In philosophy you’re supposed to use arguments to get to the truth. Ideally you and another bro with a different opinion go back and forth lobbing criticisms at the other person’s point of view. There isn’t an end point because philosophers never stop talking. There’s always something else to be critiqued, another point to mention, and another scenario to consider.
From outside, it might appear that the “point” of philosophy is to get somewhere, to arrive at the destination of wisdom. Spoiler alert: this never happens. This isn’t something philosophy promises from the beginning.
I think philosophy is more internally focused than this. Philosophy has strengths and weaknesses- it’s really great at helping you think about your beliefs and actions but it really sucks at delivering a capital a Answer to what you should be doing, thinking or feeling. What I mean is that you should read philosophy and think about philosophy and talk to people about philosophy insofar as it helps you think about whatever is important to you.
The reason that philosophy acts more like a mirror than a vehicle is that we’re not logic-based beings. As unpopular as this opinion is, we’re ruled a lot more by feelings and emotions than reason. We’re rooted to the things we care about in this life, no matter how stupid they are. So, for all your dinner table arguments with your parents about political philosophy the determining factor when you get to the voting booth is your feelings and experience- even if your dad has argued a more convincing case than you have.
So, philosophy can help you determine how you feel about something by asking reason-based questions. It can shed light on your own biases, but there’s got to be a visceral connection as well. It can lead you to water, but it can’t make you drink. An experience can change your mind about something you firmly believe, a relationship with someone who believes differently than you can do that, earnest self exploration can do it, but an argument can’t.
When is it going to be okay to talk about the limitations of reason? We’re people, not equations. Believing in something is a complicated and layered course of action that we steer with all parts of ourselves. Is it funny that marketers understand this but philosophers don’t?