To the Mother and her Daughter at the Bus Stop

To the mother and her soon to be collegiate daughter at the bus stop on 12th and Madison,

Philosophy is not a dying field, and, if you only get a bachelor’s degree in it, I can guarantee you that one thing you won’t be doing is teaching it.

You might go to law school, get any number of advanced degrees in the humanities and beyond, or work your way up from an entry-level position at a company until you make more money than your business major contemporaries.

You might get to host a TV show where you guide women into dressing both for their personality and their profession.

You might become one of the most powerful women in business.

You might found the most recognized photo-sharing website in the country.

You might host America’s most popular trivia game show.

You might become president of the United States.

You might get to be Hans Solo or Indiana Jones.

You might write a screenplay every year for fifty years straight and become one of the most prolific and celebrated filmmakers of the century.

Aside from being able to access your higher cognitive faculties, studying philosophy will lay the foundation for being able to understand structures and systems, identify good arguments, and practice clear communication. You will learn history and glimpse what the future of thought might hold. You will explore big questions about the nature of the universe and discover that small questions have big implications. You will not be afraid of new ideas, ideas that are contrary to yours. You will face them boldly, and you will be able to tear them apart. You will change your mind. You will change your mind again. And again. You will know the satisfaction of declaring QED at the end of a proof.

And if you have learned anything when you are through, you will stop yourself from telling total strangers at a bus stop just how wrong they are as they stand there bashing your chosen major. Instead you will smile to yourself and keep eating your sandwich.


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