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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello my fellow INTP brethren,

I have returned from my long Exodus from PerC. As the title suggests I request help from fellow INTPs as to the proper path I should take in college. Specifically I am referring to the question of what I should major in. I am nearly certain I will not be the only individual on this forum who has pondered this question. Anyway I am currently considering two completely different majors which shall be stated below.

The first of the two options is a bachelors in philosophy, something many of the people on the forum may be fond of. I am considering this major for typical INTP reasons. I find philosophy to be one of the most INTP oriented majors as it focuses on exactly what many of us find deeply interesting. The Caveat to choosing such a major however, exists in the uncertainty of what to do post-college. I will most likely also come under fire for choosing such a degree. (The university that I would be going to is considered to have one of the best philosophy programs in the country)

An alternative I have considered is a degree in Environmental Policy, Institutions, and behaviors (Focuses on a mix of environmental science, and management as I understand it). Though I do not think this will be as interesting as the previous major, it is in my opinion probably still going to have some appeal to it. I will also be able to garner some sort of career through the acquisition of a bachelors degree which in a major bonus. Once again however I do not think that it shall be as interesting as the previous major.

When simplified it seems that there is a typical issue of passion vs. money. You're opinions are appreciated.
 

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I have always had this same question, and as such, never completed college. I didn't want to waste my time on something I wasn't sure I wanted to do. Instead, I am 6 years deep in a career attained outside of college. I do plan on taking a hiatus from work soon and going back to college, so I am interested in seeing some of the suggestions here. I also, would love to go in and study philosophy but agree that it may be a waste of a degree. Like you, it's the "passion vs. money" issue... Meh, who knows!

Looking forward to our brethren's responses!
 

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My response may seem odd to you, but I really don't see the point in worrying about money right now. You need to find a field that makes you happy. If you aren't happy you won't make much money because it will be incredibly apparent you aren't happy with the field. Bosses nowadays look for that a lot more than anything else.

Pick a college that seems alright. Not too good and not too bad. As long as its not a community one it really doesn't matter.

Pick some sort of major that has a majority of classes that you enjoy. Both pre-requisite and the main courses. Pick the major based solely on your fondness of the subject. Don't worry about money and don't worry about how INTP it makes you.

Try to practice that field outside of class and learn to like it. You will meet new people and get contacts. Also, your expensive piece of paper and debt is worth nothing to employers if you can't show that you actually like the field and can show work that you have done in it. For example, if you like Philosophy join a club, write about it etc., If you like programming make some programs or a game or whatever. Just do something.

Figure out what you are going to do with that major when you leave college. Don't stress out about it heavily. Go with whatever you find interesting and be open to all information as useful to you sometime down the line.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My response may seem odd to you, but I really don't see the point in worrying about money right now. You need to find a field that makes you happy. If you aren't happy you won't make much money because it will be incredibly apparent you aren't happy with the field. Bosses nowadays look for that a lot more than anything else.

Pick a college that seems alright. Not too good and not too bad. As long as its not a community one it really doesn't matter.

Pick some sort of major that has a majority of classes that you enjoy. Both pre-requisite and the main courses. Pick the major based solely on your fondness of the subject. Don't worry about money and don't worry about how INTP it makes you.

Try to practice that field outside of class and learn to like it. You will meet new people and get contacts. Also, your expensive piece of paper and debt is worth nothing to employers if you can't show that you actually like the field and can show work that you have done in it. For example, if you like Philosophy join a club, write about it etc., If you like programming make some programs or a game or whatever. Just do something.

Figure out what you are going to do with that major when you leave college. Don't stress out about it heavily. Go with whatever you find interesting and be open to all information as useful to you sometime down the line.
I comprehend the angle you are coming from. What you're suggesting is that if you follow what you have a passion for, a lot of all the other pieces will fall into place. This may very well be true especially if you try to apply what you are learning as you stated in paragraph four. The only issue with that perspective is that in a major such as philosophy you are studying something that has the smallest amount of direct vocational skills (perhaps there are one or two that top it). I can not possibly comprehend as to why an employer would ever choose someone with such a major when they can find someone who appears much more qualified, and has directly studied to focus on said position. On the other hand perhaps I simply have a faulty view that everyone is competing with one another.
 

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I comprehend the angle you are coming from. What you're suggesting is that if you follow what you have a passion for, a lot of all the other pieces will fall into place. This may very well be true especially if you try to apply what you are learning as you stated in paragraph four. The only issue with that perspective is that in a major such as philosophy you are studying something that has the smallest amount of direct vocational skills (perhaps there are one or two that top it). I can not possibly comprehend as to why an employer would ever choose someone with such a major when they can find someone who appears much more qualified, and has directly studied to focus on said position. On the other hand perhaps I simply have a faulty view that everyone is competing with one another.
Philosophy taught at my college is usually applied/practical.

I also know many professors and counselors who majored in it.

If you have a degree in Philosophy you aren't exactly going to be working for employers that care much about what college you went to or how qualified your degree makes you for their openings. They would care more about what you did with it than anything. I could easily see Philosophy getting you a job in many different fields so long as you at least showed competence in that particular field with outside activities.
 

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I comprehend the angle you are coming from. What you're suggesting is that if you follow what you have a passion for, a lot of all the other pieces will fall into place. This may very well be true especially if you try to apply what you are learning as you stated in paragraph four. The only issue with that perspective is that in a major such as philosophy you are studying something that has the smallest amount of direct vocational skills (perhaps there are one or two that top it). I can not possibly comprehend as to why an employer would ever choose someone with such a major when they can find someone who appears much more qualified, and has directly studied to focus on said position. On the other hand perhaps I simply have a faulty view that everyone is competing with one another.
In human resources economics, there is a division between general and specialized knowledge. General knowledge increases your salary no matter where you go. If you are developed enough in your ability to handle any situation, you command a higher salary. Specialized knowledge grants you a position of scarcity, which allows you to command a higher salary in a small field. Of course having both is optimal, but the less defined path is not always the lesser one. General knowledge probably offers you more utility than does sticking yourself in a corner.

The difference is the level of uncertainty. Is all you want the ability to bury your head into focused analysis? Or do you want more options than a specialized field like science can bring?

Of course, that's not the whole story, since generally being a science-oriented person can give you a lot of the skills that show as competence in any field, really. Science does seem to be the optimal choice: it is more in demand than philosophy and isn't too confining.

This is the kind of analysis picking my major boiled down to. I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I just picked something that was model-oriented and open-ended, and it's worked somewhat well so far. I didn't have the grades for science, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
In human resources economics, there is a division between general and specialized knowledge. General knowledge increases your salary no matter where you go. If you are developed enough in your ability to handle any situation, you command a higher salary. Specialized knowledge grants you a position of scarcity, which allows you to command a higher salary in a small field. Of course having both is optimal, but the less defined path is not always the lesser one. General knowledge probably offers you more utility than does sticking yourself in a corner.

The difference is the level of uncertainty. Is all you want the ability to bury your head into focused analysis? Or do you want more options than a specialized field like science can bring?

Of course, that's not the whole story, since generally being a science-oriented person can give you a lot of the skills that show as competence in any field, really. Science does seem to be the optimal choice: it is more in demand than philosophy and isn't too confining.

This is the kind of analysis picking my major boiled down to. I didn't know what I wanted to do, so I just picked something that was model-oriented and open-ended, and it's worked somewhat well so far. I didn't have the grades for science, though.
I'm not certain as to whether or not I agree with your concept of general knowledge having more utility. Once one has entered into a specialized field they essentially have a vocation as well as skills that they can use for that vocation. For example if we look back to a rather extreme version of this we see the apprenticeship systems that once existed throughout Europe, and early American history. Once an apprenticeship was completed one would almost always be guaranteed with a steady future. This is because they spent years mastering their craft so they could make a vocation out of it. In mastering it they were guaranteed utility (i'm generalizing, how ironic). The drawback to this was a lack of career mobility. This contrast heavily to the idea of general knowledge which does not equip you with any direct skills, however does offer mobility. I believe that in this day and age, we are far better off choosing a career in specialization which provides better marketability ( thus utility)as oppose to a generalized career paths which though offering marketability, offers significantly less. Of course the above is merely the financial utility of such paths as opposed to the personal satisfaction which is much harder to debate.
 

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I'm not certain as to whether or not I agree with your concept of general knowledge having more utility. Once one has entered into a specialized field they essentially have a vocation as well as skills that they can use for that vocation. For example if we look back to a rather extreme version of this we see the apprenticeship systems that once existed throughout Europe, and early American history. Once an apprenticeship was completed one would almost always be guaranteed with a steady future. This is because they spent years mastering their craft so they could make a vocation out of it. In mastering it they were guaranteed utility (i'm generalizing, how ironic). The drawback to this was a lack of career mobility. This contrast heavily to the idea of general knowledge which does not equip you with any direct skills, however does offer mobility. I believe that in this day and age, we are far better off choosing a career in specialization which provides better marketability ( thus utility)as oppose to a generalized career paths which though offering marketability, offers significantly less. Of course the above is merely the financial utility of such paths as opposed to the personal satisfaction which is much harder to debate.
Much of it is selling yourself, anyway. And you do have a point. Generalized knowledge is usually used to illustrate reasons for getting an MBA over a Master's in a specific sector of business.

It depends on what you see yourself doing. Ask yourself what is really fun to you, what may be hard to start, but offers the longest-term satisfaction. If you simply want a steady career with few risks, specialized knowledge IS the way to go. But you will never* convince me that a degree giving you the ability to practice your deep thinking in a way that aligns with social codification(due to the professors) gives you less options.

Science is a good middle ground of the two, I think. Environmental science is probably your best choice because it doesn't really force you to sacrifice too much of either, even though lab procedures(if the field generally conducts lab instead of natural experiments) are quite restrictive and probably dull. You don't have to be a lab guy solely, you could teach, write, or practice the implementation of the science. Then there's always field jobs...

*=might be able to
 

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How long are you willing to stay in school?
In my opinion, it's kind of foolish (in a practical sense) to get a philosophy degree unless you plan on getting your PhD in philosophy (if you actually want a career related to philosophy and not just a job you can get with any bachelor's degree), going to law school, or double majoring in something that will produce income but won't make you hate yourself (like Environmental Policy).

I've had this same dilemma and simply decided to double-major. While my majors don't have overlap, neither of them require a ton of course work.

Disclaimer: I am still a student and don't know crap about the real world besides what other people have told me.
 

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Honestly I believe philosophy is an utter non-subject.

Anybody can philosophise, as long as they have ample intelligence and a moral dilemma to apply it to.

I highly recommend mathematics. It's dressed up as this ugly subject for geeks, but for the INTP mind it's actually quite beautiful. You won't believe how much stuff can be logically expressed through numbers, and can be properly applied to everyday life.

Weather systems are mathematical. Engineering and physics is of course mathematical. Social systems can be explained mathematically. Economies are mathematical - even ones where you don't use money. It's actually amazing.

I hated maths at school. It was the subject I dreaded and considered to be boring, but I was actually quite good at it. After several years of utter confusion in my life, I decided to just 'do what I'm good at', picked up a maths book, taught myself for a year, and now I love it, and am starting a degree in theoretical physics in a couple of weeks (Physics is basically applied maths - it's considered the closest thing to a maths degree without actually doing a maths degree).

Maths is great.

Y'know when you 'have a feeling' about something, but you can't ever prove it 100%. Well, with maths you can see perfect logic in everything, and prove it, hence your life feels more complete everyday. It's quite euphoric, actually, in my opinion. The drive of the INTP is logical purity, after all.

Or you can go the arty way and choose something where everything you do or say is open to the opinion of the uninformed masses, and you end up surrounded by pseudo-intellects who think they can 'feel' what you wanted to say, while you, meanwhile, slowly die inside at how misunderstood you are.
 

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Honestly I believe philosophy is an utter non-subject.

Anybody can philosophise, as long as they have ample intelligence and a moral dilemma to apply it to.

I highly recommend mathematics. It's dressed up as this ugly subject for geeks, but for the INTP mind it's actually quite beautiful. You won't believe how much stuff can be logically expressed through numbers, and can be properly applied to everyday life.

Weather systems are mathematical. Engineering and physics is of course mathematical. Social systems can be explained mathematically. Economies are mathematical - even ones where you don't use money. It's actually amazing.

I hated maths at school. It was the subject I dreaded and considered to be boring, but I was actually quite good at it. After several years of utter confusion in my life, I decided to just 'do what I'm good at', picked up a maths book, taught myself for a year, and now I love it, and am starting a degree in theoretical physics in a couple of weeks (Physics is basically applied maths - it's considered the closest thing to a maths degree without actually doing a maths degree).

Maths is great.

Y'know when you 'have a feeling' about something, but you can't ever prove it 100%. Well, with maths you can see perfect logic in everything, and prove it, hence your life feels more complete everyday. It's quite euphoric, actually, in my opinion. The drive of the INTP is logical purity, after all.

Or you can go the arty way and choose something where everything you do or say is open to the opinion of the uninformed masses, and you end up surrounded by pseudo-intellects who think they can 'feel' what you wanted to say, while you, meanwhile, slowly die inside at how misunderstood you are.
Why should he or anyone for that matter care so much how he is perceived? You seem to be very obsessed with that. If he does well in his field, whatever it is, he will be respected and admired by those also in his field or those who respect his field and he won't be admired by everyone else. This is true for any field. Math, Biology, Journalism, Philosophy etc.,

Why should someone care if they are, "misunderstood" or not? Philosophers have better things to worry about than that. So do Mathematicians.

If you are going into a field just for money or just for image you are going into it for the wrong reasons. As sappy as it sounds, follow your passions and ignore everyone that gets in your way @The Perspectivist. Don't listen to people like this guy here.
 

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Why should he or anyone for that matter care so much how he is perceived? You seem to be very obsessed with that. If he does well in his field, whatever it is, he will be respected and admired by those also in his field or those who respect his field and he won't be admired by everyone else. This is true for any field. Math, Biology, Journalism, Philosophy etc.,

Why should someone care if they are, "misunderstood" or not? Philosophers have better things to worry about than that. So do Mathematicians.

If you are going into a field just for money or just for image you are going into it for the wrong reasons. As sappy as it sounds, follow your passions and ignore everyone that gets in your way. Don't listen to people like this guy here.
Fuck's sake, I didn't say my idea was best, it was just a recommendation.

I presume the only bits that riled you were the anti-philosophy sentence at the start and the anti-art sentence at the end.

Of course someone should care about how they're perceived. An INTP of all people would care most about this. If somebody can't understand the ideas being conveyed, it's a heartbreaking sign of a lack of inability for all involved - the creator and viewer alike.

And it's just an opinion, what's wrong with that? The guy was asking for advice, after all. Don't go saying that the rest of my recommendations are completely worthless just because you personally don't agree with them. I say mathematical enquiry is a great line of work for the INTP because it is littered with 'Eureka' moments, whereas typically art is not. That's all.

And how can you tell the guy to 'follow his passions'. You have no idea what the guy's dreams are. Neither do I. Neither does he. That's why this thread was made.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm not just going for gold and glory with my pursuit of mathematics, like you seem to be suggesting. In my university application I actually wrote that I don't care what 'job' I get at the end of it, I just want to learn for for the joy of knowledge and understanding.

Hey, I have a prejudice towards art and philosophy and all that other stuff that anyone with an ounce of intelligence can do without training or study anyway. But you, too, have a clear prejudice towards my own thoughts. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

I just don't think my suggestions should be immediately discredited simply because you personally disagree.
 

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Fuck's sake, I didn't say my idea was best, it was just a recommendation.

I presume the only bits that riled you were the anti-philosophy sentence at the start and the anti-art sentence at the end.

Of course someone should care about how they're perceived. An INTP of all people would care most about this. If somebody can't understand the ideas being conveyed, it's a heartbreaking sign of a lack of inability for all involved - the creator and viewer alike.

And it's just an opinion, what's wrong with that? The guy was asking for advice, after all. Don't go saying that the rest of my recommendations are completely worthless just because you personally don't agree with them. I say mathematical enquiry is a great line of work for the INTP because it is littered with 'Eureka' moments, whereas typically art is not. That's all.

And how can you tell the guy to 'follow his passions'. You have no idea what the guy's dreams are. Neither do I. Neither does he. That's why this thread was made.

If it makes you feel any better, I'm not just going for gold and glory with my pursuit of mathematics, like you seem to be suggesting. In my university application I actually wrote that I don't care what 'job' I get at the end of it, I just want to learn for for the joy of knowledge and understanding.

Hey, I have a prejudice towards art and philosophy and all that other stuff that anyone with an ounce of intelligence can do without training or study anyway. But you, too, have a clear prejudice towards my own thoughts. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.

I just don't think my suggestions should be immediately discredited simply because you personally disagree.
I don't "personally disagree", I think you are an idiot and are trying to lead someone astray.
 

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I don't "personally disagree", I think you are an idiot and are trying to lead someone astray.
Eh? That's a clear personal bias. I recommended mathematics, highlighted its global applications, and how the pursuit might positively relate to the inner workings of the INTP.

How is that idiotic or in any way an attempt to lead astray?!

I presume you're a strong advocate of philosophical pursuits. Sorry for giving you a bit of butthurt over your own personal choice of interest. Hey, my opinion is mine and your opinion is yours.

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OP, if philosophy greatly interests you then by all means go for it! Ignore my recommendations! It as, after all, only my personal opinion. And honestly I don't at all see what's wrong with what I said.

Just don't forget to be realistic, keep your options open. Accept that you have quite a high chance of stacking shelves in the future - of course there's nothing wrong with that, but consider the mental fulfilment of your daily life in the future.

Typically, where I'm from, old people always tell younger generations to 'pick up a trade' (electrician, builder, plumber, etc) - they think it's best for someone to be useful. Basically, don't forget that at some point you're going to end up thinking very hard about your value in society. If you can't provide anything of notable worth to the populace, you're gonna be left on the heap. This is the standard psychology of any community on any scale. Consider that you presumably live in a country where other people in previous generations have worked hard to afford you the luxury and liberty of being able to actively pursue such fruitless topics as art, philosophy, music and the likes. They're great and fulfilling pastimes and of course are thoroughly enjoyable, but they don't hold much in the way of utility. When a community goes through hard times, the first ones to die are the ones who nobody physically needs.

Follow your dreams, even if they aren't societally useful, but don't go crying anyone if society rejects you for being useless.

And I don't think that's a selfish or capitalistic opinion either. It's standard practice in any living species. Be useful or die.

Sorry but, 'philosophy because I enjoy it, fuck everything else', is one of the most hedonistic sentences to reverberate around these parts these days.
 

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Eh? That's a clear personal bias. I recommended mathematics, highlighted its global applications, and how the pursuit might positively relate to the inner workings of the INTP.

How is that idiotic or in any way an attempt to lead astray?!

I presume you're a strong advocate of philosophical pursuits. Sorry for giving you a bit of butthurt over your own personal choice of interest. Hey, my opinion is mine and your opinion is yours.

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OP, if philosophy greatly interests you then by all means go for it! Ignore my recommendations! It as, after all, only my personal opinion. And honestly I don't at all see what's wrong with what I said.

Just don't forget to be realistic, keep your options open. Accept that you have quite a high chance of stacking shelves in the future - of course there's nothing wrong with that, but consider the mental fulfilment of your daily life in the future.

Typically, where I'm from, old people always tell younger generations to 'pick up a trade' (electrician, builder, plumber, etc) - they think it's best for someone to be useful. Basically, don't forget that at some point you're going to end up thinking very hard about your value in society. If you can't provide anything of notable worth to the populace, you're gonna be left on the heap. This is the standard psychology of any community on any scale. Consider that you presumably live in a country where other people in previous generations have worked hard to afford you the luxury and liberty of being able to actively pursue such fruitless topics as art, philosophy, music and the likes. They're great and fulfilling pastimes and of course are thoroughly enjoyable, but they don't hold much in the way of utility. When a community goes through hard times, the first ones to die are the ones who nobody physically needs.

Follow your dreams, even if they aren't societally useful, but don't go crying anyone if society rejects you for being useless.

And I don't think that's a selfish or capitalistic opinion either. It's standard practice in any living species. Be useful or die.

Sorry but, 'philosophy because I enjoy it, fuck everything else', is one of the most hedonistic sentences to reverberate around these parts these days.
Im a strong advocate of pursuing anything and everything and making it work. Im also a strong advocate of doing it for one reason, yourself, and no other reason. Who gives a shit about the field or the money or what people think?

If he wanted to study worms that can turn into flying pigs and you made similar statements I would have done the same with my previous remarks.
 

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Im also a strong advocate of doing it for one reason, yourself, and no other reason. Who gives a shit about the field or the money or what people think?
As I said; Hedonistic luxury afforded by the chance of living in an affluent and prosperous society. Nothing wrong that it though. I was just personally saying, specifically, that lifestyles that fit into the general category of 'art' are largely a waste of human capacity, particularly at times of needed growth or maintenance.

Mainly I just don't understand what was wrong, or misleading, with my recommendation of mathematical pursuit as something fulfilling and enjoyable for the INTP mind.
 

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As I said; Hedonistic luxury afforded by the chance of living in an affluent and prosperous society. Nothing wrong that it though. I was just personally saying, specifically, that lifestyles that fit into the general category of 'art' are largely a waste of human capacity, particularly at times of needed growth or maintenance.

Mainly I just don't understand what was wrong, or misleading, with my recommendation of mathematical pursuit as something fulfilling and enjoyable for the INTP mind.
Its not what you say its how you say it.
 

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I was never sure what I wanted to do except Chemical Engineering. But since the Universities in my area offered every engineering except that, I wasn't sure what to do. In the end, I opted to major in Math or Physics because a degree in either can take me into any math related or technical field. (whether it be engineering or banking). So I am working on that.
 
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