The difficulty of philosophy, Wittgenstein once suggested, is knowing when to stop.

The question ‘What is philosophy?’ can itself be questioned, and these question marks in turn can be scutinzed for their appeal and suitability, and so on. It might be asked, for instance, why the subject should be represented in necessary and sufficient conditions; conditions coupled to some metaphysical object hovering tantilizingly above our heads – a thing which no one sees, but which we think is not entirely imperceptible. This question may appeal to some philosophers, others not, while it may repel some in the strongest sense. What one conceives the subject to be is more often than not a question of personal temperament, of ‘how things are settled in me’.

In any event, there are as many conceptions of philosophy as there are philosophers, which may be a clue, for in practice the subject lacks the formal unity of the sciences.  Whatever else we conceive it to be, philosophy is thoroughly interrogative, which may not in itself be a terribly illuminating thing to say, except that when we remember that a philosopher is someone who primarily thinks the question, not the answer to the question. For it is of course a further question what an ‘answer’ to a philosophical question can be or looks like, what face it presents to our searching eyes, how to take it in, or even what to do with it tomorrow. And the great lack of consensus among philosophers, which is typical in most philosophical discussions, certainly complicates matters even more.

Wittgenstein also said, autobiographically, that a philosopher is a citizen of no community in particular. Well, that simply goes for him. And others like him (Nietzsche). In my humble view, philosophy can be a joy. And the joy of it lies in the valued membership others grant me as part of an intellectual community of like-minded individuals, who form my philosophical millieu, and with whom I exchange and above all share questions, points of view, scraps of logic, remembrances, distant visions and lost horizons.  The sharing of it all is key, I believe. But, why?

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