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Thread: Liberal Arts Majors

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    Senior Member Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola's Avatar
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    Default Liberal Arts Majors

    "Would you like fries with that sir?"

    or

    "An engineering student could probably design a tank, but only a liberal arts student could use it to take over the world."

    I'm a liberal arts major and I've always had this pet peeve of the elitism some science/math majors promote about the difficulty of their degree. Sure, I can agree that science/math related fields require a ton of work, but is this attitude of polarization in the same college environment really necessary? What do you think? What is your own opinion on liberal arts majors? Useful or worthless?

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    I think the "problem" is the following. Liberal arts isn't science, and as such, it has no place in academia.

  3. #3
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    Darn Liberals tryin to take over the world.

    I prefer a good science and math background myself, it is so much more useful I think, but you need a balance of people to make the world work and that includes Liberal Arts degrees.

    And who says the engineer that designs a super AI Tank can't use it to take over the world? We're just as capable of destroying the world as liberal arts majors can. If anything, moreso. Because if that tank gets damaged in the battle, we know how to fix it too.
    Last edited by Renegade of Life; 04-14-2008 at 05:36 PM.

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    Senior Member Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola's Avatar
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    The word "academia" is a collective term for the scientific AND cultural community engaged in higher education and peer-reviewed research, taken as a whole.

    If what I read was true, academia was derived from the school in Athens where Plato taught his students, which is ironic since philosophy is considered liberal arts major.

    Renegade: Who says a liberal arts major can't be as successful or useful as someone who knows how to fix a tank?
    Last edited by Lola Granola; 04-14-2008 at 05:45 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lola Granola View Post
    The word "academia" is a collective term for the scientific AND cultural community engaged in higher education and peer-reviewed research, taken as a whole.
    That's the broad, revisionist definition.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lola Granola View Post
    Renegade: Who says a liberal arts major can't be as successful or useful as someone who knows how to fix a tank?
    I never said that you couldn't be. But an engineer IS more likely to be able to design and repair a tank to rule the world with, because it is what they do. It's just the example you gave is kind of biased against you, I'm sure there are plenty of other ones that would suit your point better.

    Mind you, the liberal arts major would probably be far better at making a new government after the engineers conquered the world with their inventions.

    A balance of both is essential to the survival of society. We wouldn't have cars and buildings without engineers, but we wouldn't have vital services without liberal arts majors to manage them.
    Last edited by Renegade of Life; 04-14-2008 at 05:49 PM.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rev. Dr. M.D. M.P. Eris View Post
    That's the broad, revisionist definition.
    Thats your opinion, not what it is.

    Renegade: Just as I never said an engineering student can't take over the world. I put two quotes up to represent two sides of the issue.

    I'm not championing one side over the other, I believe both have an equal place in the academic institution and as a role in society. What I disagree with is the attitude that some science/math majors have, that they are better, smarter than liberal arts majors, or that liberal arts doesn't belong in an academic institution because the work isn't "difficult" or "analytical" enough.
    Last edited by Lola Granola; 04-14-2008 at 06:08 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lola Granola View Post
    I'm not championing one side over the other, I believe both have an equal place in the academic institution and as a role in society. What I disagree with is the attitude that some science/math majors have, that they are better, smarter than liberal arts majors, or that liberal arts doesn't belong in an academic institution because the work isn't "difficult" enough.
    It all depends on the actual program, and the nature of the people involved.
    I am an engineering student myself, ElectroMechanical is the aspect I am working towards right now. Basically, that Super AI tank I was talking about is already on my drawing board, along with the AI program that controls it.

    Some people are elitist just because they can be, and while it is true a lot of people in the science and engineering disciplines do have above-average intelligence, there are some pretty bright people in Liberal Arts too.

    Imagine what the world would be like without artists trained through Liberal Arts degrees.

    We'd be looking at bare stone walls for buildings, and cars wouldn't have any more paint on them than necessary to keep them from rusting. The world would be bleak and bland, forged of the steel and stone the engineers build things from but without any of the human comforts we are used to seeing.

    They're quite essential to society, in both the creativity and comfort aspects, and play even more vital roles when you get into government and service situations.

    At the same time, it does no good to have a liberal arts major designing the interior comfort for a vehicle, if there is no engineer to make sure that car can go 70 MPH without being blown into a clod of dirt from the wind resistance.

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    Liberal arts is arts, a paintbrush and a piece of cloth and your set! I think all form of majors that don't involve Math in theory or application are not real academic majors.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola has a reputation beyond repute Lola Granola's Avatar
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    Wow. Before you show your lack of knowledge on the topic at hand, you should probably familiarize yourself with what liberal arts actually is.

    Here is a list of some of them at my college (I know it says & Science but I deleted the science majors to show the range of liberal arts):

    College of Arts and Sciences
    Last edited by Lola Granola; 04-14-2008 at 06:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lola Granola View Post
    Thats your opinion, not what it is.
    Of course it's my opinion. Why would I state something that I don't believe in? It is what it is.

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    Liberal Arts can turn out really well or really bad. It's important to research the university to see what their programs are like. Also, I would highly recommend picking up a minor or a double major. It will open up more doors for you once you graduated. I was poli sci and econ, and by themselves I wouldn't be able to do much, but together they work well. Lastly, don't expect to be doing exactly what your major is. While an accountant will end up being an accountant, a liberal arts major could be anything. Just think about your skills and abilities (all the stuff you learned from uni) and incorporate it into the job you want.

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    Mastering languages, in some respects, is just as difficult as taking up a mathematic/science major and is just as vital to our world today as engineering technological innovations. Our world’s stability and economy hinges on diplomacy, trade, and communicating ideas- much more important than designing and repairing a tank (although a tank is pretty persuasive- it’s pretty expensive to roll into one’s country for resources).

    Consider this quote (roughly recollected) “Even without Newton, someone would have discovered calculus and the laws of motion, but without Beethoven, none would ever be able to composed his 9th Symphony.” It is for this reason many deem it worth pursuing, investing, and studying a liberal arts major.

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    I think that being a liberal arts major relies very heavily on your own talent and your own luck. It seems that in science or math majors, the harder you work, the better the outcome. What you put in is what you get out. But in liberal arts, it is much more indefinite.

    In China, liberal arts majors were appraised more than math/science majors. People who went to college as liberal arts majors were seen has more sophisticated and highly educated. Not so much anymore. China, like most other countries, now regard math and science majors as higher education.

    When it comes down to it, it really depends on yourself. What are you good at-- learning French or learning calculus? Some people actually excel in calculus and suffer in French and vice versa. Personally, I would prefer a math/science major since I like a more predictable future as to what my career will be like. But everyone's different.

    I don't think that math and science majors are much more academic than liberal arts majors. They're equally important, and you can't have one field without the other.
    Last edited by sa5m; 04-14-2008 at 07:49 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lola Granola View Post
    Wow. Before you show your lack of knowledge on the topic at hand, you should probably familiarize yourself with what liberal arts actually is.

    Here is a list of some of them at my college (I know it says & Science but I deleted the science majors to show the range of liberal arts):

    College of Arts and Sciences
    Wait! Why is my major CS! Which has a lot of Math in it, is put along arts! I'm offended!
    Usually CS is grouped with either Software Engineering and Computer Engineering or Math!

    Dancing isn't a major! Music isn't a major! CS is a real major with real Mathematics in it! We study Modular Arithmetic, Discrete Mathematics and Linear Algebra! They are pretty much the basis for everything in CS! I don't picture Math having much use in painting, dancing or singing!

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    I actually have a bit of background in both. I was extensively schooled in Nuclear Propulsion while in the USN, but after leaving the service I got my degree in the fields that interested me the most: History (major) and Political Science (minor).

    My view is that engineers, who deal heavily with mathematics, feel that anything that doesn't involve mathematical certainty is beneath them. This is just one reason that they are easily the most arrogant individuals you'll meet in the typical university setting. And it's somewhat understandable, as they usually have to have a strong grasp of advanced mathematics, physics and other empirical sciences that many students find challenging if not downright bewildering. And to top it all off, they will almost undoubtedly make more money in their chosen career than Liberal Arts majors.

    On the other hand, Liberal Arts majors tend to be far more well-rounded in terms of their knowledge, as most Liberal Arts majors tend to be interested in multiple subject fields such as History, Political Science, Psychology, Art, Music, Literature, Language, etc. They also tend to have vastly superior social skills than the typical engineer, which makes them better suited to a wider variety of fields. So while Liberal Arts majors make less money, they also have far more flexibility in their choice of careers.

    In the final accounting it comes down to this: Do you want to be a glorified mechanic or do you want a job where you are paid to think...

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    In the final accounting it comes down to this: Do you want to be a glorified mechanic or do you want a job where you are paid to think...
    A glorified mechanic?! Excuse me! But engineers and scientists do a whole lot of thinking! You think (actually you don't think) that making a car, a computer or a bomb, doesn't involve a lot of thinking? Please
    We don't just dance around, paint or sculpt
    I myself, always hated anything that dealt with literature, language, arts, etc.. Booooooooooooring!

    What is your own opinion on liberal arts majors? Useful or worthless?
    I think liberal arts contribute nothing to modern society, they aren't science, they aren't engineering and surely they aren't medicine. So no new theories, no new applications and no new cures.
    My little sister is studying Psychology or something related I always tease her!
    Last edited by Aizmov; 04-14-2008 at 09:05 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post
    ...I think liberal arts contribute nothing to modern society, they aren't science, they aren't engineering and surely they aren't medicine. So no new theories, no new applications and no new cures.
    My little sister is studying Psychology or something related I always tease her!
    Tsk, tsk, such unbridled arrogance!

    Thanks for helping me make my point!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post
    A glorified mechanic?! Excuse me! But engineers and scientists do a whole lot of thinking! You think (actually you don't think) that making a car, a computer or a bomb, doesn't involve a lot of thinking? Please
    Even mechanics have to think. Cars don't usually fail in the same place 100% of the time; it takes intuition, experience, and a good service manual to find and repair the problem. Plus there is more to mechanical engineering than just fixing cars. You can get into thermodynamic aspects, such as heat exchangers and HVAC, or go the opposite spectrum into Architecture, and design bridges and houses with ease.

    Plus, engineers do way more than just fix things. Literally, the high level ones are able to design and build things from the ground up.

    Even one still in training like myself, I've already got loads of ideas that could potentially change the face of the world in a good way and given a little bit more financial resource, would make prototypes of them to see if they make a difference.


    That's surprising how much actually falls into the Liberal Arts majors, however I see plenty of important jobs in society among that list. Even historians, who many people think serve a useless role, are important. In fact, my designs are based almost entirely on historic fact, and old ideas cast away by time brought forth once more and improved on.

    Society cannot function without people of all backgrounds and skills. While some majors and jobs have more prestige than others about them, they're all still essential in one way or another. Even the custodian, who cleans up the mud people bring on their feet every day, and is often unskilled and underpaid. Where would we be without them?
    Last edited by Renegade of Life; 04-14-2008 at 11:07 PM.

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  20. #20
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    In this world it takes 2, it really does.
    Now I as a Business Administration Major, have a very broad degree, but this degree forces me to understand things, and this is one of them.
    Yes engineer are very important, but it takes an artest to dream, and it takes the engineer to make it a reality. now when it comes to education, and who wants to do what that is all up to you. But know this ONE CAN NOT EXIST WITH OUT THE OTHER.
    An engineer can make a ray gun that can cut buildings in half, but it took a dreamer to inspire the engineer.
    Look at software, look at bridges, building, and computers, they all need both. If you look at all the successful people in the world you will see that they either hold both qualities, or the appreciate it in another.
    I am not sure whether BA is a liberal arts or not, I don't really care, the one thing that I do know is that people with engineering majors are horrible business managers. I know I work with a few, and correct them all the time.
    And from what I have seen, accounting is as much a science as it is an art.
    But both can be difficult to master, and some aspects can be easy. And their are some areas that are a mix, my sister for example is an architect major at NYIT.
    Last edited by demonplight; 04-14-2008 at 11:08 PM.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post
    I think liberal arts contribute nothing to modern society, they aren't science, they aren't engineering and surely they aren't medicine. So no new theories, no new applications and no new cures.
    My little sister is studying Psychology or something related I always tease her!
    Wow. The most ignorant thing I think I have seen you say yet. What a shallow and empty world this would be without musicians, artisans, philosophers, historians ... anything in the field that contributes to culture.
    Last edited by Sagat; 04-14-2008 at 11:13 PM.

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    The sad thing is that through out human history there have been people who would agree with him, but the most interesting thing is that the arts always survive, and win out. Why?
    Because arts are the physical form of people's dreams, and it is these dreams that give rise to the sciences, and mathematics. dreams are the foundation to societies, and ways of thinking. all the sciences do is make it passable to answer the dreams of the people.
    in addition philosophy which is a arts major, creates the disciplines by which scientist go about rationalizing the fundamentals of the universe, and the means to understand them. Like for instance breaking something down the absurd, and then building upon it.
    Last edited by demonplight; 04-14-2008 at 11:21 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post
    I think liberal arts contribute nothing to modern society, they aren't science, they aren't engineering and surely they aren't medicine.
    Liberal arts may never experience a breakthrough revolution like the engineering/science fields do. No doubt they are less rigorous than engineering, nonetheless, they are vital to our society as a whole.

    Languages
    1. Societies that trade goods and services benefit each other (flip through an Economics book). Without languages to establish such agreements, our standard of living wouldn’t even be close to what it is now.

    2. Sure, everything can be solved through the barrel of a gun, the edge of a sword, or a bomb, but that’s extremely expensive. Consider this, a laser guided bomb can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, a M1 Abrams costs over $4 million. What’s cheaper- training, teaching, and hiring a diplomat/negotiator for about $45,000/year or mass producing weapons? The conservation of resources and human life certainly makes languages worth the time.

    Literature and Arts
    1. Literature isn’t just Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales etc. If a person has any interest in movies, music, anime/manga, sports magazines, or television of any sort then they have some affinity towards the arts and literature... They have some value to our society, otherwise this forum would be utterly pointless and nobody would be here.

    2. At first fashion, architecture, art, and design may appear almost useless, but keep in mind humans are superficial beings (even if a little). People will react to certain colors and pictures in subconscious ways. There’s a reason why people are more productive in aesthetically appealing places rather than a 5x5 black-walled painted broom closet.

    History and Law
    1. If you don’t learn from the mistakes of the past you’ll learn them from the future.

    2. If you don’t understand and protect the law and your rights you can’t expect to hold them.
    Last edited by MetalKnight; 04-15-2008 at 12:22 AM.

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    Logical people don't really like art most of the time because there is no logic behind it. An art can't be good or bad, it completely depends on the perspective. Even a human can't really be absolutely ugly, they can merely be ugly through the perspective of popular culture.
    In math, your statements can be correct or incorrect.

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    Lola: YouDub of Tacoma, eh? I take it you don't live in Seattle proper, because that's a bit of a drive south when the main campus is located in Seattle. (my dream uni <3 don't wanna go aaanywhere else)

    Liberal arts is something I could totally major in (specifically political sciences or human studies like psychology, I'd also be interested in whatever it would take to be a sex educator), if not for the required reading you need to do all the time, every night. BORING!
    Or rather, not boring at all, I just can't be bothered with making myself read it. (Human Sexuality is a class I'm taking right now and I LOVE it and it's fun to flip through the book, but sit down and read a whole chapter? Fugeddaboutit!)

    Plus I'm not really sure what I'd do with a degree in one of those, but admittedly I haven't explored my options that much. Mostly I'd just prefer to sit in on the classes and listen to everything without having to actually study for a grade, because I'm a learning nerd but quite lazy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Aizmov View Post
    Wait! Why is my major CS! Which has a lot of Math in it, is put along arts! I'm offended!
    Usually CS is grouped with either Software Engineering and Computer Engineering or Math!

    Dancing isn't a major! Music isn't a major! CS is a real major with real Mathematics in it! We study Modular Arithmetic, Discrete Mathematics and Linear Algebra! They are pretty much the basis for everything in CS! I don't picture Math having much use in painting, dancing or singing!
    The more I read your posts the more I wonder how you haven't managed to get banned by your obvious and constant attempts at baiting.

    In any case, I took a college-level Statistics course in high school the year I graduated. Our math teacher admitted himself that even if it was part of the math department the photography teacher should have been teaching it instead, since he was a LA major of some sort (psychology, I believe?) and had to take a lot of statistics courses, while our math teacher only took one or two and had to take a refresher course before the class began. (Note that he is a really good math teacher and also teaches calculus. Too bad I slept too much in class to really be taught much.) I found it funny how drained he'd be at the end of the class, though, because some of the questions we used were so complex. I can see why a statistics class belongs under Liberal Arts, because the content it usually covers can be determined and exploited in certain ways and is often used for studies of people, i.e. "Fill This Survey".
    Quote Originally Posted by Wio View Post
    Logical people don't really like art most of the time because there is no logic behind it. An art can't be good or bad, it completely depends on the perspective. Even a human can't really be absolutely ugly, they can merely be ugly through the perspective of popular culture.
    In math, your statements can be correct or incorrect.
    False.

    There are plenty of examples of bad art. Plenty of examples of gigantic pieces of crap that require no creativity other than ramming their naked, paint-plastered bodies onto a canvas and calling it "PAIN OF MY SOUL". (I can't think of any of that specific type except for from Art School Confidential.) And while it's true that it really comes down to personal preference, wasn't it you who said that if most people think of it a certain way, that certain way of thought is more valid?

    I recall seeing a "piece" which was essentially three pieces of skin from the bottom of the woman's foot displayed in a framed box and hung on the wall at a gallery opening in Seattle last December (apparently the first Thursday of every month is BIG ART TIME). Sure, it CAN be art, but it's kind of a crappy attempt it.

    And a human most certainly can be ugly thanks to the beauty of science. One good example is how they found a basic way to break down a beautiful face. If it can fit a certain graph well enough, the face is both technically and obviously attractive. Those that deviate from it are less so. Those that don't fit it even remotely are either Quasimodos or... not human.
    Granted, there's more to beauty than how well they fit a formula, but that delves more into what you find beautiful/arousing/etc. that I don't feel like speculating on because.

    and when you say "logical" you mean "boring" or just no emotions whatsoever? Art (and I don't mean just pretty pictures) is meant to reach a part that isn't purely logic. I'm not sure what kind of people can't ever be affected by it unless they have some sort of problem that needs to be checked out (i.e. a coma!).

    In any case that offers no explanation for elitism or general [butt]hattery involved in "logical" people's attitudes towards LA majors.

    Quote Originally Posted by MetalKnight View Post
    Literature and Arts
    1. Literature isn’t just Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Odyssey, The Canterbury Tales etc. If a person has any interest in movies, music, anime/manga, sports magazines, or television of any sort then they have some affinity towards the arts and literature... They have some value to our society, otherwise this forum would be utterly pointless and nobody would be here.
    Add video games to that list. (Video Games as Literature class for the w00t! No seriously it's awesome. Wednesday mornings before the class starts we can come in early and play to study literary archetypes.)
    Last edited by Ollie; 04-15-2008 at 01:49 AM.
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