The psychologist William James once described philosophy as ‚a peculiar stubborn effort to think clearly‘. This is a rather dry definition, but is more nearly right than any other I know. True, clarity is not exactly the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of philosophy. There is no denying that philosophers‘ attempts to think clearly have often rudely backfired. (Any subject that is responsible for producing Heidegger, for example, owes the world an apology). Still, William James was right to describe philosophy as he did. Even the darkest of its practioners are struggling to make sense of things, and it is this effort that makes them philosophers.
[Anthony Gottlieb: The Dream of Reason, S. IX]