How Do Philosophers Make Money? (To Earn, or not to Earn)

Many people believe philosophy is a grandiose endeavor with little to do with the “real world” or making money. And anyway, philosophers are typically individuals who spend time deliberating significant ideas and exploring life’s true meaning.

Philosophers can’t possibly be earning a lot of money, can they?

Key Points

  • Philosophy is a discipline that prepares one to solve complex problems in different sectors of society with wisdom. 
  • While some regard philosophy as a lifestyle, you can go to school and study philosophy. The highest academic qualification at the university is a Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy). 
  • There are many well-paying jobs you can do with a philosophy degree. Even if, as a philosopher, you’re not after money, you’ll be compensated well for your wisdom!
  • Most people in society can now appreciate the importance of the wisdom philosophy graduates bring to the table. So, you can earn a living as a philosopher! 

So, how do philosophers make money? This article looks at philosophy and philosophy careers. It also discusses how philosophers can earn money from their jobs. Keep reading to discover how to turn your passion for philosophy into a successful career. 

What is Philosophy?


The subject of philosophy is the underlying nature of knowledge, reality, and existence.

It is the study of the nature of truth, and of the ways in which we come to know things. It is also the study of the nature of the mind, and of the ways in which we think about the world.

It addresses various topics, including the nature of the mind and God’s existence.

What does a Philosopher do for a living?

Philosophers apply their knowledge to evaluate claims and theories, approach challenging issues critically, and come up with original answers.

While some philosophers find employment in academia, lecturing at colleges and universities, others work in the business sphere, applying their knowledge to address issues for corporations.

Others express their thoughts to a larger audience by working as writers or journalists. Regardless of their industry, philosophers use their ability to think extensively about challenging problems and come up with innovative answers.  

How do Philosophers think? (“like boxers”)

According to David Perrel, philosophers think like boxers. They solve problems by putting concepts in conflict with one another. In addition, their analysis is successful because it is so bloody. 

You can describe their way of thinking as violent because they approach interrogations with a soldier’s mentality. They brutally torment thoughts by shaking and grasping them by the throat until they cannot breathe anymore and finally show their true colors.

how do philosophers think
How do philosophers think?

This thought process might be what inspired Socrates, an ancient Greece philosopher who once said

“The unexamined life is not worth living.” – said Socrates

While not all philosophers think the same, a particular culture informs their thought process. Here is how philosophers think:

  • They slow down to move swiftly. Philosophers create room for reflection. They slow down to create space for contemplation before making decisions. Ancient philosophers spent significant time self-reflecting, learning, and meditating.  
  • They focus on what’s important. When everything is necessary, it is challenging to distinguish between what matters and what doesn’t. Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor and stoic philosopher, once said you should do less if you want peace and quiet.
  • They think in shades of grey. Philosophers believe that thinking in black and white gets them stuck. Consequently, they prefer thinking in shades of grey, which allows them to learn and avoid taking positions. The Buddhists call this the “middle way.” They shift from duality to integration. The philosopher accepts subtlety and various viewpoints.
  • They recognize the weakness in an argument. Philosophy’s goal is not to identify mistakes but rather to refrain from acting on unfounded presumptions. Not taking things for granted is a critical component of philosophical thinking.
  • They have intellectual humility. The issue with praising intellectual brilliance is that we praise certainty and despise doubt. As a result, being right becomes more important than finding the right solution. Most philosophers appreciate that the things they believe in might be wrong. 
  • They knock down their ideas. “When you have an idea about something, the first thing you do is try and kill it.” – Madsbjerg, a modern philosopher. 
  • They consider alternative possibilities. Congruence bias dominates the human mind. This hinders you from recognizing that there are alternative solutions for your complex problems. Philosophers develop multiple options by searching for the best possible solution, not the one that comes up immediately.
  • They believe the correct answer is a stop. Philosophers think that there is no single correct answer. 
  • They integrate morality and pragmatism. Philosophers make ethical, sound, and rational decisions. 

Is a Philosopher a real job?

A philosopher is unlike a plumber who gets paid for plumbing jobs. However, people who have pursued philosophy majors usually work in different sectors, as outlined later in this article.

Since ancient times, philosophers have predominantly worked in teaching positions and also taken part in publishing books. 

In addition, people who have a degree in philosophy have been trained to think for themselves and analyze and communicate their ideas logically with clarity. Therefore, you’ll get various answers when you ask a philosopher this question. 

In reality, most intellectual endeavors are based on philosophy. For example, the highest qualification you can get from an accredited university is a Ph.D. – Doctor of Philosophy. So, pursue a career in philosophy that will enable you to have a real job in different sectors. 

Do you get paid as a Philosopher? 

The typical outcome of a philosophy major isn’t working as a philosopher. Most graduates work as philosophy teachers and philosophy professors in universities and colleges. On the other hand, others work for government institutions, in the business world, and as publishers. 

A modern philosopher’s primary responsibilities are publishing their research, academic institution teaching, or publishing books, papers, and other works. So, modern philosophers like Massimo Pigliucci make money by publishing books and public speaking. 

Suppose you don’t like the idea of publishing books. In that case, you can consider a more contemporary approach suitable for modern publishers, like running a philosophy podcast. This allows professional philosophers to speak freely to an interested audience. 

You can also write articles to complement the podcast. However, most philosophy majors prefer going for jobs like teaching philosophy, becoming reporters, or careers as lawyers.  

How Much Do Philosophy Professors Make?

The employment of philosophy college professors is predicted to increase by at least 11% between 2018 and 2028, adding 155,000 new positions in the US. The plus side is that there haven’t been enough graduates with philosophy majors since 2018!

While this isn’t great for the companies that need professional philosophers so severely, it’s fantastic for students who want to work in this field because it means more jobs, more opportunities for advancement, and higher chances of earning good money.

How much does a philosophy professor earn? Generally speaking, philosophy professors’ salary exceeds 50,000 USD per year. However, you can make this go higher if you work in the field for long. 

Educational institutions like to hire experienced professionals, and your chances of making money teaching philosophy are increased if you keep teaching philosophy for a long time.

How to become a Philosopher

Being a philosopher will be much simpler if you’ve worked hard to obtain an education. Your initial requirement will be a bachelor’s degree in philosophy. By attending an academic institution, philosophy students can acquire their BA and get the chance to network with people who might help to advance their careers.

To advance in your philosophy career, you must enroll in graduate school and obtain a master’s or doctoral degree. You’ll still need to decide what field you specialize in and how you want to use your education as a philosopher. It’s acceptable if you need to think things over before deciding because everyone is unique and may have different expectations for this profession.

What are the different types of Philosophy Degrees? 

You can obtain three different types of philosophy degrees:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy – This degree introduces students to philosophy’s basic principles. They also develop fundamental rhetoric, analysis, critical thinking, and writing skills. Additionally, students with this undergraduate degree usually pursue MBA degrees, legal studies, or seminaries. You’ll mainly find many philosophy degree holders in law schools.  
  • Master’s Degree in Philosophy – A master’s degree refines everything you learned in undergraduate studies. It also introduces the students to more complex theories such as political philosophy, logic, and philosophy of the mind and language. You must write a thesis paper and do an exit exam to earn this degree. MA graduates pursue academic careers, writing grant papers for non-profit organizations, or working in public relations.
  • Doctoral Degree in Philosophy – A doctoral degree in philosophy generally focuses on a dissertation on a subject like existentialism, religion, or medical ethics. To defend a dissertation, one must complete additional coursework and graduate seminar courses, demonstrate competency in a foreign language, and pass an exam or hours in logic.

What jobs can a Philosophy Degree get you?

Are you pursuing a philosophy major or considering it and are asking, “What can I do with a philosophy degree?” Philosophy majors can do various jobs, including: 


Law schools accept philosophy majors at a very high rate. The sector highly respects these people because of their quick, clear thinking and writing skills. They also love their aptitude for evaluating and presenting ideas. A Juris Doctorate is required to practice law, and the annual pay for an attorney is roughly 115,820 USD. 

Non-Profit Professional

Philosophy majors also work in the non-profit industry. They help these organizations to pursue their ethical interests. They also help them in their social and political philosophy. A non-profit professional philosopher earns about 47,000 USD per year on average.  


Being a philosophy professor is a common career choice for philosophy majors. Besides authoring and co-writing scholarly articles, this career also entails delivering lectures and seminars on specific subjects to college students in undergrad and graduate programs. You must earn a Ph.D. to be a professor. A philosophy professor makes around 71,620 USD per annum. 

Business Professional 

Students who major in philosophy are pretty familiar with the business world. They frequently work as real estate brokers, editors, managers, marketing professionals, venture capitalists, stockbrokers, and managers. A business professional with a philosophy degree makes, on average, 81,200 USD a year.

Public Policy Professional

Communicating with others, putting forth arguments, and dissecting others’ arguments are all talents that philosophy majors are well-versed in. These are the fundamental skills one needs to work in public policy. 

Government officials frequently hire public policy experts to study and address issues that have a massive public impact. Creativity, the capacity to distinguish between solid and weak arguments, and writing and research skills are necessary for this job. As a public policy professional, you’ll earn around 57,000 USD annually. 

Marketing Professional

A philosophy major is extremely valuable to a marketing expert. Their understanding of culture, human perception, and society make them excellent in sales promotions, branding, and advertisement. They make around 58,818 USD annually for their efforts.

Final thoughts 

So, how do philosophers make money?

This intricate piece reveals that you can apply philosophical methods in different sectors. Additionally, philosophers earn for the wisdom they bring to different industries. 

However, you might need additional education to work in specialized fields. For instance, you must go to law school to work as an attorney with a philosophy degree. If you’re a philosopher, you live on a philosopher salary as long as you use your degree strategically.

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