Philosophy and friendship

To me, what matters in philosophy is not what we can argue or analyze. When philosophy is used primarily for analysis or argument it is, at best, uninteresting.

What matters to me is how philosophy can enduringly change and improve how we conceive — and through changes in conception, change spontaneous givens of experience and what sense we can find in these givens, and what sense we can make of them.

This use of philosophy clearly is not for everyone. Some use philosophy for different purposes. And why shouldn’t they? Philosophy can have more than one purpose. Others pursue self-transformation by other means, such as religion, psychology, exercise and other forms of self-discipline. And so what? Many means can share a common purpose. Whatever gets the job done.

But for me philosophy is the most effective means of self-transformation, and self-transformation is philosophy’s most valuable purpose.

I no longer expect anyone — even friends — to understand, much less share these attitudes. But these attitudes are central to my existence, and the degree a person can respect that truth about me is the degree to which I can respect that person as a friend.

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