Is a Philosophy Major Worth Getting?

Of course, I’m biased since a philosophy major at UC Berkeley, even though I didn’t know it at the time, was my path to product management. But here’s my rationale:

  1. Philosophy is a bridge between science and the humanities, analogous to how product management is a bridge between many multidisciplinary functions (engineering, marketing, business strategy)
  2. Reading philosophy requires you to get deep inside the world of the philosopher. You must take great effort to understand the philosopher’s vocabulary and mental model, similar to how product managers need to understand the worlds of their users.
  3. Philosophy forces you to think extremely rigorously. You won’t get by with half-baked ideas. Subtle mistakes will make your argument fall apart. Such sharp thought is required when devising requirements for an application. I’ve found my courses in Philosophy of Logic to be especially relevant when communication formal system details.
  4. Reading philosophy, in a sense, is like reading code. Philosophers’ usage of words can be extremely technical. Often you have to read a paragraph dozens of times before it makes any sense. Sometimes, breaking through in your understanding of one phrase will unlock a deep new world of understanding and possibility.

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