A young philosopher writes:
I will be leading a Q&A session for our undergraduate philosophy majors who have professed interest in going to graduate school in philosophy. I feel that I must make them aware of the currently dismal job market in philosophy (which I am well acquainted with, having just gotten my PhD from [a top program] and having seen first hand how hard it is for even [for graduates of top programs] to land TT jobs right now).
I imagine that after hearing this, some students will decide against philosophy graduate school, and will ask me about good alternative career paths for philosophy majors. Unfortunately, this is something that I know absolutely nothing about.
I have searched your blog and have found information about alternative career paths for PhD students; advice for undergraduates applying to PhD programs in philosophy; etc; but as far as I can tell nothing on this specific question:
What are good career paths for undergraduate philosophy majors, alternative to philosophy graduate school?
I'll open this for comments and links from readers (including, e.g., links to departmental webpages that address this topic or amalgamate other links). I'll just comment on one frequent road that philosophy majors go: law school. Training in philosophy serves most students quite well in law school, since they arrive used to the idea that in reading a text you are supposed to engage it dialectically, to ask whether its arguments are any good, and to consider counter-arguments. On the other hand, one should have no illusions about how studying law is different than studying philosophy: first, because arguments from authority are not fallacious in law, but instead are required; and second, the authorities constrain the parameters of any argument, so often the most intriguing line of philosophical argument will be foreclosed by a statute or binding precedent that settles the matter. That being said, a lot of law school emphasizes the dialectical and discursive skills that are also emphasized in the study of philosophy, and many substantive areas of law (criminal law, torts, evidence, intellectual property) raise recognizably philosophical questions. On the other hand, work as a lawyer can vary quite a bit--while, for example, appellate litigation requires many of those skills, trial work demands theatrical and rhetorical skill. And many lawyers almost never go to court at all: they negotiate contracts, they solve regulatory problems for hospitals, they analyze the tax implications of a propose business merger, and so on.
Other ideas from readers on "good career paths for undergraduate philosophy majors"?