The most basic answer is that philosophy answers the way man thinks about the world. Everyone has a philosophy, and everyone's philosophy is shaped differently. People do go on to study it, and then often "pick" a philosophy, or look at opposing ones. Madmen, kings and queens and saints in history all have a philosophy that you can see playing out in their life.
It is one of my favorite subjects, and some of the best minds of the past have given much time and study to it. We see philosophy permeating out societies in almost every way. People have a philosophy about life, family, religion (even atheists), science, politics, etc. It is the thing (philosophy) that drives our answers to our opinions on all the things that matter most to us.
Philosophy, which to the ancient Greeks meant 'love of wisdom', is about man's search for an understanding of his world, and of himself. Ranging over every branch of human thought, it asks how life should be lived, and what knowledge is and how it is acquired.
It devises systems of ideas to explain human thought and knowledge; and it deduces conclusions from propositions by means of reasoned argument.
In the modern world, two main schools of thought compete. One system teaches that nothing can be taken at face value, and that everything must be proved by observation and experiment. The rival school sees philosophy as a tool for changing society, by equipping men with a complete system embracing every possible human experience.
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