BY KATIE CARLTON
There’s a stigma surrounding a philosophy degree saying that it’s impractical, but Drake University philosophy majors have been able to find practicality in their degrees both in and out of the classroom.
“In your daily life, philosophy helps you identify what you are disagreeing about and potentially resolve the disagreement or live with it,” philosophy major Josh Ladehoff said.
Philosophy professor David Roth said the philosophy courses at Drake provide opportunities to give students a broader perspective and challenge familiar perceptions.
Roth said students have the opportunity to apply these skills in out-of-class opportunities offered to them by the philosophy department.
“In connection with the comparison project, students have had the opportunity to work on the creation of a book and a video, and it really provides students the significant opportunity to have exchanges,” Roth said.
Philosophy major Kyle Cornell was given an opportunity by the philosophy department to showcase what he’s learned outside of class.
“I went to a conference that my professor helped me find where I got to present a political philosophy paper that I wrote for one of her classes, and I got to meet people and form connections,” Cornell said.
Ladehoff said the opportunities in his philosophy classes helped him to make better sense of the world around him.
“In the Series of Justice course, we read foundational texts of the past 50 years that have really shaped where we are today in thinking of justice and fairness and so on. We were able to see these perspectives being discussed outside in the world and how they were relevant to the world,” Ladehoff said.
Roth said he feels that philosophy classes help students to think about the larger academic enterprise because the courses bring other disciplines into conversation. Philosophy students may draw from history, sociology and science.
For both Ladehoff and Cornell, who are double majors, they are able to benefit from the interdisciplinary coursework. Ladehoff is a double major in politics and philosophy, while Cornell is a double major in creative writing and philosophy.
“I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good or interesting argument. I feel that I can provide interesting thoughts that professors are looking for in their upper classes,” Cornell said.
Roth said studying philosophy could help students that want to enter a variety of different fields after graduation like business or law.
He said some students are hesitant to major in philosophy because they are unsure of what to do with it following graduation, but he feels that a philosophy major can compliment another major that may be seen as more applicable.
Ladehoff said he plans to go to either law school or graduate school, while Cornell is interested in studying philosophy in graduate school.
“I think sometimes, looking into a college, that people or parents of people are caught between something that is valuable, but also something that is more than just to make money. I feel like I really found that in the philosophy program,” Cornell said.