Philosophy, like mathematics, is a discription of the world as we see it. And like mathematics we can manipulate philosphy to look at the world in new ways and solve for unknowns. A problem I've noticed among philosophers, professional or not, is many of them forget to keep their philosophy in check with reality. A great example is a conversation a close friend of mine and I had about a week ago. My friend, Shawn, argued that philosphy was not to be trusted because it gets trapped in its own world. I disagreed, stating that it only happens to philosophers who don't keep their logic in check with reality.
Shawn argues, "To get to a door from where I was in the room I had to first get half way there. To get half way there I had to get half that distance, and to get half that distance I had to travel again half that distance, and continue to travel half the distance to infinity. Thus I couldn't get to the door because I had to travel the half distances to get there, which I would have to travel for ever since to get to the first half distance is infinity. But because I do reach the door and the philosphy of half distance is logical, philosophy reaches a point of being illogical and can not be trusted."
I reply, "Because I do reach the door your logic is falliceous. As you do travel a half distance to get to a destination, either distances cannot be divided to an infinate smallness (hence there is a point when a distance is as small as it can get) or I cannot move through an infinate space (hence a ruler measures 3 inches and I move 4 inches at a time). Regardles on the position we continue to argue about movement or distance this logic explains how we can reach a door by traveling half distances without contradicting itself. Because I kept my logic in check with reality I can explain reality."
Just about everything you read uses logic. I recommend dissecting every piece of logic you recognize and test it for fallacies (errors in thinking). Then you will develop a logical understanding of your own. It will also bring out the critic in you.