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Definition and Nature of Philosophy: – Etymology: Originates from Ancient Greek words meaning ‘love’ and ‘wisdom.’ – Conceptions: Involves rational inquiry, deep contemplation of fundamental […]

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Definition and Nature of Philosophy:
– Etymology: Originates from Ancient Greek words meaning ‘love’ and ‘wisdom.’
– Conceptions: Involves rational inquiry, deep contemplation of fundamental questions, and the pursuit of wisdom.
– Academic Definitions: Contention over precise definition, essential shared features, and method or topic focus.
– Relation to Science: Defined in relation to science, challenges in progress compared to sciences, and as a precursor to developed sciences.

Historical Development of Philosophy:
– Western Philosophy: Originated in Ancient Greece, with figures like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle shaping philosophical topics.
– Arabic–Persian Philosophy: Emerged in the 9th century CE, influenced by Greek philosophers like Al-Kindi and Avicenna.
– Indian Philosophy: Started with the Vedas around 900 BCE, with schools like Buddhism and Jainism challenging Vedic ideas.
– Chinese Philosophy: Emphasizes harmony, Confucianism, Taoism, and Legalism, influencing various aspects of Chinese culture.
– Other Traditions: Japanese, Latin American, and African philosophies exploring identity, culture, and community values.

Core Branches of Philosophy:
– Epistemology: Studies knowledge, truth, sources of knowledge, and addresses issues like skepticism.
– Ethics: Studies right conduct, moral evaluation, standards of morality, and ethical theories like utilitarianism and deontology.
– Logic: Study of correct reasoning, formal and informal logic, deductive and non-deductive arguments, and fallacies.
– Metaphysics: Study of general reality features, ontology, philosophical cosmology, and questions on physical vs. non-physical entities.
– Other Major Branches: Aesthetics, philosophy of language, mind, religion, science, and political philosophy.

Specialized Areas of Philosophy:
– Philosophy of Religion: Explores religious beliefs, practices, concepts like God, faith, and the impact of religion on society and individuals.
– Philosophy of Mind: Studies mental phenomena, conscious states, mind-body problem, and contemporary views like functionalism.
– Philosophy of Science: Examines fundamental concepts, scientific methods, distinguishing science from pseudoscience, and overlaps with metaphysics and epistemology.
– Political Philosophy: Inquires into fundamental principles governing political systems, nature of government, legitimacy of political power, and justice.

Methodology and Schools of Thought in Philosophy:
– Schools of Thought: Confucianism, Daoism, Mohism, Legalism, and others shaping philosophical ideas.
– Methods in Philosophy: Ways of conducting philosophical inquiry, techniques for arriving at philosophical knowledge.

Philosophy (Wikipedia)

Philosophy (φιλοσοφία, 'love of wisdom', in Ancient Greek) is a systematic study of general and fundamental questions concerning topics like existence, reason, knowledge, value, mind, and language. It is a rational and critical inquiry that reflects on its own methods and assumptions.

Photo of Auguste Rodin's statue The Thinker
The statue The Thinker by Auguste Rodin is a symbol of philosophical thought.

Historically, many of the individual sciences, such as physics and psychology, formed part of philosophy. However, they are considered separate academic disciplines in the modern sense of the term. Influential traditions in the history of philosophy include Western, Arabic–Persian, Indian, and Chinese philosophy. Western philosophy originated in Ancient Greece and covers a wide area of philosophical subfields. A central topic in Arabic–Persian philosophy is the relation between reason and revelation. Indian philosophy combines the spiritual problem of how to reach enlightenment with the exploration of the nature of reality and the ways of arriving at knowledge. Chinese philosophy focuses principally on practical issues in relation to right social conduct, government, and self-cultivation.

Major branches of philosophy are epistemology, ethics, logic, and metaphysics. Epistemology studies what knowledge is and how to acquire it. Ethics investigates moral principles and what constitutes right conduct. Logic is the study of correct reasoning and explores how good arguments can be distinguished from bad ones. Metaphysics examines the most general features of reality, existence, objects, and properties. Other subfields are aesthetics, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, philosophy of mathematics, philosophy of history, and political philosophy. Within each branch, there are competing schools of philosophy that promote different principles, theories, or methods.

Philosophers use a great variety of methods to arrive at philosophical knowledge. They include conceptual analysis, reliance on common sense and intuitions, use of thought experiments, analysis of ordinary language, description of experience, and critical questioning. Philosophy is related to many other fields, including the sciences, mathematics, business, law, and journalism. It provides an interdisciplinary perspective and studies the scope and fundamental concepts of these fields. It also investigates their methods and ethical implications.

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