Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

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HarvardHopeful93
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Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:04 pm

'Ello there chaps. I'd like to pick the brain real fast of the TLSer's. I'm a Political Science major right now, but I was considering taking a minor in Philosophy. Actually I guess that's irrelevant. Haha. My question is: is it wise to take philosophy classes that deal with logic in particular in order to better prepare myself for the LSAT? Or could I be just as well prepared by simply studying logic and reading Walton's book on informal logic?

What do people with high LSAT scores share in common?

Thanks

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dowu
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby dowu » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:07 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:'Ello there chaps. I'd like to pick the brain real fast of the TLSer's. I'm a Political Science major right now, but I was considering taking a minor in Philosophy. Actually I guess that's irrelevant. Haha. My question is: is it wise to take philosophy classes that deal with logic in particular in order to better prepare myself for the LSAT? Or could I be just as well prepared by simply studying logic and reading Walton's book on informal logic?

What do people with high LSAT scores share in common?

Thanks


Wait, people are actually studying for the LSAT? I thought it was an intelligence based test...

In all seriousness, a logic course would probably help, and reading a lot of dense material would probably help too; but neither are necessary nor sufficient. I'd recommend doing a philosophy minor so that you can develop some analytical skills, since your PS major probably provides little of said development.

Philosophy major here, FWIW. Good luck!

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smaug_
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby smaug_ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:11 pm

Former philo major here. Only add the minor if it interests you. Studying philosophy might help some, but dedicated studying for the LSAT would be more efficient.

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:21 pm

Probably good advice. TBH, I'm tending at this point to back off taking the philosophy class I was going to and stick to PolySci purely. I'm sure one class would not make that great of a difference. Do high LSAT scorers tend to have Philosophy classes?

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AntipodeanPhil
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby AntipodeanPhil » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:23 pm

It can help - the questions are written by philosophy PhDs. But like everyone else says, don't do it unless you like philosophy and think you can manage good grades.

A breakdown of LSAT scores by major:
http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm? ... id=1430654

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dowu
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby dowu » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:32 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:Probably good advice. TBH, I'm tending at this point to back off taking the philosophy class I was going to and stick to PolySci purely. I'm sure one class would not make that great of a difference. Do high LSAT scorers tend to have Philosophy classes?


High scorers come from all across the board, man. As you'll learn as you study for the LSAT, correlation does not necessarily ensure causation. In other words, taking philosophy classes will not be, in and of itself, a way to secure a high score.

If you want a high score, more than likely, you'll have to study your ass off and earn one. Focus on keeping your GPA up right now, and then worry about the LSAT once you've done that.

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Yardbird
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby Yardbird » Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:57 pm

Logic classes are extremely helpful. If you like philosophy, upper level seminars can also help and are usually graded with no curve. I've never seen someone get lower than a B in sn upper level seminar (profs at my undergrad treat them like grad courses).

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dowu
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby dowu » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:04 pm

shadowofjazz wrote:Logic classes are extremely helpful. If you like philosophy, upper level seminars can also help and are usually graded with no curve. I've never seen someone get lower than a B in sn upper level seminar (profs at my undergrad treat them like grad courses).



LOL, I've definitely received a C in an upper division Philosophy class. Not all professors grade the same way as yours did, shadow, so it's not safe to tell the OP that they will be graded with no curve. Your anedote is... well... just an anecdote.

I will agree though that Philosophy can be helpful with the LSAT.

vamos
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby vamos » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:12 pm

hibiki wrote:Former philo major here. Only add the minor if it interests you. Studying philosophy might help some, but dedicated studying for the LSAT would be more efficient.


+1

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filmoreslice
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby filmoreslice » Wed Jul 25, 2012 3:17 pm

Studying for the LSAT has often made me glad I did take some logic courses, but you cover a lot more material in those courses than what the LSAT requires. The majority of it probably didn't help me any more with the LSAT than any other class would have. You could probably just take a logic course as an elective (there was a 200 level one offered as a core at my undergrad) and forgo the minor.

akasabian
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby akasabian » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:36 pm

HarvardHopeful93 wrote:Probably good advice. TBH, I'm tending at this point to back off taking the philosophy class I was going to and stick to PolySci purely. I'm sure one class would not make that great of a difference. Do high LSAT scorers tend to have Philosophy classes?


I'm international studies/polysci and I ended up taking a basic Logic class and I'm glad I did.
1.) I needed extra units to graduate, might as well essentially take an LSAT class in order to prep.
2.) It tends to be a relatively easy class at many schools and so it also helps with a small GPA bump.
3.) Having it as a class forces you to study it essentially. I know a lot of people can be self-motivated but being given a grade to study the LSAT essentially doubles any sort of intrinsic motivation (at least that's my perspective).

thederangedwang
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:39 pm

akasabian wrote:
HarvardHopeful93 wrote:Probably good advice. TBH, I'm tending at this point to back off taking the philosophy class I was going to and stick to PolySci purely. I'm sure one class would not make that great of a difference. Do high LSAT scorers tend to have Philosophy classes?


I'm international studies/polysci and I ended up taking a basic Logic class and I'm glad I did.
1.) I needed extra units to graduate, might as well essentially take an LSAT class in order to prep.
2.) It tends to be a relatively easy class at many schools and so it also helps with a small GPA bump.
3.) Having it as a class forces you to study it essentially. I know a lot of people can be self-motivated but being given a grade to study the LSAT essentially doubles any sort of intrinsic motivation (at least that's my perspective).

I took phil classes..was a poli sci major like you...phil classes were my lowest grades..i absolutely sucked and hated it. Whatever works for you, if you get good grades in it and find it interesting, theres no harm. But theres certainly no benefit or boost you will gain from them

akasabian
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby akasabian » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:43 pm

thederangedwang wrote:I took phil classes..was a poli sci major like you...phil classes were my lowest grades..i absolutely sucked and hated it. Whatever works for you, if you get good grades in it and find it interesting, theres no harm. But theres certainly no benefit or boost you will gain from them

I found that at least having an understanding of sufficient/necessary conditions and then also some basics on formal logic did really help out. A lot of peers who haven't taken a logic class at my UG have had some issues picking up sufficient/necessary conditions

thederangedwang
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:45 pm

akasabian wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:I took phil classes..was a poli sci major like you...phil classes were my lowest grades..i absolutely sucked and hated it. Whatever works for you, if you get good grades in it and find it interesting, theres no harm. But theres certainly no benefit or boost you will gain from them

I found that at least having an understanding of sufficient/necessary conditions and then also some basics on formal logic did really help out. A lot of peers who haven't taken a logic class at my UG have had some issues picking up sufficient/necessary conditions

yeah, i shouldnt have been that sweeping, but for me, i learned sufficient/necessary in a day and so i didnt feel like phil classes were necessary at all...i just feel that youre gonna cover in lsat prep whatever you learn in phil classes in much less time anyway..so for me it wasnt worth it

akasabian
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby akasabian » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:47 pm

thederangedwang wrote:yeah, i shouldnt have been that sweeping, but for me, i learned sufficient/necessary in a day and so i didnt feel like phil classes were necessary at all...i just feel that youre gonna cover in lsat prep whatever you learn in phil classes in much less time anyway..so for me it wasnt worth it


Oh yea that is a really important clarification: There's nothing you'll learn in a Logic class that is useful towards the LSAT that adequate amounts of studying or an LSAT course won't teach you. It is merely something to give you a bit of a headstart and helps you get your feet wet in regards to how you may need to think for the LSAT.

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dowu
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby dowu » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:50 pm

If you wanna get your feet wet, then go for it.

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Yardbird
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby Yardbird » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:18 pm

akasabian wrote:
thederangedwang wrote:yeah, i shouldnt have been that sweeping, but for me, i learned sufficient/necessary in a day and so i didnt feel like phil classes were necessary at all...i just feel that youre gonna cover in lsat prep whatever you learn in phil classes in much less time anyway..so for me it wasnt worth it


Oh yea that is a really important clarification: There's nothing you'll learn in a Logic class that is useful towards the LSAT that adequate amounts of studying or an LSAT course won't teach you. It is merely something to give you a bit of a headstart and helps you get your feet wet in regards to how you may need to think for the LSAT.

There are some things I learned in my logic course that I did not learn through LSAT study which directly helped me on my LSAT. While the LGB and LRB go over formal logic (as do many courses and other books) they don't touch upon higher levels of formal logic which can also be used when doing logic games specifically (and to a lesser extent LR questions). Such topics include the 5 valid argument forms, material equivalencies and implications, categorical logic, etc. You'll likely encounter the 5 valid argument forms (modus ponens, modus tollens, disjunctive syllogism, hypothetical syllogism, constructive dillemma) and SOME material equivalencies (namely DeMorgans) in a LSAT course or book.

One that you won't see is that P=>Q is equivalent to ~P v Q and also is equivalent to P & ~Q. Both of those equivalencies can help with quick inferences on LGs. Categorical logic (AEIO) can help with inferences if you know valid inferences from a statement (when you are allowed to make inferences using conversion, obversion, what a subaltern is, etc).

I don't think upper level philosophy courses will help all that much on the LSAT, though I am sure it will help with law school (at the very least when getting called on in class, at the most on exams since a philosophical study emphasizes examining and analyzing issues - I can't speak to this point though since I am not in law school).

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1776
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby 1776 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:24 pm

I found Philosophy classes to be completely useless for the LSAT, and in real life. Biggest waste of my time.

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CardozoLaw09
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby CardozoLaw09 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:19 pm

Philosophy requires abstract thinking which I think is essential for the LSAT, especially the logic games section. I took a bunch of PHIL courses purely out of interest and don't regret it at all, in fact, its given by GPA a pretty solid boost. Wouldn't hurt to add it as a minor.

thederangedwang
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby thederangedwang » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:04 pm

OP, what these responses should tell you is that it really depends on you. Some people find phil useful and easy (gpa booster). Some people find it useless and actually detrimental gpa wise.

So, it really all depends on you, if you like it, get good grades in it, then sure, why not add the minor. But if you struggle with it and as a result it brings down your gpa, dont do it

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99.9luft
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby 99.9luft » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:05 pm

1776 wrote:I found Philosophy classes to be completely useless for the LSAT,and in real life. Biggest waste of my time.

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smaug_
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby smaug_ » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:19 pm

thederangedwang wrote:OP, what these responses should tell you is that it really depends on you. Some people find phil useful and easy (gpa booster). Some people find it useless and actually detrimental gpa wise.

So, it really all depends on you, if you like it, get good grades in it, then sure, why not add the minor. But if you struggle with it and as a result it brings down your gpa, dont do it


Also, talk to current majors. They'll have a handle on if the department is hardcore or not and if there or easy profs, who they are. If you're not into GPA boosting, they'll likely be able recommend the profs who teach the most rewarding classes. Sadly, these are almost never the same as the easy profs.

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Borhas
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby Borhas » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:21 pm

Symbolic logic might help, no other philosophy class would really help

take some class on Plato or Aristotle

stay away from the POMO shit

HarvardHopeful93
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby HarvardHopeful93 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 9:55 pm

Alright guys. This has been very thought-provoking and helpful to read. So let me throw another Q at ya...elementary logic or symbolic logic? (At my UG, the former is 100 level class, the latter is 200 level class).

bobbyh1919
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Re: Recommend taking Philosophy classes?

Postby bobbyh1919 » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:01 pm

I was also Poly Sci and took Intro to Logic for the LSAT. Found it very helpful, but beyond that, only take as much philosophy as you are interested in.




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