An article in the New York Times reports that philosophy enrollment in the US is significantly up. In an age of overly early specialization and technocratic training purely instrumental to the job market, this is reassuring.
This said, I’m sure there are departments and courses that fit the profile of:
“People sitting under trees and talking about stupid stuff”
I suspect that the term “luxury major” means that if it’s not functional to the market place, it’s a luxury.
Barry Loewer, Rutgers department chairman, said that many students have double-majored in philosophy and psychology or economics, go on to become doctors, lawyers, writers, investment bankers and even commodities traders. There is absolutely nothing new in that – the City of London has many such people.
Frances Egan, at Rutgers, hits the nail on the head:
It has become harder for students to predict what specialties might be in demand in an uncertain economy, some may be more apt to choose their major based simply on what they find interesting. “Philosophy is a lot of fun,” said Professor Egan, who graduated with a philosophy degree in the tough economic times of the 1970s. “A lot of students are in it because they find it intellectually rewarding.”
What better reason for doing anything?
And then of course there is the dating game:
Jenna Schaal-O’Connor, a 20-year-old sophomore who is majoring in cognitive science and linguistics, said philosophy had other perks. She said she found many male philosophy majors interesting and sensitive.
“That whole deep existential torment,” she said. “It’s good for getting girlfriends.”