When we lust after a body, love a person, enjoy a career, love life, look forward to supper, know a theory, it is truly that body, that person, that career, life, supper, and theory that we want and that we relate to. If any of these turns to out to be false, different from what we thought, our connection with them changes. In other words, all of our many kinds of relating to the world around us have in common that they are connections to truth.
(With thanks to the artist, Guillem Ramos-Poqui.)
Philosophy is the love of the most basic truth of things. That is, philosophy is the name of what is common to all our personal connections with the world around us. In studying philosophy, we refine all of our relations to the world, our lusts, loves, enjoyments, and understandings. In doing this, we also refine all our capacities for disgust, hate, despair, and confusion. In other words, we become more fully human, more fully alive, whatever else we are also doing.
Philosophy also has its more specific benefits as a training of our intellects and ability to communicate. It gives us skills for negotiating problems in our lives as we grow and change with others who grow and change. Inside the university, statistically, philosophy majors tend to score higher in the GRE and LSAT than majors in any other field, and higher on the MCAT than any majors outside of the sciences. And outside the university, businesses like to employ philosophy majors, since they have developed their communication, writing, and problem-solving skills.
*Philosophers left to right: Aristotle, Alain Locke, John Locke, Julia Kristeva, Descartes, Mary Wollstonecraft, Henry Thoreau