Mark McLean

Black and White Portrait of Mark McLean

Mark McLean
  • French
  • Philosophy

Class of: 2013

B.A. Philosophy and French 2013

After receiving a B.A. in Philosophy and French from Carroll College in 2013 and my M.A. in Philosophy from KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium in September 2015, I am currently enrolled in the the MPhil program at KU Leuven (a preliminary to the doctorate program).

The value in philosophy as nothing to do with the degree, but rather resides in one’s ability to grasp, articulate, and challenge perspectives in order to further the apprehension of (academic) philosophical discourse. Philosophy is often looked upon as a kind of ‘self-improvement’ degree. It shows that one has a developed sense of critical and analytical skills in their ability to approach problematic situations or projects. As for my own professional path, a degree in philosophy has helped me in developing and manipulating my teaching skills as well as allowed me to further my pursuit of academic philosophy.

For students in philosophy, the best advice I could give would be to learn how to say what you are trying to articulate by using your own words rather than some author’s philosophical jargon. You will find that this is easier said than done. Most importantly, be open to the conversation even if you are vehemently opposed to the other’s position. There is more to learn by hearing someone through in their argumentation, than by disregarding their initial claim as nonsensical or useless in light of your own stance.

Philosophy cannot stand-alone. This is why I would encourage any student in philosophy to pair it with another degree or study. Alongside the sciences and the arts, philosophy criticizes and analyzes their developing definitions, techniques, methods, and styles. With this, philosophy gives us just enough of an edge to stand upon, and, during these brief moments of footing, we are able to orient ourselves before we take our next grand leap towards those profound depths of understanding.