I sincerely wish that I could recommend philosophy on grounds of efficiency and common sense. I should be listened to, understood, and believed. I should at once insinuate myself into the confidence of my reader. If I could but say: “Now look here! Philosophy is just a matter of plain, hard-headed common sense”; or, “If you want to succeed, try philosophy. It will help you to make and to sell, to outstrip competitors, and to be efficient in whatever you undertake”; if I could make such an appeal to you, your instincts and prejudices would secure me your ready sympathy. But I should have deceived you. What I should thus have recommended to you would not be philosophy. For philosophy is neither plain nor hard-headed; nor is it a means of success, as success is ordinarily construed. This is the case, not accidentally, but in principle. The very point of philosophy lies in the fallibility of common sense, and in the arbitrariness of vulgar standards of success. Philosophy is one of those things that must be met on its own ground. You must seek it where it is at home; if you insist upon its meeting you half-way it will turn out not to be philosophy at all, but some poor compromise—the name or husk of philosophy with the soul gone out of it. No one can understand what philosophy means unless he lets it speak for itself and in its own language. If philosophy is good, it is because it contributes to life something different, something peculiarly its own, and which cannot be measured by any standards save those which philosophy itself supplies.

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