Without conversation, philosophy is dogma
"Western philosophy has its origins in conversation, in face-to-face discussions about reality, our place in the cosmos, and how we should live. It began with a sense of mystery, wonder, and confusion, and the powerful desire to get beyondmere appearances to find truth or, if not that, at least some kind of wisdom or balance.
The point of philosophy is not to have a range of facts at your disposal, though that might be useful, nor to become a walking Wikipedia or ambulant data bank: rather, it is to develop the skills and sensitivity to be able to argue about some of the most significant questions we can ask ourselves, questions about reality and appearance, life and death, god and society. As Plato’s Socrates tells us, ‘These are not trivial questions we are discussing here, we are discussing how to live.’
A page of writing might seem intelligent, but whatever question you ask of it, it responds in precisely the same way each time you read it — as this sentence will, no matter how many times you return to it.
[Wittgenstein pointed out]…‘Telling someone something he will not understand is pointless, even if you add he will not understand it.’ The inflections of speech allowed Socrates to exercise his famous irony, to lay emphasis, to tease, cajole, and play, all of which is liable to be misunderstood on the page. A philosopher might jot down a few notes as a reminder of passing thoughts, Socrates suggested, but, for philosophical communication, conversation was king.
…there is more to this ‘spoken philosophy’ than simply the words uttered, and the ideas discussed. Audible non-verbal aspects of the interaction, such as hearing the smile in someone’s voice, a moment of impatience, a pause (of doubt perhaps?), or insight — these factors humanise philosophy. They make it impossible to think of it as just a mechanical application of rigorous logic, and reveal something about the thinker as well as the position taken. Enthusiasm expressed through the voice can be contagious and inspirational.”