Ask anyone why they study philosophy - in or out of the university - and you'll get many different answers. After all, these are people who study philosophy you're asking! It's clear that increasing numbers of undergraduates are pursuing Philosophy degrees (from the New York Times, 2008), and that there are many different reasons: Some people emphasize the kinds of skills you develop through studying philosophy. Some emphasize the ways a Philosophy major might relate to one's career. Some give a mix of both.
American Philosophical Association’s pamphlet “The Philosophy Major” argues that: “The study of philosophy serves to develop intellectual abilities important for life as a whole, beyond the knowledge and skills required for any particular profession. Properly pursued, it enhances analytical, critical and interpretive capacities that are applicable to any subject-matter, and in any human context. It cultivates the capacities and appetite for self-expression and reflection, for exchange and debate of ideas, for life-long learning, and for dealing with problems for which there are no easy answers. It also helps to prepare one for the tasks of citizenship.Participation in political and community affairs today is all too often insufficiently informed, manipulable and vulnerable to demagoguery. A good philosophical education enhances the capacity to participate responsibly and intelligently in public life.”