Law School Discussion

Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?

Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« on: August 20, 2005, 08:39:10 PM »
I will be the only graduating Philosophy major at my school so it is certainly rare.

Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2005, 08:51:43 PM »
It may be rare at your school, but I think it's pretty common among LS hopefuls.

According to Richard MountauK in "How to get into the Top Law Schools," adcoms see this when considering philosophy majors:

Likely Strengths
*An argumentative thinker
*Acustomed to analyzing formal logic, language

Likely Weaknesses
*Lacking people skills
*Lacking career focus

I don't know if this helps or not, it doesn't really say much about how they asess difficulty. I think the most important thing is that you prove that you don't posess the weaknesses associated w/ ur major. But it's certainly a respectable choice, IMHO.

Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2005, 08:57:22 PM »
Rare at your school, but not mine.  Though, admittedly, they don't have as many numbers as PolySci or Psych.  Even at my school, which has one of the strongest Phil programs in the country, the numbers are not overpowering (though there are probably more than at most schools).

As for being a tough major, consensus seems to show that while it won't hurt, it's not going to really wow them like Electrical Engineering or something really hard like that would.

bruin

  • *****
  • 13570
    • View Profile
Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2005, 10:05:19 AM »
I will be the only graduating Philosophy major at my school so it is certainly rare.

Moreso than Polisci/History/communications, not nearly as much as an Engineering/hard science major.

Served

  • ****
  • 317
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2005, 10:47:26 AM »
I don't think that any humanities are considered hard, particularly because the teachers there actually want everyone to do well and work hard so that every student has a fair chance at an A.  Most humanities teachers really don't even like giving grades.  Not so in the engineering hard sciences.  There grades are given for short run competence and there is little freedom in what you learn.  You have to take a standardized test in science for example, but in philosophy you may have the option to write a paper on any of the major authors of a class.  I believe this extra freedom in the humanities make them appear less hard than they might be, and in reality, does yeild higher grades.  Great for the student, not great for their major's public perception.

jeb240

Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2005, 11:19:35 AM »
I gotta say... this whole "hard" versus "easy" major thing just really ticks me off.

I think it's perfectly fine to argue that this course of study at this school might be more difficult than the same course of study at another school, but beyond that...  so I would not be super at Electrical Engineering or Rheology, when discussing with my physical science friends Semiotics or Kant's Categorical Imperative, more than a few of them aren't exactly getting what I'm saying.

When the pre-law advisor told Elle that Harvard won't be impressed that she aced, "History of Polka Dots," I was offended.  And if Harvard thinks that way, then that really does bother me.  I feel safe in saying that more than a handful of Harvard graduates and prof.'s would not be able to hold their own in a Fashion Design or Merchandising course.

This... I dunno, "elitism of field" or whatever you want to call it has got to go.  At least, that's my opinion.  Maybe I'm wrong.

J D

  • ****
  • 1386
  • Lust isn't one of the 7 Deadly Sins for nothing...
    • View Profile
Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2005, 11:43:14 AM »
Agreed.

I think categories like "difficult" or "easy" really depend on the individual person's own skills and aptitudes.  People are better at managing and learning some material better than others.  I have a passing knowledge of the sciences, and taught myself the material for Calculus II, but I know I don't really have much interest for the sciences or engineering.  I could probably do well enough at such things, but I wouldn't enjoy it at all.  I also knew many such majors at my school who had absolutely no problems with these subjects, but absolutely HATED writing history papers.  These people  were doubtless smart enough to do the work in liberal arts and humanities courses (reading lots of books and writing lots of papers).  But they didn't handle that material as well as they did the math and science stuff, and they didn't enjoy it as much.  They told me many times that they could not possibly see themselves taking up my major (History), just like I could not possibly see myself being an engineer or a science major.

In short, it depends on the person, on what that person is good at, and on what that person likes.  What is easy for one is not necessarily easy for another; what is hard for one is not necessarily hard for another.  It's all relative to the individual.

Personally, I respect any major that teaches you how to think clearly and logically, how to write well, and how to conduct a proper and thorough analysis and defend it.  That includes, in my experience, pretty much anything in the liberal arts, the sciences, and engineering.  At my school, my experience with Business, Journalism, Criminal Justice, etc. courses and majors hasn't been the best, though I'd rather not go into that one again (again, what is the case at my school is not necessarily the case at other schools).  ;)

Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2005, 11:52:36 AM »
As someone who double majored...I majored in both a science and in a humanities, I have to say that neither is harder. Initially, science is more difficult because you are learning a new "language" while something like religion or history is mostly simple essay tests. However, after a while it shifts. The science becomes easier once you've "mastered" the language while higher up in the humanities it is typically expected that you will write lengthy, often difficult research papers, etc.

Sleezstak

Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2005, 12:08:39 PM »


Let me think abut this one... ;D

J D

  • ****
  • 1386
  • Lust isn't one of the 7 Deadly Sins for nothing...
    • View Profile
Re: Is Philosophy considered a "tough" major?
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2005, 01:11:07 PM »
As someone who double majored...I majored in both a science and in a humanities, I have to say that neither is harder. Initially, science is more difficult because you are learning a new "language" while something like religion or history is mostly simple essay tests. However, after a while it shifts. The science becomes easier once you've "mastered" the language while higher up in the humanities it is typically expected that you will write lengthy, often difficult research papers, etc.

Let's not forget that many liberal arts and humanities disciplines expect (or, at least, prefer) you to have a working knowledge of one or more foreign languages for your upper-level coursework.  History, I know, is VERY big on this; how else do you think you're going to be able to read and work with the sources?  Osmosis?  ;)