A Philosophy Degree: What’s it even worth?

As a result of the recent calamitous finalisation of Brexit, I was sprung with the surprise that my presence at uni will set me back an additional €1500 a year, something which was never mentioned before.

It’s an addition to the misery and confusion Brexit has caused, no doubt, however it is also food for thought. Before, my degree cost as much as my mere outgoings for living. Now, there’s a real price tag on it.

The reason why I picked philosophy in the first place was for my interest in it, and I decided to study it in German-speaking country as my other primary passion is learning German – so the ideal solution was to combine the two, hence I now live in Vienna with the intention of beginning a philosophy degree in March.

Is the coffee house the modern academic battlefield as it was 100 years ago?

The lack of direct job options after completion of a bachelors in philosophy has always been clear to me – that always was, and remains, utterly irrelevant. I’ve decided to spend my formative years doing something which genuinely interests me.

Yet the question remains hanging overhead: Where’s the money going to come from? Will I even be able to recoup the €4500 which the degree will ultimately cost me?

I would be lying if I said this didn’t pull my entire decision in to question. I can begin training as a train driver, in Austria too, from November 2021 – thats my back up. So if philosophy doesn’t take for me, I only have to endure one semester.

However that would never be my intention. It seems to many like trying to fit a square through a circular hole, monetising philosophy, but is it possible? I’d certainly like to know.

I know of a number of European national TV shows where philosophers are regularly given the spotlight. Sternstunde in Switzerland and Streetphilosophy in Germany (note: both German-speaking), to name but two of my personal favourites. It seems like a select few still make money in the conventional sense.

My mind darts immediately to 50-100 years ago, perhaps the golden age of Philosophy. Camus, de Beauvoir and Sartre in France; Russell, Berlin, (partly) Wittgenstein in the UK; the list could go on indefinitely. At this time philosophers wandered the streets, holding discussions in coffee houses and gaining caché. They wrote books too, a fact which we can’t let ourselves forget nowadays.

Can this golden age ever be resurrected? My spirits were lifted today when I received a comment on a previous blog post. I haven’t published a blog post or advertised my blog in 2021 so far, yet someone found my blog. I’m not sure how, but firstly to find it and then to click on it must demonstrate some sort of basic interest.

I deliberated over new years whether to alter my blog to something with wider appeal, something more likely to pick up steam in todays setting. I also frequently call on the saying “There’s a reason why all the photos of famous Philosophers are of old men: It takes a lifetime to do Philosophy.”

In the grand scheme of things, I do not yet feel qualified to write about philosophy – but in truth this is admitting defeat. That’s faltering on the very same hurdle I want to advocate the circumnavigation of. Why does this grand academic barrier stand in the way? Why should it?

It, of course, shouldn’t. The question still remains for me to answer what I want to write about. I don’t want to fabricate philosophy, nor do I want to sell myself out to lifestyle blogging. It would be easier, sure, but far less rewarding (although maybe in a monetary sense).

If you are the person who today subscribed to my blog, who’s name begins with M., I very much thank you for your comment and message. You spurred me to write this post and not give up on a philosophical route, at least not entirely.

The correct path is something which, as yet, I have no clue of. Do I read, write, live, and breathe philosophy – and consequently limit the potential readership? Or do I work for the creative solution, something which combines philosophy in a form worthy enough for academic pondering and discussion, while also remaining accessible?

Diese Frage lässt sich in der Zukunft beantworten. That is to say, this question will be answered in the future.

All the best everyone, and stick around. There’s more to come.

1 Comment

  1. Thank you I really enjoyed your post.
    My main thought from it was – were you expecting a career from philosophy? As you say there isn’t much to choose from but I don’t think that is the point. I worked in HR for many years and my boss had a degree in fine art. Not much use in HR we may think and I put that to her . She explained to me that what it showed a potential employer is that she is capable of being taught and her grade reflects what she was capable of producing with the learning she was given.


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