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What Can Philosophy Do With Us?

The value of philosophy lies in the self-knowledge, interior depth, and sense of wonder that one acquires as a consequence of contemplating the fundamental categories of existence.

Unlike the sciences, philosophical activity is not identified by some specific body of knowledge it proposes to offer. Science is valuable because it provides answers, whereas philosophy is valuable because it provokes questions.

Philosophy invites us to attend to those questions whose answers are often difficult to define, troublesome to understand, and seemingly impossible to prove. Questions such as these, while an offense to our desire for simplicity and practicality, are ideal tools for cultivating the mind’s ability to reason clearly, imagine deeply, and think independently.

Even if a person fails at discovering concrete truths through philosophical investigation, they will, by their persistence in rigorously reflecting on the abstract, the provocative, the uncertain, and the paradoxical, make vast improvements in their ability to articulate what they think, analyze what they’re told, and appreciate what others believe.

Philosophy is not a static technique for finding truth, it’s a dynamic tool for facilitating transformation. 

The richest of possibilities lie not in our consideration of what we can do with philosophy, but in our contemplation of what philosophy can do with us.

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