Philosophy versus Classics majors

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nbafan135
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Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby nbafan135 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:22 am

Which of these undergraduate majors would better prepare someone for the workload in law school? And if anyone has specific advice from their own experience, that would be great.

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servinDizzert
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby servinDizzert » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:31 am

Apparently PHL has one of the highest avg lsat scores amongst majors. I think only engineering and physics is ahead.

158 is the avg if I can recall

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homestyle28
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby homestyle28 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:40 am

In my experience Phil is your better option. Classics forces you to learn Greek and Latin not particularly needed legal skills. Philosophy in an analytic dept. will force you to learn logic and reasoning skills. But I have an MA in phil and am biased. If your school emphasizes existentialism then it's a bit of a toss up.

nbafan135
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby nbafan135 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:54 am

yeah i know phil majors do great on the lsats on average but i'm wondering more for all the work one does in law school.

and alright thanks homestlye though I'd love to hear what classics majors think about this

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Cosmo Kramer
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby Cosmo Kramer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:56 am

Philosophy ftw. strictly logic. despite popular belief, no flowery language allowed. If every word isn't descriptively and/or grammatically necessary and your argument isn't logically sound then your paper sucks. Definitely hones your "attention to detail" skills because every word in your term paper is a vital detail.

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billyez
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby billyez » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:00 am

Yeah, not to be a jerk, but is anyone who's posted in response to this inquiry in law school yet? It would actually be better for someone who knows what the work load comprises to reply back.

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Cosmo Kramer
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby Cosmo Kramer » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:07 am


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Adjudicator
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby Adjudicator » Wed Jul 28, 2010 1:56 am

Philosophy major here. I can't think of any major that would have prepared me better. I had a leg up on the LSAT already because I took two classes on logic and I can spot bad arguments miles away. I have done more persuasive writing and critical reading than almost anybody.

I don't give a crap about Hegel, Kant, John Locke, or really most classic philosophers. A few of the Greeks are interesting.

But the real value of the major was the practice I got on reading, writing, and analytical thinking.

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MTal
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby MTal » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:05 am

You're better off majoring in either masturbation, gluttony, playing video games all day until it's time to go to work, and smoking weed, fucking, then listening to old time blues for a few hours, then doing it all over again until it's 2 in the morning and you are hungry but there is nothing open so you go down with the gf to wal-mart for a few hours to get some food, then come back, smoke some more weed, fuck some more, then pass out at 5:00 am on the couch in your living room because you're too lazy to take a shower and go to bed.

09042014
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby 09042014 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:10 am

MTal wrote:You're better off majoring in either masturbation, gluttony, playing video games all day until it's time to go to work, and smoking weed, fucking, then listening to old time blues for a few hours, then doing it all over again until it's 2 in the morning and you are hungry but there is nothing open so you go down with the gf to wal-mart for a few hours to get some food, then come back, smoke some more weed, fuck some more, then pass out at 5:00 am on the couch in your living room because you're too lazy to take a shower and go to bed.


Yea he said philosophy bro?

hellokitty
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby hellokitty » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:11 am

MTal wrote:You're better off majoring in either masturbation, gluttony, playing video games all day until it's time to go to work, and smoking weed, fucking, then listening to old time blues for a few hours, then doing it all over again until it's 2 in the morning and you are hungry but there is nothing open so you go down with the gf to wal-mart for a few hours to get some food, then come back, smoke some more weed, fuck some more, then pass out at 5:00 am on the couch in your living room because you're too lazy to take a shower and go to bed.

No wonder people think you're a jackass.

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Lawquacious
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby Lawquacious » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:41 am

LOL MTal, did you just share what you did last night? :lol:

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prezidentv8
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby prezidentv8 » Wed Jul 28, 2010 2:55 am

nbafan135 wrote:Which of these undergraduate majors would better prepare someone for the workload in law school? And if anyone has specific advice from their own experience, that would be great.



NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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MTal
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby MTal » Wed Jul 28, 2010 12:53 pm

Lawquacious wrote:LOL MTal, did you just share what you did last night? :lol:


Last night? This is how I spent my freshman/sophmore years, dude.

nbafan135
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby nbafan135 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:51 am

mtal- i hope you were describing what a major in philosophy is like, since it sounds pretty amazing

kmap
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby kmap » Thu Jul 29, 2010 12:55 am

All the things people in this thread are ascribing to the study of philosophy are equally applicable to classics, provided you're not doing some bullshit "classical civilization" major and are actually studying the ancient languages. Pure philology, if you're doing it correctly, is all about rigorous, evidence-backed analysis. That said, I haven't started law school yet, so I don't know if it'll help me. If nothing else, it taught me good study habits, which I think is half the battle.

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1ferret!
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby 1ferret! » Thu Jul 29, 2010 2:45 am

First off, you need to be in a department that does analytic philosophy rather than continental philosophy. That said, if you have a rigorous program, then it will probably be the best training you can do. This is especially true of the LSAT but does help a lot with the law school workload. It helps most with reading comprehension, the ability to quickly read through something once, pick out the arguments and be able to understand them helps when you are trying to plow through 70 pages in a case book.
As far as the formal logic stuff, it over prepares you for legal analysis. Most legal analysis involves simple conditionals, and over analysis isnt generally appreciated except for perhaps in con law. The law is the law, your gonna have to apply what the law is on a test, not what it should be, again with the caveat that you may have a professor who emphasizes policy more than others.

Don't know about the classics prep, only know one guy who majored in it and he does well FWIW.

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macattaq
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby macattaq » Thu Jul 29, 2010 3:31 am

I am a 2L, and I majored in Classics. I also took some philosophy classes as an undergrad. I'm probably not uniquely qualified to answer this question, but I'll take a shot.

As far as what some people have said, yes, philosophy probably helps you in terms of logical reasoning. If you're thinking in terms of the LSAT, and only in terms of the LSAT, then this is pretty helpful. You will encounter some basic ethics issues, largely stemming from Mill's utilitarianism. But these are easily learned, and you will almost certainly never be tested on ethical reasoning. It could help you to be able to point out how, as a matter of policy, a decision that emphasizes the maximizing of "happiness" may be better. But that might only get you an additional point or two on a test.

Classics, I think, has helped me significantly in terms of law school. While philosophy marginally helped me, at least so far as I can tell, Classics has helped me much more. While I learned both Attic Greek and Classical Latin, it is what those authors said, and how they said it that has helped me. Reading Caesar or Cicero, Aristophanes or Plato, has helped me to hone my own rhetorical style. This comes in handy both when writing exams, and when engaging in mock trial (and soon, moot court). There are many rhetorical devices that can be learned, which you can take and blend into your own style of persuasive reasoning (I highly recommend Cicero, for an example of this).

At the same time, I learned how to write essays that use multiple and often conflicting sources in order to illustrate a point. This is much of what you will do in law school. You will either distinguish a case from your facts, or you will analogize it. I find that many of my classmates struggle when it comes time to write memos for legal writing, or exams. Often, their complaints seem to center around a lack of knowing how to write well. Having had extensive practice in persuasive writing via a degree in Classics, has, I think, given me a bit of an edge over many of my classmates. Granted, philosophy will probably help you develop this skill. However, I don't attribute my development of it to the philosophy classes I took.

Most importantly, Classics is much more than just learning how to read "dead" languages. Much of it is analysis of texts. You learn to place the texts within their sociological, cultural, economic, and political spheres. This is, perhaps, the most important skill I acquired in college. Being able to place the case you are reading in its proper context is, in my opinion, invaluable. Being able to do this puts you in a place to anticipate not only the policy reasoning of the court, but the implications for the future. It also enables you to compare similar cases, illustrating the same point, and to see layers that might not have been possible otherwise. When you make arguments on an exam then, you will find yourself scoring extra points by placing the issues in their proper social context. This synthesis is invaluable not only in law school, but in terms of just being able to see daily events for what they are.

On exams, you will find yourself having to resolve what Getting to Maybe refers to as forks using policy. I don't think that taking philosophy classes assisted me with being able to do this. However, I do think that Classics did.

On the other hand, I find myself often wishing that I had done a dual degree. I think that the skills learned in these areas complement each other. By using the logic skills gained from philosophy (arguably, these were honed just from doing math), while also using more broad analytical reasoning as learned from Classics, I have found myself with a good set of skills to use in law school.

One last point. Outside of academia, undergrad and law school included, I think philosophy will probably prepare you more for purely logical analysis. I'll gladly concede that. But, I think that Classics, on the whole, has given me a broader sense of perspective. My perspective as to who we are and how our culture came to be is much broader than it was before. My understanding of the events that occurred two thousand years ago has helped me see how we have arrived where we are at this point in history. I doubt that this is something that can be gained from studying philosophy, but I suppose anything is possible.
------

TL;DR:
Both philosophy and Classics will give you beneficial analytical skills. I believe Classics will help you more, but ultimately, it depends on what you want out of your degree in relation to both academic pursuits as well as life enrichment.

GettingReady2010
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby GettingReady2010 » Thu Jul 29, 2010 11:11 pm

servinDizzert wrote:Apparently PHL has one of the highest avg lsat scores amongst majors. I think only engineering and physics is ahead.

158 is the avg if I can recall


Yes, but I doubt people score well because they took PHL, but rather that major attracts intelligent people. I think people who struggle academically are far less likely to major in PHL, physics, and the like.

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MTal
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby MTal » Fri Jul 30, 2010 1:38 pm

nbafan135 wrote:mtal- i hope you were describing what a major in philosophy is like, since it sounds pretty amazing


Man, that was a truly epic post of mine, I can't believe more people didn't catch on to it.

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SullaFelix
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby SullaFelix » Fri Jul 30, 2010 2:31 pm

macattaq wrote:I am a 2L, and I majored in Classics. I also took some philosophy classes as an undergrad. I'm probably not uniquely qualified to answer this question, but I'll take a shot.

As far as what some people have said, yes, philosophy probably helps you in terms of logical reasoning. If you're thinking in terms of the LSAT, and only in terms of the LSAT, then this is pretty helpful. You will encounter some basic ethics issues, largely stemming from Mill's utilitarianism. But these are easily learned, and you will almost certainly never be tested on ethical reasoning. It could help you to be able to point out how, as a matter of policy, a decision that emphasizes the maximizing of "happiness" may be better. But that might only get you an additional point or two on a test.

Classics, I think, has helped me significantly in terms of law school. While philosophy marginally helped me, at least so far as I can tell, Classics has helped me much more. While I learned both Attic Greek and Classical Latin, it is what those authors said, and how they said it that has helped me. Reading Caesar or Cicero, Aristophanes or Plato, has helped me to hone my own rhetorical style. This comes in handy both when writing exams, and when engaging in mock trial (and soon, moot court). There are many rhetorical devices that can be learned, which you can take and blend into your own style of persuasive reasoning (I highly recommend Cicero, for an example of this).

At the same time, I learned how to write essays that use multiple and often conflicting sources in order to illustrate a point. This is much of what you will do in law school. You will either distinguish a case from your facts, or you will analogize it. I find that many of my classmates struggle when it comes time to write memos for legal writing, or exams. Often, their complaints seem to center around a lack of knowing how to write well. Having had extensive practice in persuasive writing via a degree in Classics, has, I think, given me a bit of an edge over many of my classmates. Granted, philosophy will probably help you develop this skill. However, I don't attribute my development of it to the philosophy classes I took.

Most importantly, Classics is much more than just learning how to read "dead" languages. Much of it is analysis of texts. You learn to place the texts within their sociological, cultural, economic, and political spheres. This is, perhaps, the most important skill I acquired in college. Being able to place the case you are reading in its proper context is, in my opinion, invaluable. Being able to do this puts you in a place to anticipate not only the policy reasoning of the court, but the implications for the future. It also enables you to compare similar cases, illustrating the same point, and to see layers that might not have been possible otherwise. When you make arguments on an exam then, you will find yourself scoring extra points by placing the issues in their proper social context. This synthesis is invaluable not only in law school, but in terms of just being able to see daily events for what they are.

On exams, you will find yourself having to resolve what Getting to Maybe refers to as forks using policy. I don't think that taking philosophy classes assisted me with being able to do this. However, I do think that Classics did.

On the other hand, I find myself often wishing that I had done a dual degree. I think that the skills learned in these areas complement each other. By using the logic skills gained from philosophy (arguably, these were honed just from doing math), while also using more broad analytical reasoning as learned from Classics, I have found myself with a good set of skills to use in law school.

One last point. Outside of academia, undergrad and law school included, I think philosophy will probably prepare you more for purely logical analysis. I'll gladly concede that. But, I think that Classics, on the whole, has given me a broader sense of perspective. My perspective as to who we are and how our culture came to be is much broader than it was before. My understanding of the events that occurred two thousand years ago has helped me see how we have arrived where we are at this point in history. I doubt that this is something that can be gained from studying philosophy, but I suppose anything is possible.
------

TL;DR:
Both philosophy and Classics will give you beneficial analytical skills. I believe Classics will help you more, but ultimately, it depends on what you want out of your degree in relation to both academic pursuits as well as life enrichment.


What he said.

nbafan135
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Re: Philosophy versus Classics majors

Postby nbafan135 » Fri Jul 30, 2010 8:15 pm

thank you macattaq for probably the best response ever. that helped so much.




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