Prof Huenemann presented today on “What is philosophy and why is it useful”. He sought, wisely I think, to underplay the instrumental value of philosophy and instead to focus on its intrinsic value. But for other reasons I had been getting data on its instrumental value and I thought it would be worth sharing. Here is my philosophy “brag” (suitable for use with university administrators, state and federal legislators, and skeptical parents:
Philosophy students get the most portable job skill of all – they learn how to think (analytically and critically) and learn how to communicate. Very few disciplines are as effective in teaching these skills as is philosophy. For evidence we can look to a host of graduate entrance exam scores that test verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and writing skills.
LSAT: From the set of majors that most commonly take the LSAT, philosophy majors have the highest scores. Of all majors that take the LSAT, philosophers score higher than every other discipline other than physics.
GMAC: On the most common test for MBA programs, philosophy majors score higher than every business major (scoring on average 10% better than the average of business majors). Overall, philosophy students are 5th highest among all disciplines, behind only physics, math, engineering, computer science.
– GRE analytical writing: Philosophy has the highest scores of any major.
– GRE verbal reasoning: Philosophy has the highest scores of any major.
– GRE quantitative reasoning: Philosophy has the highest scores in the humanities, and score better than a number of non-humanities disciplines including agricultural science, natural resources, all education majors, and all social sciences except economics.
MCAT scores are not broken down by major officially by the AAMC but instead are broken down by broad major areas. Humanities students score second highest overall, behind only math and statistics and ahead of physical sciences, biological sciences, and social sciences.