Score thresholds for admission to philosophy at the country's universities continue to rise.
In order to gain a place on a philosophy course at the University of Oslo, 62.2 credits are now required for entry. Shows figures from Samordna registry.
The newly created bachelor's program “Philosophy, Politics and Economics” has already received a score of 64.9. This course is modeled on the University of Oxford, where it is called the 'Prime School'.
Philosophy studies have an enrollment rate almost as high as the ever-popular medical studies, with the average for all studies being 67.6 credits.
– I'm so excited about this. Especially for the enthusiasm we encounter among young people who want to use these important years to learn more about philosophy. It's really exciting, says Bjørn Torgrim Ramberg, head of the Philosophy Research Department at the University of Oslo.
It has been more than 40 years since Ramberg taught his first course in philosophy. He believes that training young people on the big questions is a great responsibility.
– It requires us to give students something that they feel is valuable. It's an investment, after all.
But the reason behind the increasing popularity of philosophy is not necessarily very encouraging.
Philosophers believe that real concerns such as war, climate change and artificial intelligence make people think more about fundamental questions.
– It's also about the times we live in, with a bit of a doomsday feel. We have frank discussions about high-flying things in public. It makes people think more, says Einar Doinger Bohn, professor of philosophy at Agder University.
Societal changes in the last ten years have contributed to more young people engaging in philosophy. Ramberg says they ask themselves questions about core value.
More important in professional life
Ramberg also believes that today's rapid technological development means that teaching philosophy has become more important when entering working life.
– The business leaders I talk to say that people can learn a lot on the job. The most important thing they look for is qualities that are difficult to learn. Analytical skills, ability to attack questions from both sides, and adaptability. Companies want such characteristics, Ramberg says.
He's backed by Bøhn, who also feels that companies want people who can “think with their souls.”
He says there are some surveys from the USA showing that philosophy students perform statistically better in a number of other professions.
Sold to Nietzsche
Boone has noticed the growing popularity of philosophy outside the classroom as well.
It has been at the top of the podcast charts several times with Their podcast About Nietzsche, Kierkegaard, and the Bible.
– Students have signed up for philosophy studies at Agder University because they listened to my audio files. It's completely unique,” Boone says.
When Nietzsche read with Christopher Shaw, the publisher sold the German philosopher's books.
-What I like most about podcasts is that they can interest people. It can make the listener want to read, study and write philosophy. He says it's the most beautiful thing ever.
An elegant way to poverty
The trend is not only Norwegian.
In prestigious American and English universities, philosophy stands out as one of the most popular fields of study. This is what Stephen Fry, who lectures at a number of universities, said when he was a guest on the podcast Dinosaur clock .
– Students who graduate with a master's or doctorate in ethics can earn millions instantly. The reason, Fry says, is that ethics have become extremely important for large companies.
He refers, among other things, to an American university magazine, which recently had a very descriptive title:
“Philosophy has become more than just an elegant path to poverty.”
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