Finding The Deepest Human Life: Teaching Philosophy To Plumbers

Nov 13, 2015

Tuesday night during the GOP debate, Marco Rubio was quoted saying that our country doesn’t need more philosophers, we need more welders. Kirkwood Community College Professor Scott Samuelson says that while that’s true, those welders can benefit from studying philosophy.

“Our country was built by farmers reading Cicero,” he laughs.

During this hour on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe talks with Samuelson, author of the book “The Deepest Human Life: An Introduction to Philosophy for Everyone.

Samuelson got into philosophy as a kid, and now teaches at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City. He says he truly believes that anybody can benefit from the study of the field.

"I do think that studying things like philosophy, and the liberal arts more generally, can be hugely empowering. We don't study them necessarily to get ahead at business, but they often give us the ability to,” he says. “I once wrote a piece called 'Would You Hire Socrates?' where I made the claim that people who study things like philosophy often go on to success in different fields. I've never had a student who's read Aristotle and said 'this is really gonna pay dividends at IBM.' But the funny thing was, after I wrote this article, I got all of these letters from people who talked about how they'd studied Aristotle and gone on to do really well at IBM."