Developing the analytical and reasoning skills that are always in demand.

The analytic and critical skills you develop as a philosophy student are applicable to decisions that must be made in industry, debates on public policy, medical ethics, law, and education. On a more personal level, the study of philosophy can help you to understand yourself as a thinking, acting being. Socrates said that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” He meant especially to include self-examination. What beliefs are important to you and how rationally defensible are those beliefs? What principles do you cite for the actions you perform, and do those principles stand up to scrutiny?

Meet some UVM alums who cite their academic training in philosophy as critical to formulating thier world view, and informing their work in a variety of professions. 

  • Deb Markowitz

    Philosopher as advocate, leader

    Deborah Markowitz ‘83
    Visiting Professor, Environmental Policy and Leadership, UVM Rubenstein School of Environment & Natural Resources
    Former Vermont Secretary of State, Former Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources

    Deborah Markowitz was a philosophy, political science double-major at UVM before graduating magna cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and launching a career in law and public service. She was the first woman in Vermont to be elected Secretary of State, a position she held for twelve years. She went on to serve as the Secretary of Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources from 2011-2017. Her political science major served her well, but she considers her studies in philosophy as the true bedrock of her academic training. “I always knew I wanted to study philosophy because I was interested in all the big questions — what is the nature of reality? How do we know things? What is our place in the universe?  What are our obligations to other human beings and to the earth?”

    Read more about Deb Markowitz

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Jill Rosemblum Tidman with Robert Redford

Making Movies, Making Change 

UVM philosophy major Jill Rosemblum Tidman's life changed in Professor Stephanie Kaza's introductory environmental studies class. The barrage of bad news about environmental degradation pushed her to the realization that she needed to commit her life to making things right.

“It was very clear to me that there was nothing else for me to do in this life but to try to get the information out there, so that we have a chance of changing course. I felt a responsibility and there was no turning back.”

Post-graduation, that put Tidman’s career on a green course that included business, fundraising, writing, government, event planning and eventually promoting environmental causes through the arts. Her latest effort in that regard is Watershed: Exploring a New Water Ethic for the New West, an hour-long documentary she co-produced with Jamie Redford under the auspices of the Redford Center.

Read the full Making Movies, Making Change story.