Being awkward, I am not perturbed by statistics telling me that young people are moving to practical courses in higher education angled to careers and away from humanities, philosophy, etc. 

I am no educationalist, still less a psychologist specialising in intellectual development of young minds. It is just my intuition that the most important thing is not the particular subject(s) students follow, but that they learn to think, not least critically, and interpret information.

One of the many peculiarities of the 21st century is that many, perhaps most, practical vocations ranging from farming to energy generation, are intimately bound with controversial problems of the kind philosophers might be expected to be aware of. For instance, a project like XLinks is a business venture which has to employ calculations such as energy loss due to length of cable from Morocco (13 per cent), whilst estimating they can generate renewable energy at about one quarter of the cost of doing so in the UK. The wider implications if such plans lead to a successful business are obvious.

In an earlier age, practical careers would place someone within the class structure, but not normally present (or overcome) existential challenges. In the era of plastic pollution, climate change, and mass destruction weaponry the conditions are different. 

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