Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:51 pm

Here's the only real advice you need about UG if you're dead set on going to a good Law School...

Take the easiest damn major your school offers. Get a 4.0. The (definitely) negligible effect that any particular major will have on your LSAT will be overwhelmingly overshadowed by the GPA increase in terms of Law School Admissions.

Lurkington
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby Lurkington » Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:05 pm

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Last edited by Lurkington on Fri Jun 10, 2016 9:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

RickyDnwhyc
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby RickyDnwhyc » Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:03 pm

Lurkington wrote:
RickyDnwhyc wrote:Here's the only real advice you need about UG if you're dead set on going to a good Law School...

Take the easiest damn major your school offers. Get a 4.0. The (definitely) negligible effect that any particular major will have on your LSAT will be overwhelmingly overshadowed by the GPA increase in terms of Law School Admissions.


This is terrible advice. Admissions committees don't just look at your GPA, they also assess the general difficulty of classes taken. TylerJonesMPLS's post is by far the most (only) relevant post in this thread so read that if you haven't. If you take your philosophy classes seriously they will reduce the initial learning curve for the LSAT.


Conventional TLS wisdom says otherwise.

Sure if you're a physics/math major out of MIT they will think slightly higher of you, but in the end the numbers are the numbers and these schools are MAJOR ranking whores. No matter what they say about how they have a "holistic" approach and consider the difficulty of your major / grade inflation / how much of a special snowflake you are, they are lying. There are a few exceptions, but generally, they are lying.

Unless you're a wiz kid with the numbers you're much safer taking a liberal arts major.

Then again, like people have said, if you really want tp have other options besides Law School, get a chemical engineering degree or something.

TylerJonesMPLS
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby TylerJonesMPLS » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:49 pm

John Mill asked whether a *minor* in Philosophy would give him the skills he needs to get an edge on the LSAT. His school does not give him the option of majoring in Philosophy. He says he has other options if he doesn’t get into a top 14 law school. So he really doesn’t need an engineering degree as a safety net. He says that he doesn’t want to drop his PoliSci major for an Economics degree, because his talents lie in other fields than math. And he says that he likes Philosophy enough that he might chose Philosophy as a minor even if it doesn’t give him an edge on the LSAT.

So his real question is: would a Philosophy minor give him the same edge on the LSAT as a major would?

And the answer is yes. The low level Philosophy classes will teach you all the logic (propositional logic) and critical thinking and argumentative analysis that the LSAC says the LSAT tests. http://www.lsac.org/jd/lsat/about-the-lsat.asp The higher level courses, like Modal Logic or Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, presuppose these skills. So, make sure you take the basic classes that will build these skills by talking to your Philosophy Department advisor and by talking to upper level students. And take the upper level courses, like a course on the Philosophy of John Mill, if you have the time.

But, of course, the comparison of basic philosophy courses in a minor to a minor in other departments is an all-other-things-being-equal situation. If you have lazy jackass philosophy professors, you won’t learn the skills you need. So, it pays to ask seniors whether they have gotten the skills philosophy departments are supposed to teach. And it pays to contact students now in law school who graduated from your school and find out which classes they think were the most helpful on the LSAT.

Do you need to take symbolic logic? No, all you need is propositional logic, because only propositional logic is actually tested on the LSAT, e.g. conditionals, sentence deductions etc. You don’t need quantified logic, since it won’t help answer LSAT questions. You can learn propositional logic in just a few weeks, but you need to practice it a lot as well. You need courses in critical thinking and argument analysis. You can get these skills from a basic Critical Thinking course, and you can practice them with, say, a course in the Philosophy of John Mill.

And, of course, you will definitely need to study the LSAT itself when the time comes. But, you already know that and you are planning for it.

So, if you like Philosophy enough to consider minoring in it, even if it does not give you an edge on the LSAT, there really is no reason not to go ahead a minor in Philosophy. And you don’t have to worry that a major in Philosophy would give you more of an edge. If you like PoliSci, major in it. It is a good preparation for law school and for learning more about our world.

As for reading academic journals, these are written for professionals, and the articles concern highly specialized scholarly topics. If you want to do this sort of thing, I’d suggest reading Law Review journals first. Extra reading that can really help you practice the skills you will need on the LSAT, and the skills and knowledge you will need in law school, as well as develop yourself intellectually, can be found in Research Guides of Library Law Schools. For instance, try a highly recommended overview of Torts by Edward J. Kionka Law Review Torts in a Nutshell, 5th (Nutshell Series) 2010. http://library.law.yale.edu/torts-nutshell It’s easy and fun to read, and it presents a lot of philosophical and legal problems that are interesting to think about. All of the top 14 law school libraries have Research Guides. Knowing a lot about areas of the law you are interested in can help you on your law school application, as well as build skills.

To Clarity, You’re right, I do write like an LSAT question. I try not to, but it is hard to get our of the habit of talking like a philosophy professor. By the way, the reason I sound like a LSAT question is that most of them are written by Philosophy Ph.D.s. But, thanks for reminding me. I’ll try to tone it down.

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Tuco Salamanca
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby Tuco Salamanca » Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:57 pm

I'm a Political Science major. Don't become a political science major. You will have almost no options besides law school.

rebexness
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby rebexness » Thu Oct 11, 2012 7:02 pm

Last edited by rebexness on Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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CyanIdes Of March
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Re: Will a Philosophy Minor Help Me With the LSAT?

Postby CyanIdes Of March » Fri Oct 12, 2012 2:37 pm

You demonstrate every point I made by insinuating I failed out of intro courses. I was doing well in my courses, I just wasn't interested in pursuing it further. Try to be less of a condescending prick is all I'm saying.

Also it's amazing how you can make such general statements about grad schools you've never experienced and majors you've never been apart of. Save your judgments for your later years when everything in your life and mine have played out, your unwarranted speculation does nothing but make you look like an ass while offering nothing in the form of empirical evidence or insightful discussion which I should expect from a frat boy. If your education truly has benefitted you intellectually more than mine then I have to wonder how incredibly undeveloped you must have been prior.




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