CareerSteer – career test for career choice                                     

homeHOME        start of bookStart of book        previous chapterprevious chapter        next chapternext chapter

The Seventeenth Century Philosophers

Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes' famous book Leviathan was published immediately after the execution of Charles I. In supporting the need for political allegiance, Hobbes wrote about the state of nature which would exist without government. Human life may be free and equal, but similarly it would be 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short'. A person would preserve his or her own property, but would not feel constrained from robbing others and killing, either by the power of the individual or through weight of numbers.

In preventing this pure but unpleasant state, Hobbes invokes the leviathan, submission to absolute power in a social contract. This is where Hobbes is seen in critical light by the modern thinker.

Cole Davis on Thomas Hobbes

Hobbes' preferred option, absolute monarchy, may merely reflect the views of a person of his times, having seen the execution of the king. He may or may not have been a monarchist in today's society. What is less contentious is the danger of humans existing without governance. When I have encountered problems on the streets of London, I have heard the voice of the libertarian malefactor saying "are you a policeman?" and "you haven't got the authority", an admission from the nasty and brutish of some form of accepted social contract. We ask for complete liberty at our peril. Although clearly, the desirability of different types of freedom and constraints that we have are debatable.

What is the relevance of Thomas Hobbes to career choice and to a careers test?

Clearly, there are some careers that relate to the subject of law, order and the resistance to outside enemies: the police and armed services are obvious candidates. Any consideration of career choice require some worldliness in considering what is desired and likely social constraints. The CareerSteer careers test tries to reflect these dynamics in filtering for attitudes and preferences.

Rene Descartes

At the same time as Galileo, Descartes supported the Copernican idea of the earth revolving around the sun, not a safe stance in his day. In breaking down problems into smaller ones, he rather adumbrates the work of the behaviourists. In requiring certainty for the acquisition of knowledge, he contributes to the development of scientific methodology.

One certainty for which Descartes does not require certainty is the truth of his own existence: Cogito ergo Sum (I think therefore I am). He believes in dualism, the difference between body and mind. This leads Descartes to believe in God, as something that his mind could not have invented.

What is the relevance of Rene Descartes to career direction?

With the exception of breaking down some factors into meaningful chunks, Descartes does not really contribute to the philosophy of career choice or career tests.

Blaise Pascal

Pascal contributed to philosophy, mathematics, physics and theology. He is particularly famous for inventing a calculating machine. Starting with the nature of a vacuum, Pascal decided to challenge by experimentation matters which he believed should not be left to appeals to authority. Pascal helped to contribute towards scientific methodology, as a step by step advancing in knowledge, to be carried on by generation after generation.

What is the relevance of Blaise Pascal to a careers test?

CareerSteer uses well researched principles of career choice to develop the careers test. Different generations of research and practice have been applied, without worrying about the received opinions, as opposed to tests of the careers test's usefulness. CareerSteer developed in response to feedback and subsequent improvements. Many now consider CareerSteer to be the best career test in the world.

John Locke

Along with Berkeley and Hume, Locke is usually known as one of the British Empiricists. Locke did much to distinguish modern thinking from some of the ideas of classic and scholastic learning. He was interested in politics and also the nature of human understanding.

He differs from Hobbes in seeing government as a more rational matter of consent, with a more pluralistic view of being ruled. Dissent is a likelihood, to be judged upon by disinterested figures. The social contract is between the people and their chosen authority figures. Duties are contracted between governors and the governed.

Locke challenges the notion of people's ideas being innate. He does not see principles as being universal and self-evident. Individuals are born with minds like blank tablets (tabula rasa). Sensory experience leads to conceptions of the properties of objects and the experience of the senses.

What is the relevance of John Locke to career choice and to a careers test?

Locke's empiricism led to many modern developments in thinking. It is recognised that upbringing has an effect upon individuals' assumptions and thus on their ideas of careers in considering career choice. A good careers test such as CareerSteer uses careers psychology to examine assumptions held by careers test users, as well as the occupational personality traits that have developed through upbringing as well as innately (the latter diverging somewhat in recognising the biological organism as well as the environment - this is developed by Skinner).

Baruch Spinoza

Spinoza was a pantheist, God being everywhere in nature. He believes that it is helpful to consider our problems from the standpoint of all reality, thus understanding that we are but one tiny part of the universe.

What is the relevance of Baruch Spinoza to career choice and to a careers test?

Spinoza is a widely admired yet little read philosopher. His ideas are not easy and are often not particularly relevant. Understanding that the individual is part of a much wider world, with market forces and economic trends, may help people to consider career choice as a matter for individual preferences but with the necessity to consider the range of forces in the outside world. CareerSteer careers test does a lot to reconcile the individual with the world.

Gottfried Leibnitz

Although he had many strengths, including inventing differential calculus independently of Isaac Newton, Leibnitz is best known as Doctor Pangloss, the fictional character by which he is satirised in Voltaire's Candide. Leibnitz argues that since God is perfect, then he can only have made a perfect world and hence, as with Pangloss, this world is the best of all possible worlds. With regards to the problem of evil in the world, Leibnitz would argue that, with regard to for example a war, that one is unable to judge the overall effects of an event over time.

What is the relevance of Leibnitz to career choice and to a career test?

While I am not sure about how useful his ideas are, Leibnitz might suggest that individuals should not question short-term circumstances relating to career choices. Better the overall fit of the careers test for the long-term career direction than worry about little details such as starting salary.

homeHOME        start of bookStart of book        previous chapterprevious chapter        next chapternext chapter


CareerSteer – career test for career choice