In The Value of Philosophy by Russell, he states that many people view philosophy as useless discussions on matters concerning questions that cannot be answered. He also states that societys view of a practical man is ones who recognize only material needs, who realize that men must have food for the body, but are oblivious of the necessity of providing food for the mind. As humans food is a necessity to survive but how do we care for our mind, through philosophy.
The mind is like a muscle, it needs to be exercised, stretched and pushed to the limit in order to perform at its best. Russells characterization of philosophy believes that philosophy can help broaden our mind and that is the main reason to study it. When one goes through life without questioning and believes whatever society tells them, it causes them to be trapped in a false idea of security. Philosophy prevents us from being trapped in this dogmatism way of life and encourages us to be more than what is expected of us. Platos view of philosophy seemed to be one that seeks to clarify the concept of knowledge.
Throughout Platos writings, he utilizes a lot of dialogue; there is always a discussion going on in order to not provide a concrete answer. In The Apology Plato began by summarizing Socrates accusation of challenging the gods and then goes on to explain Socrates further defiance by challenging the jury through questioning Meletus about his beliefs. Socrates challenges Meletus by asking Then every Athenian improves and elevates them, all with the exception of myself. I alone am their corrupter? Is that what you say?
Meletus answers by saying, Most definitely. This causes Meletus to look foolish because one man cannot be the reason for the youth to fail. The Apology was not an apology; instead it was Socrates justifying his actions by trying to prove a point and causing the jury to philosophize their decision. Instead of living life in a concrete way of life Socrates viewed life through the eyes of a philosopher and questioned everything from science to religion. In the Republic Plato further characterizes his views of philosophy through his ideology of justice.
Justice was not about what was right and wrong but mainly about what was more convenient to the person performing them. Therefore the idea of right and wrong is a vague concept, it is always changing depending on the situation. Platos characterization of philosophy causes it to also always change depending on how it is viewed through the eyes of each person. This process of philosophizing is a never-ending cycle of thoughts and questions.
Even though he believes life is filled with questions with no definite answer he still remains to ask them, this very aspect of philosophy causes us to expand our boundaries and imagination. I believe philosophy is the key to understanding one another. It not only allows us to avoid dogmatism but it also allows us to expand all boundaries that have been placed on us. This strengthens our brain and rather than becoming a follower, philosophy creates leaders. By philosophizing we are learning and challenging ourselves everyday. It puts life into perspective and helps to define the relative importance of ideas.