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Charts and graphs of test scores

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Old Main, USU


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• Is the world eternal? YES
• Do humans have contra-causal free will (i.e., can humans do otherwise)? NO
• Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? YES
• Do humans have souls? YES
• Are there natural rights? YES
• Is it morally permissible to eat meat? NO
• Is the unexamined life worth living? NO
• Is truth subjectivity? YES
• Is virtue necessary for happiness? YES
• Can a computer have a mind? YES
• Can humans know reality as it is in itself? YES
• Is hell other people? YES
• Can art be created accidentally? NO
• Can we change the past? NO
• Are numbers real? NO
• Is it always better to know the truth? YES

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I warmly recommend the site Daily Nous (clever name, too!). It features a lot of “inside the philosophy profession” stuff that is less interesting, but also a lot of fun items: cartoons, interviews, popular essays, and so on. They also have a page documenting how philosophy majors perform on standardized tests, as well as mid-career earnings. I knew phil majors did well on these things, but the results are even better than I thought – check them out.

It’s probably not fair for philosophy, as an undergraduate major, to take full credit for these successes. Philosophy deals with abstract, tricky problems and questions, and chances are that anyone interested in these things will do well on standardized tests, whatever the end up majoring in. But I do think it’s true that whatever level of relevant ability you have when you start out in a philosophy program, the program will elevate that ability considerably (and maybe even more so than many other majors). In short, studying philosophy makes bright people brighter. It would be nice to say it makes them wiser, happier, and more moral as well – but does it? There’s an interesting discussion to have!


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