Jeffery S. Richardson C'84
I have taken this time out of my harried existence to write this testimonial because I feel it is important to share with you the benefits of studying philosophy. I could recommend philosophy just because it is an extremely interesting subject, but that is just the cherry on the top. I remember how I came to that major. I knew that I wanted to go to Law School, and had been trying to find a major that would prepare me for the legal profession. I had chosen English as my major, and had purchased the tower of books needed for my first semester concentrating in English. After perusing my books, I chanced upon a recently declared philosophy major who had just purchased his books. After examining his books, I realized that I would rather study his subjects than mine.
Besides the fact that English is a good foundation for legal studies, I had chosen English because of my love for poetry. However though I loved enjoying these works for myself, I did not enjoy analyzing them. It was like loving my dog, but not being interested in dissecting one. On the other hand, Philosophy directly addressed life's most important and interesting questions: what do we know of existence, of life, of the human condition, of love and even of God? While I had little interest in discussing how a beautiful passage develops a plot line, I loved discussing whether we could prove the existence of the table around which we all sat.
While I was enjoying myself, I also gained knowledge and skills that help me every day, not only in the practice of law, but in life in general. Philosophy is an excellent preparation for legal studies because it teaches you critical thinking, logical analysis and the art of persuasive argument. For this same reason, it is an excellent preparation for anything that requires thought or expression. Moreover, these skills are very scarce in the general population, and therefore, they provide a significant advantage to those capable therein.
In addition to these reasons, I have found that Philosophy has helped me through the exposure to the history of man's investigation of life's most important questions. The diligent student of Philosophy gains a wealth of knowledge that can protect him from past mistakes, produce a better understanding of the present and provide a guidepost for progress. For these reasons, I believe that being a Philosophy Major has made an important contribution to my career and my life, and I recommend it to you.