Philosophers and Welders

John Corvino, Chair of Wayne State’s Philosophy Department, wrote a piece in Thursday’s Detroit Free Press on why Marco Rubio was wrong when he said “we need more welders and less philosophers.” Professor Corvino joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today, to discuss the benefits of being a philosophy major as well as the stereotypes the profession faces. 

Rubio’s Remarks:  Professor Corvino describes the broad skills that are “useful in all kinds of professions” that a philosophy education provides.  He says, ”I agree with Rubio that we need to have more opportunities for people to have vocational training and the last thing I want to do is ding manual labor, but let’s not make that point while pushing these myths about philosophy.” 

Value of Philosophy: Contrary to Rubio’s claim “welders make more money than philosophers,” Corvino says the mid career salary for philosophy majors is actually about $81,000. He adds that inherent value should not be based upon how much money an individual makes; instead, it should be about what will create a meaningful life. He adds that even if welders made more money on average, it does not imply that there is more of a market or demand for those people. 

Value of Education: Henderson brings up an important problem facing colleges today — the devaluation of education for the sake of learning. He explains that this problem occurs as more and more college students make income-driven decisions while choosing a major. Corvino jokes, “I couldn’t get into welding school…. and then I found out how much philosophers make.” 

To hear the entire conversation, please click the audio link above: 

Image credit: Michael Hayball

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