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finding answers to ultimate questions. While every other science aims at investigating a specific area of knowledge, such as physics or psychology, philosophy has been defined as “thinking about thinking.” At the same time, as expressed by its Greek etymology, philosophy is the love of wisdom. Traditionally at least, it is not the pursuit of knowledge for knowledge’s sake, but rather the attempt to discover the meaning and purpose of existence, including through intellectual means, but including also self-reflection, discipline, and religious practice and inquiry. Though the term philosophy is of Western origin and implies a kind of investigation typical of western culture, it has its equivalents in the various other cultures of the world, notably India, China and the Middle East.
The Nature of Philosophy
Methods and definitions
Philosophy has almost as many definitions as there have been philosophers, both as a subject matter and an activity. The word is derived from the ancient Greek word "Φιλοσοφία" (philo-sophia), which means "love of wisdom." Though no single definition of philosophy is uncontroversial, and the field has historically expanded and changed depending upon what kinds of questions were interesting or relevant in a given era, it is generally agreed that philosophy is a method, rather than a set of claims, propositions, or theories. Its investigations are based upon rational thinking, striving to make no unexamined assumptions and no leaps based on faith or pure analogy. Different philosophers have had varied ideas about the nature of reason, and there is also disagreement about the subject matter of philosophy. Some think that philosophy examines the process of inquiry itself. Others, that there are essentially philosophical propositions which it is the task of philosophy to prove. The issue of the definition of philosophy is nowadays tackled byMetaphilosophy (or the philosophy of philosophy). Modern usage of the term is extremely broad, covering reflection on every aspect of human knowledge and the means by which such knowledge can be acquired. In the contemporary English-speaking academic world, the term is often used implicitly to refer to analytic philosophy and, in non-English speaking countries, it often refers implicitly to a different, European strain,continental philosophy. Did you know?
Until the Renaissance, 'philosophy' and 'science' were considered the same discipline.
Until the Renaissance, 'philosophy' and 'science' were considered the same discipline. This earlier tradition remains today in the expression PhD, or “Philosophiae Doctor” (doctor of philosophy), which is by no means limited to graduates of philosophy proper, as one can have a PhD in biology, music, or nursing to name but a few areas of expertise. Similarly, German-speaking academia still knows the division between “Philosophy I” (philosophy and the humanities) and “Philosophy II” (the natural sciences). Many ancient Greek philosophers distinguished the desire for wisdom from desires for material things, vices, and the satisfaction of bodily desires. The definition ofwisdom for many ancient Greeks would have been about virtue and the desire for knowledge as opposed to false opinions. However, the term is notoriously difficult to define because of the diverse range of ideas that have been labeled as philosophy. The Penguin Dictionary of Philosophy defines it as the study of "the most fundamental and general concepts and principles involved in thought, action, and reality." The Penguin Encyclopedia says that philosophy differs from science in that philosophy's questions cannot be answered empirically, and from religion in that philosophy allows no place for faith or revelation. However, these points are called into question by the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, which states: "the late 20th-century… prefers to see philosophical reflection as continuous with the best practice of any field of intellectual enquiry." Indeed, many of the speculations of early philosophers in the field of natural philosophy eventually formed the basis for modern scientific explanations on a variety of subjects.
Philosophy as a Worldview
the universe. Others come from Asia. and metaphysics asks about how the world works and what it is made of. asks what we should do in our everyday lives. which means the way a person thinks about the world. finding no place along practical and technical concerns and religious or ideological beliefs. This meaning of the term is perhaps as important as the classical definition. the may easily be incompatible and contradictory. However. and many more. such as: What is good? What is beautiful? Do we have free will? Does God exist? Does the world around us exist? What is a person? What is truth? What is evil? What is the relationship between mind and body? These ideas and questions from philosophy. worked out by a philosopher (someone who has studied ways of thinking about the world). academic or other. such as Confucius or Buddha. This article is not about people's "personal philosophies. have formed a large body of questions and knowledge that are written down in books. Ethics. leaving those who maintain them with a sense of uneasiness. knowingly or unknowingly. it is most likely to be at odds with other convictions held by that same individual. Sometimes people talk about how they have a "personal philosophy". However. lives and operates based upon a set of values and beliefs that are often unexpressed and even unconscious. If a man professes that “only money counts in life. Virtually everyone. such as a secret passion for art or love for his family. and about people. for example. efforts are being made to remove philosophy from its crumbling ivory tower and make it into a discipline. There are many different types of philosophy from different times and places. A philosophy is a group of ideas. As a result. Some philosophers are from the Middle Ages in Europe.A "philosophy" may also refer to a general worldview or to a specific ethic or belief that can be utterly unrelated to academic philosophical considerations. A philosophy is a way of thinking about the world. Some philosophers come from Ancient Greece. such as Plato and Aristotle. The ideas in philosophy are abstract. which means that they are "things that cannot be touched. it is often considered empty and useless speculation." But this does not mean that philosophy is not about the real world." This article is about the ideas that have been thought about by philosophers (people who think and write about ways of thinking) for a long time. Philosophy once competed with theology and mathematics for the title of “queen of the sciences. because it affects each human being.” Today. such as William of Ockham or Saint Thomas Aquinas. that can lead to a clarification of one’s personal opinions and goals. as well as an informed evaluation of the many issues in public life. . For thousands of years philosophers have asked questions.” this is a philosophical stance.
mind. A system of thought based on or involving such inquiry: the philosophy of Hume. To live. which literally means "love of wisdom". and language.] The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language. generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational argument. knowledge. Philosophy A philosophy is a system of beliefs about reality. an underlying theory: an original philosophy of advertising. 6. Every man has an understanding of the world. 4. Philosophers from the 1900s included Ludwig Wittgenstein and Jean-Paul Sartre. man. 5. Every man must have a philosophy. Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems. Updated in 2009. to gain knowledge of particular objects. Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. except medicine. and theology. man must form conclusions about its very nature. values. from Greek philosophi . Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. metaphysics. man must gain knowledge of the world. knowledge. It is one's integrated view of the world. from philosophos. All rights reserved. It is the standard by which ideas are integrated and understood. The discipline comprising logic. 7. and use his mind to support his life. phi·los·o·phies 1. and his role in the world. Philosophy is a necessary product of man's rational mind. The critical analysis of fundamental assumptions or beliefs. such as existence. lover of wisdom. He must recognize that conclusions are possible because the world does exist. based on logical reasoning rather than empirical methods. It provides the premises by which man can discover truth. René Descartes. It includes an understanding of the nature of existence. To understand the world. It is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical. PHilosophy of man is the study of man and its philosophy in life that is subdivided into many branches such us ethics. 1700s. philosopher. [Middle English philosophie. aesthetics. reason. causes. and was originally a word referring to the special way of life of early Greek philosophers.Philosophers from the 1600s. and exists in a particular way. and epistemology. law. pl. A system of values by which one lives: has an unusual philosophy of life. 2. The disciplines presented in university curriculums of science and the liberal arts. 8. John Locke. For instance. A set of ideas or beliefs relating to a particular field or activity. David Hume. Philosophy provides the framework for which man can understand the world. philosophy [fɪˈlɒsəfɪ] . from Old French. even if it is never made explicit. or principles of reality. phi·los·o·phy (f -l s -f ) n. 3. man must recognize that objects have identity. The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia). Investigation of the nature. and Immanuel Kant. Philosophy is the foundation of knowledge. Love and pursuit of wisdom by intellectual means and moral self-discipline. metaphysics natural philosophy etc. see philosopher. or values. ethics. and 1800s included Thomas Hobbes. from Latin philosophia.
esp alchemy.n pl -phies 1. in particular. values. (Philosophy) the academic discipline concerned with making explicit the nature and significance of ordinary and scientific beliefs and investigating the intelligibility of concepts by means of rational argument concerning their presuppositions. and interrelationships. (Literary & Literary Critical Terms) Archaic or literary the investigation of natural phenomena. and the relationship between language and reality (semantics) 2. astrology. or tenets 6. implications. the rational investigation of the nature and structure of reality (metaphysics). the resources and limits of knowledge (epistemology). a personal outlook or viewpoint 7. (Philosophy) the particular doctrines relating to these issues of some specific individual or school the philosophy of Descartes 3. the principles and import of moral judgment (ethics). and astronomy 5. serenity of temper . (Philosophy) the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of a discipline the philosophy of law 4. any system of belief.
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