate culture humor (such as Dilbert cartoons) can be traced back to this apparent paradox.

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