Why Philosophy?

Philosophy can help you in whatever career you choose to pursue. Over the years, many well-known people from multiple fields have majored, or studied philosophy during college. Below is a representation of some of the famous names. To see more, visit Who Studies Philosophy  (Source: the American Philosophical Associations website).

Who Studies Philosophy?

Government and Politics

William "Bro” Adams, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities and former university president
Bachelor’s Degree, Colorado College, 1972
Fulbright Fellowship, Ecole des Haute Etudes and Ecole Normale Superieure, 1977-1978
Ph.D. (History of Consciousness), University of California Santa Cruz, 1982

William Bennett, Secretary of Education and best-selling author
Bachelor’s Degree, Williams College, 1965
Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 1970

Stephen Breyer, Supreme Court Justice
Bachelor’s Degree, Stanford University, 1959

Patrick Buchanan, Politician
Bachelor’s Degree, Georgetown University, 1960

Bill Clinton, U.S. President
Rhodes Scholarship at University College Oxford, 1968-1970


Stokely Carmichael / Kwame Ture, civil rights leader
Bachelor’s Degree, Howard University, 1964

Angela Davis, social activist
Bachelor’s Degree, Brandeis University, 1965

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights leader
Taught social philosophy at Morehouse College, 1961


Noam Chomsky, professor, activist, author, and public intellectual
Professor Emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Rev. John I. Jenkins, President, University of Notre Dame
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Notre Dame, 1976
Master’s Degree, University of Notre Dame, 1978


Herbert Allison Jr., former Fannie Mae CEO
Bachelor’s Degree, Yale University, 1965

Sheila Bair, former FDIC chair
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Kansas, 1975

Stewart Butterfield, co-founder of Flickr
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Victoria, 1996
Master’s Degree, University of Cambridge, 1998

Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1995

Chris Dixon, internet entrepreneur and investor
Bachelor's Degree, Columbia University, 1996
Master's Degree, Columbia University, 1999

Paul Draper, winemaker
Bachelor's Degree, Stanford University, 1959

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard and presidential candidate
Bachelor’s Degree, Stanford University, 1976


Rabbi Michael Lerner, political activist and editor of Tikkun
Bachelor’s Degree, Columbia University, 1964
Ph.D., University of California Berkeley, 1972

Pope John Paul II
Ph.D., Jagiellonian University, 1948

Albert Schweitzer, Nobel Peace Prize winning theologian and missionary
Ph.D., University of Tübingen, 1899


Simone de Beauvoir, writer, philosopher, and political activist
Master's Degree, Sorbonne University in Paris, 1929

Pearl Buck, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winning writer
Bachelor’s Degree, Randolph-Macon Women’s College, 1914

Mary Higgins Clark, novelist
Bachelor’s Degree, Fordham University, 1979

News and Journalism

Barbara Amiel, Lady Black of Crossharbour, journalist and writer
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Toronto, 1963

John Chancellor, journalist
Majored in philosophy at University of Illinois Navy Pier (no degree earned), 1947-1948

Chris Hayes, journalist, political commentator, and MSNBC host
Bachelor’s Degree, Brown University, 2001

Tamara Keith, journalist and NPR White House correspondent
Bachelor’s Degree, University of California Berkeley, 1999

Arts and Entertainment

Wes Anderson, filmmaker
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Texas at Austin, 1990

Ethan Coen, filmmaker (of the Coen Brothers)
Bachelor’s Degree, Princeton University, 1979

Stephen Colbert, comedian and TV host
Majored in philosophy at Hampden-Sydney College (transferred), 1982-1984

Wes Craven, filmmaker
Master's Degree, Johns Hopkins University, 1964


Arian Foster, American football player (Houston Texans)
Bachelor’s Degree, University of Tennessee, 2009

Phil Jackson, NBA coach
Bachelor’s Degree, University of North Dakota, 1967

Bruce Lee, martial artist
Studied philosophy at University of Washington (no degree earned), 1961-1964