How would you respond to people who say that a degree in philosophy is useless? originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
Philosophy had a formative influence on me. It taught me to break down complex issues, and think them through.
I think there are some parallels between philosophy and entrepreneurship. In philosophy, the goal is to examine certain logical transitions we make, and see if those transitions survive scrutiny. When thinking about a topic like free will, for example, we will make a number of assertions, and whizz from one assertion to the next. The goal is to slow your mind down, and try to spot possible problems with a transition. For example, you might be going through a transition (e.g. saying something like “free will is the ability to do otherwise”), and you might experience some kind of glitch with that transition. Something may not feel entirely right. At this point you should slow your mind down, and try to figure out why you are feeling that glitch. The glitch is a gift that your mind is giving you, signaling that something may not be right.
In entrepreneurship, the parallel is that we speed around our lives, and we acclimatize ourselves to the obstacles in our way. We do this so well that we often don’t consciously notice that they are obstacles. We just navigate our way around them. Your mind might register a tiny glitch at some obstacle, and part of being an entrepreneur is being able to slow down and consider the source of that glitch. Is there a problem right there, and is there a way of removing it?
In other words, I think that many philosophers spend time trying to slow their minds down, looking for problems in a logical train of thought. And in entrepreneurship, it’s also helpful to slow one’s mind down, to examine glitches in a practical train of activity.
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