(A nodeshell rescue.)

A surprisingly common phenomenon, given that Philosophy is the epitome of the Humanities, and many humanities students have a fear of science. However, there is at least one area of cross-over between the disciplines of computer science (which is, of course, not really the same thing as computer programming) and philosophy: logic. As far as I can tell, just about any institution of higher learning that awards degrees in philosophy will require those students to first complete a class in formal logic.

In the philosophy department at my school, there is an intense contempt for philosophy itself (this is usually a love-hate relationship, but occasionally simply a hate relationship), increasing both in intensity and commonality the further along the academic ladder one is. This is why I believe that the fact that very few philosophy majors do anything related to philosophy as a career is something that is not entirely against their will.

I can think of two primary reasons a person who gets a degree in philosophy would later go on to be a programmer:
  1. Philosophy students are smart. No, not all of them, and I'm not saying we're smarter than you, it's just that philosophy can be a very demanding discipline, and it requires a serious dedication to seriously difficult material. (Though I go to a mediocre university, I am reminded of the difficulty of philosophy everytime I take a class in any other department.) Programmers are smart, too. There are only so many smart people to go around, so there's gonna be some overlap. Smart people also often have eclectic interests.
  2. Philosophy offers no answers. There are no right answers. This can drive a person absolutely stark-raving mad. Programming doesn't offer answers as to the meaning of life, but it is concrete. It is structured. The goals are clear: efficiency, clean code, meeting users' needs, fulfilling a specific function. This can be an incredible relief to the rumination that the study of philosophy can provoke.


I know that when I'm done with philosophy, I plan to (try to) get a programming job.

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