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, reason,mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its  reliance on rational argument. The word "philosophy" comes from the Greek φιλοσοφία (philosophia),  which literally means "love of wisdom". In more casual speech the "philosophy" of a particular person can refer to the beliefs held by that person.
[fi-los-uh-fee] Show IPA noun, plural phi·los·o·phies.
1. the rational investigation of the truths and principles ofbeing, knowledge, or conduct. 2. any of the three branches, namely natural philosophy, moral philosophy, and metaphysical philosophy, that are acceptedas composing th is study. 3. a system of philosophical doctrine: the philosophy of Spinoza. 4. the critical study of the basic principles and concepts of aparticular branch of knowledge, especially with a view toimproving or reconstituting them: the ph ilosophy of science. 5. a system of principles for guidance in practical affairs.
Instead of being treated as a single, unified subject, philosophy is typically broken down into a number of specialties and it is common for contemporary philosophers to be experts in one field but know little about another. After all, philosophy addresses complex issues from all facets of life - being an expert on all of philosophy would entail being an expert on all of the most fundamental questions which life has to offer. This doesn't mean that each branch of philosophy is entirely autonomous - there is often much overlap between some fields, in fact. For example, political and legal philosophy often cross with ethics and morality, while metaphysical questions are common topics in the philosophy of religion. Sometimes even deciding which branch of philosophy a question properly belongs in isn't very clear.
Aesthetics This is the study of beauty and taste, whether in the form of the comic, the tragic, or the sublime. The word comes from the Greek aisthetikos, "of sense perception." Aesthetics has traditionally been part
Some only regard metaphysics as the study of "higher" reality or the "invisible" nature behind everything. writing about history. Philosophy of Science This is concerned with how science operates. instead. Epistemological studies usually focus upon our means for acquiring knowledge. religious doctrines. religious arguments and religious history. and how are we to understand it. It asks not only what mental phenomena are and what gives rise to them. It is. what they should be educated in. Metaphysics In Western philosophy this field has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality . Everything that happens in science has some relationship with the Philosophy of Science and is predicated upon some philosophical position. whereas Philosophy of Religion is committed to the investigation of religion itself rather than the truth of any particular religion. Logic is the study of methods of reasoning and argumentation. The line between theology and the philosophy of religion isn't always sharp because they share so much in common. as well as the Philosophy of Historiography. but they are close enough that they are presented together here. or the question of whether knowledge can be acquired a priori or a posteriori. focusing on the study of history. visible and invisible. Philosophy of History The Philosophy of History is a relatively minor branch in the field of philosophy. etc. but that isn't actually true. how history progresses. what relationship science should have with society. Philosophy of Mind The relatively recent specialty known as Philosophy of Mind deals with the consciousness and how it interacts with the body and the outside world. what the goals of science should be. even though that may be rarely evident. and what impact history has upon the present day. or Formal Philosophy of History. Logic and the Philosophy of Language These two fields are often treated separately. the study of all of reality. it is a part of pedagogy. thus modern epistemology generally involves a debate between rationalism and empiricism. This is an often neglected field of philosophy and is often addressed only be in educational programs designed to train teachers . Ethics Ethics is the formal study of moral standards and conduct and is also often called "moral philosophy. . why is it. Epistemology Epistemology is the study of the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. the Philosophy of Religion is the philosophical study of religious beliefs. and what the ultimate purpose of education should be for society. both proper and improper. Philosophy of Education This field deals with how children should be educated. committed to the defense of particular religious positions. which is learning how to teach.in that context. This is can be referred to as the Critical. Philosophy of Religion Sometimes confused with theology.and why? How should I balance my needs against the needs of others? These are some of the questions asked in the field of ethics.of other philosophical fields like epistemology or ethics but it started to come into its own and become a more independent field under Immanuel Kant. but the primary difference is that theology tends to be apologetical in nature. but also what relationship they have to the larger physical body and the world around us. the differences between science and other activities." What is good? What is evil? How should I behave . Analytical. The Philosophy of Language involves the study of how our language interacts with our thinking.what is it.
Politics is the study of political force in the general community while jurisprudence is the study of how laws can and should be used to achieve political and social goals. but they are presented here jointly because they both come back to the same thing: the study of force. .Political and Legal Philosophy These two fields are often studied separately.
but how to think. From a psychological point of view. i. of the principles underlying conduct. What is Philosophy? A. The derivation of the word "philosophy" from the Greek is suggested by the following words and word-fragments. liking of philander—to engage in love affairs frivolously philanthropy—love of mankind in general philately—postage stamps hobby phile—(as in "anglophile") one having a love for philology—having a liking for words sophos—wisdom sophist—lit. no one single sense of the word "philosophy. one who loves knowledge sophomore—wise and moros—foolish. The integrity of these divisions cannot be rigidly maintained. 3. one who thinks he knows many things sophisticated—one who is knowledgeable B. Some significant questions in axiology include the following: .Divisions of Philosophy Abstract: Philosophy. Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study. More often than not. the investigation of its nature. or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems (i. What is involved in the study of philosophy involves is described by the London Times in an article dealing with the 20th World Congress of Philosophy: "The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think. instead. philosophy is an attitude. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education. and metaphysical status. 2. turn to the kinds of things philosophers do.e. The Main Branches of Philosophy are divided as to the nature of the questions asked in each area. an approach. philo—love of. 1. It is the study of meaning. There is. The skills it hones are the ability to analyse. for one area overlaps into the others. or a calling to answer or to ask. thought and knowledge. I. specifically the kinds of problems usually relegated to the main branches discussed below in Section II). philosophical inquiry. affinity for. criteria. to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly." II. perhaps. . 0.e." Eventually many writers abandon the attempt to define philosophy and. and the main branches of philosophy are characterized. A suggested definition for our beginning study is as follows. the term "value theory" is used instead of "axiology" in contemporary discussions even though the term “theory of value” is used with respect to the value or price of goods and services in economics.. Axiology: the study of value.
. judgments. wouldn't each of the soldiers have the moral obligation or duty to save his comrades? Would we thereby expect each of the soldiers to vie for the opportunity to cover the grenade? i. His action probably saved lives. a grenade slips from the hand of one of them and rolls on the ground near the squad. . Did the soldier who threw himself on the grenade do the right thing? If he did not cover the grenade. (1) the rightness and wrongness of actions. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense. and (3) whether actions are blameworthy or praiseworthy. But if this were so. and limits of human knowledge. E. Status of value: how are values related to (scientific) facts? What ultimate worth. if any.g. a behavioral disposition. Is artistic value objective? Is it merely coincidental that many forms in architecture and painting seem to illustrate mathematical principles? Are there standards of taste? Is there a clear distinction between art and reality? ii.. methods. epistemology is the study of the nature. Consider this example analyzed by J. One might even be inclined to conclude that saving lives is a duty. Epistemology investigates the origin. A. structure. In particular..a. Axiology is usually divided into two main parts. Epistemology: the study of knowledge. a preference. one of them sacrifices his life by throwing himself on the grenade and protecting his comrades with his own body." ii. . or standards of beauty and related concepts. (2) the kinds of things which are good or desirable. (“there's no accounting for tastes”) or do objective standards apply? c.g. O. Æsthetics: the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings. Criteria of value: de gustibus non (est) disputandum(i. 0. Nature of value: is value a fulfillment of desire. . scope. do human values have? 1. Is art an intellectual or representational activity? What would the realistic representations in pop art represent? Does art represent sensible objects or ideal objects? i. Urmson in his well-known essay.e. taste. Ethics: the study of values in human behavior or the study of moral problems: e. a pleasure. several soldiers might be injured or be killed. It is quite unreasonable to suppose that such a man must be impelled by the sort of emotion that he might be impelled by if his best friend were in the squad. or simply a human interest of some kind? b. and emotion. certainly an action which saves lives is a morally correct action. "Saints and Heroes": "We may imagine a squad of soldiers to be practicing the throwing of live hand grenades. and integrity of knowledge. a.
if. (Q. the exact shape of the earth cannot be known. Consider the degree of truth of the statement. Furthermore. in fact. Ontology or Metaphysics: the study of what is really real. Metaphysics deals with the so-called first principles of the natural order and "the ultimate generalizations available to the human intellect. and so forth five minutes ago. What kinds of things exist? Do only particular things exist or do general things also exist? How is existence possible? Questions as to identity and change of objects—are you the same person you were as a baby? as of yesterday? as of a moment ago? 1. an idea is not extended in space. Any evidence to the contrary would be evidence created by God five minutes ago. records.." For example.. the Omphalos hypothesis. our process of surveying would alter the surface by the footprints left and the impressions of the survey stakes and instruments..) What is space? What is time? . flattened at the poles). I. B.) a.) 2. with a population that "remembered" a wholly unreal past.v. Hence.e. Suppose everything in the universe (including all spatial relations) were to expand uniformly a thousand times larger." Specifically. "There is no logical impossibility in the hypothesis that the world sprang into being five minutes ago. How could we ever know it? A moment's thought reveals that the mass of objects increases by the cube whereas the distance among them increases linearly. an omnipotent God could create the world with all the memories. consider two well-known problems in epistemology: . How do ideas exist if they have no size. etc. b. 1. historical records.. how could we ever know of it? As Russell wrote in The Analysis of Mind." Does its truth depend upon the context in which the statement is uttered? For example. be answered by principles of elementary physics. complete with memory images. life would be possible. 0. changes in the measurement of gravity and the speed of light would be evident. or color? (My idea of the Empire State Building is quite as "small" or as "large" as my idea of a book. if such an expansion were possible. shape. (Note here as well the implications for skepticism and relativism: simply because we cannot exactly describe the exact shape of the earth. Russell's Five-Minute-World Hypothesis is a philosophical problem. history books. of the types of existent things. indeed. Russell's Five-Minute-World Hypothesis: Suppose the earth were created five minutes ago. Hence. Every rain shower changes the shape. There is no logically necessary connection between events at different times. exactly as it then was. the conclusion does not logically follow that the earth does not have a shape. ontology seeks to indentify and establish the relationships between the categories. the impossibility of the objects in the universe expanding is a scientific problem since the latter problem can.e. But what about the Himalayas and the Marianas Trench? Even if we surveyed exactly the shape of the earth. "The earth is round. this statement can be successively more accurately translated as … "The earth is spherical" "The earth is an oblate spheroid" (i. if any. therefore nothing that is happening now or will happen in the future can disprove the hypothesis that the world began five minutes ago.
” The metaphysical issues most discussed are the existence of God. asserts that all our knowledge comes from our five senses. 2. 1. right and wrong. To use the terminology of the empiricist. euthanasia. Empiricism. Logic .” Epistemology deals with the process by which we can know that something is true. and the environment. Ethics Ethics is the study of moral value. Important ethical issues today include abortion.2. It addresses questions such as: --What can I know? --How is knowledge acquired? --Can we be certain of anything? Within epistemology there are two important categories—rationalism and empiricism. are events necessary? Under what conditions are they possible? III. our minds are a “blank slate” at birth. 4. 3.” More specifically it is the study of reality that is beyond the scientific or mathematical realms. the death penalty. E. John Locke. Ethics is involved with placing value to personal actions. the soul. When. The term “metaphysics” itself literally means “beyond the physical. pornography. and relations. Thus knowledge comes from our experiences. Rationalism holds that knowledge is gained primarily through the mind..g. Rationalism stresses reason as the most important element in knowing. Epistemology Epistemology is the study of “knowledge. lines. decisions. or planes real or not? Of what are they made? 3. Consider the truths of mathematics: in what manner do geometric figures exist? Are points. Further characteristics of philosophy and examples of philosophical problems are discussed in the next tutorial. on the other hand. It also asserts that we are born with innate ideas that precede any experiences we may have with our physical senses. if ever. and the afterlife. What is spirit? or soul? or matter? space? Are they made up of the same sort of "stuff"? 4. sexual morality. Metaphysics Metaphysics is the study of “reality.
and how they are and should be followed. nature of universe. and empiricism.. The two values studied in axiology are as follows: Aesthetics Aesthetics deals with sense. how we obtain knowledge. It attempts to address such issues as: --What is art? --What is the relationship between beauty and art? --Are there objective standards by which art can be judged? --Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? Main Branches of Philosophy Metaphysics The name 'Metaphysics' is derived from the Greek words 'Meta'. followed by his own students Plato and Xenophon. culture. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. Axiology Axiology is that branch of philosophy which deals with the study of value. classicism. special focus. have made a notable contribution to this branch of philosophy. It questions the existence of spiritual beings. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciation of art. Aesthetics Aesthetics is the study of art and beauty. It is the tool philosophers use to study other philosophical categories.Logic is the study of right reasoning.The study of social dimensions of knowledge Epistemology has various theories of justification. perception.Studies the foundation of moral values .The study of being or existence Natural Theology .The study of God and creation Universal Science . Kant and Hume. The practice of defining and criticizing appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.The study of nature of truth Formal Epistemology . etc. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. Aesthetics questions the definition and value of art. one of the most wellknown philosophers. romanticism. Famous epistemologists like Descartes. Socrates was the one who first contributed to this field. which means beyond or after. His book 'Metaphysics' is one of the prominent works in the branch of philosophy. and 'Physika'. 5. It is that branch of philosophy which goes beyond the realms of science. acknowledged Thales as the first known metaphysician. imitation. Denis Dutton identified the six universal signatures in human aesthetics as expertise. Symbolism. life after death. are the various theories associated with aesthetics. are a few of them. and how they apply to various situations.The study of first principles like the law of identity Epistemology It deals with the definition of knowledge and its scope and limitations. Ethics can be further divided into: Meta-ethics . It translates from Greek to mean 'theory of knowledge'.Meta-philosophical study of the methods and aim of epistemology Social Epistemology . which means physics. how much do we know. Ethics Ethics is concerned with questions on morality and values. and appreciation of beauty. Aristotle.The use of logic and probability to illuminate problems related to epistemology Meta-epistemology . etc. and nature. Good logic includes the use of good thinking skills and the avoidance of logic fallacies. Skepticism. modernism. criticism. externalism. probability theory. and how do we have this knowledge? Epistemology is further divided into Alethiology . how they develop. internalism. foundationalism. style. and non-utilitarian pleasure. It questions the meaning of knowledge. The main branches of metaphysics are: Ontology . Ethics seeks to understand the basis of morals.
which states that the mind and body are two distinct entities. Feminism. Wittgenstein and Locke.Deals with morally correct actions in various human fields. The philosophy of education overlaps in the area of study of both. and monism. and how it affects our thoughts. Philosophy of Religion This branch is associated with religion and God. This subject has deeply affected our lifestyle. values. It is designed to be different from religious philosophy. Plato. It can thus be further divided into the western and eastern schools of philosophy. Karl Marx. business and environmental ethics. Aristotle and Confucius are some of the influential political philosophers. and what its ideals should be. for example .Normative Ethics . our government systems. Socialism. law. It tries to understand and rationalize the relations between value systems and the entity of God. the various branches of philosophy and of education. It has also helped in the research related to artificial intelligence and understanding the human brain. Mill. Hobbes. It is divided into two major schools of thought. Philosophy of Education This branch of philosophy deals with the study of education and ways in which it can be improved. Aristotle. culture.Examines what actions are right and wrong Applied Ethics . It tries to avoid the imaginary or assumptions without real logical proof. namely dualism. methods in which it can be done. and therefore has various other branches like philosophy of science.To believe that the existence of God cannot be proven Atheism . the mathematical study of logic and applying logic in mathematics Other Branches of Philosophy Political Philosophy It is concerned with all the things to do with government. which states that the mind and body are not distinct. and philosophers from different parts of the world have come up with their own unique ideas and theories.professional.To believe that God does not exist at all Philosophy is a very vast subject. laws. and still generates a lot of debate. Informal . and evolutionary biology. Marxism. It also includes studying how language relates to the truth in the world. It is now divided into mathematical logic and philosophical logic. It has inspired work in many modern-day sciences. studies and explains everything that there is to do with the mind. This has been a topic of interest for philosophers the world over. among other things. The three most important terms related to philosophy of religion are: Theism . Communism. and Liberalism are some theories associated with this branch of philosophy.Analyzes the properties of propositions and not their forms Symbolic . Works of Plato.Includes both.S. Philosophy of Language It includes study on topics such as origin. Philosophy as a subject .To believe that God exists Agnosticism . Logic Among the branches of philosophy. psychology. logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions.Represents logical principles using symbols Mathematical . Kant and Nietzsche in the field of ethics is quite illustrious. It includes the system of statements and arguments. Prominent philosophers of language include Plato. history. Philosophy of Mind Philosophy of the mind. It also deals with finding the best ways to impart instructions. neuroscience. Locke and J. but looks at religion as a whole. It deeply studies and understands the nature of language.Analyzes the arguments that occur in everyday language Formal . It is a widely studied subject. and how it relates to the minds of the people who are communicating. It tries to understand and explain the nature and need of education. nature and usage of language. so that it is not biased by certain faiths and beliefs. and even technology. including computer science. as the name suggests. It deals with the relationships and obligations of people in a state and their communities. It also includes citizens' rights. and anthropology. and justice systems. how it helps in communication.
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