There are many reasons or purposes behind pursuing higher education, but these may change depending on each individual student. However many distinct reasons there may be, the majority of them can be grouped into five broad categories. The first of these categories relates to money, the second is the transmission of culture and history, the third has to do with esteem or social class, fourth comes education for the benefit of democracy, and last is entertainment or personal enjoyment.
Almost everybody has a “dream job”, one where they do some kind of interesting work and get paid lots for it. This is one of the reasons why a person would consider going beyond high school, and pursuing higher education; so they can get that “dream job”. With degrees and Ph.D.s comes money, along with wider opportunities for the future, and less physical work. Of course, the three aforementioned traits do not always apply, but in the majority of cases they do.
In learning more about your world, you can absorb some history, and in the process keep your culture alive. Culture and traditions can only survive if they are passed down from generation to generation. By studying history, you can also learn from the mistakes of those who came before you, and ensure that you do not repeat those mistakes. Good examples of this are failed strategies used in war; you would definitely not want to repeat those.
Some people go for degrees because they think it earns them power, respect, and esteem. Certain socialites feel that if you do not have a Ph.D., you are not worth anything, not even a bit of their time. The third reason to pursue higher education is to appease swine like this. If you want to become one of the social elite, college is necessary.
No matter how hard you try to deny it, the majority of people are dolts. In order to ensure a healthy democracy, you need well educated people to vote on modern issues. It is pretty obvious that if we had a bunch of easily duped idiots voting on important matters, for example the election of a president, liberty all around the world could be threatened. What would happen if a complete moron were to be put in charge of a world superpower? Perhaps there would be a series of unjust wars, a few signings of acts destroying privacy, some crimes against humanity, and unnecessary bloodshed; all in the name of patriotism and freedom, an obvious lie. It is important that people know their rights, how their government works, and where to draw the line. Most importantly, they need to know the difference between right and wrong in relation to the entire world, not just their little nook.
It is possible that some people enjoy education because it expands their minds, they may see it as entertainment. This is reason enough to enroll yourself in classes. If something beneficial to everybody is what you enjoy taking part in, by all means, go ahead and do it.
How does Philosophy fit into these five categories? Philosophy, although mostly boring, can be interesting at some times – which leads it to be entertaining. This class could be taken by people who enjoy learning how to better understand the workings of the human mind and/or religion. For theists, Philosophy could reinforce their faith in God, making them feel all good inside, or it could lead them to question their absurd religions, grow a pair, and stop using the church as a crutch – a tie or win situation, respectively. Once they give up their silly beliefs, they could also drop the prejudices that come with them and allow everybody to be treated equally. The less prejudiced people there are voting in this country, the better, this would lead to a stronger government with more freedom for all.
In conclusion, there are five purposes for education; money, history, respect, better governments, and entertainment. Philosophy fits snugly into the entertainment and governmental categories.