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PART I

BRIEFLY EXPLAIN PHILOSOPHY

1.1 Introduction

At its simplest, philosophy, means the love of wisdom meaning from


the Greek word. It is the study of knowledge, or "thinking about thinking".
There are many definitions to the term Philosophy. According to the
philosophers, Philosophy is a precious of analysis, criticism, interpretation
and speculation. As used originally by the ancient Greeks, the term
"philosophy" meant the pursuit of knowledge and covering ALL areas of
speculative thought, including the arts, sciences and religion. Many
philosophers have given definitions for the question What is Philosophy

Philosophy is thinking really hard about the most important


questions and trying to bring analytic clarity both to the
questions and the answers. ~ Marilyn Adams
Philosophy is the study of the costs and benefits that accrue when you
take up a certain position. For example, f youre arguing about free will
and youre trying to decide whether to be a compatibilist or
incompatibilist is free will compatible with causal determinism?
what youre discovering is what problems and what benefits you get
from saying that it is compatible, and what problems and benefits you
get from saying its incompatible. ~ Peter Adamson

Main branches of philosophy are Science, Aesthetics, Politics, Ethics, Religion,


Epistemology, Logic and Metaphysics. However, the study of philosophy is
not always about discovering all of the answers to worlds burning questions.
Skepticism, which means theory of certain knowledge is impossible lies at
the heart of philosophy. Hence, asking a question is considered more
important than answering one. In philosophy, questioning a belief or social
practice sets people onto the path of true understanding.

1.2 Key Concepts/Views/Ideas

In general Philosophy is about questioning. So in a way we all are engaged in


philosophy. Philosophers ask questions about what people believe. And it is
all about examining ourselves and our beliefs. As the famous philosopher
Socrates told The Unexamined life is not worth living. For an example
examining our beliefs is important. To answer big questions in our lives and
worlds the philosophy can be categorized in to main branches Science,
Aesthetics, Politics, Ethics, Religion, Epistemology, Logic and Metaphysics.

The field of ethics or moral philosophy involves systematizing, defending,


and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior. Philosophers today
generally divide ethical theories into three common subject areas namely
metaethics, normative ethics, and applied ethics. Metaethics investigates,
and asks questions like where our ethical principles come from, and what
they mean? Are they merely social inventions? Do they involve more than
expressions of our individual emotions? Metaethical answers to these
questions focus on the issues of universal truths, the will of God, the role of
reason in ethical judgments, and the meaning of ethical terms themselves.
Normative ethics takes on a more practical task, which is to arrive at moral
standards that regulate right and wrong conduct. This may involve
articulating the good habits that we should acquire, the duties that we
should follow, or the consequences of our behavior on others. Finally, applied
ethics involves examining direct controversial issues, such as animal rights,
environmental concerns, abortion, homosexuality, nuclear war or subjects
like capital punishment. Epistemology is the study of the nature and scope of
knowledge and belief. It analyzes the nature of knowledge and how it
connects to some similar notions such as truth, belief and justification. It also
deals with the means of generation of knowledge, as well as skepticism
about different knowledge claims. It is typically about issues having to do
with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of
inquiry.Epistemology asks questions like: "What is knowledge?", "How is
knowledge acquired?", "What do people know?", "What are the necessary
and sufficient conditions of knowledge?", "What is its structure, and what are
its limits?", "What makes justified beliefs justified?", "How we are to
understand the concept of justification?", "Is justification internal or external
to one's own mind?".

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that concerned with the nature of


existence, being and the world. So without arguing, we can say metaphysics
is the foundation of philosophy. As Aristotle says "first philosophy" and says it
is the subject that deals with "first causes and the principles of things". It
asks questions like: "What is the nature of reality?", "How does the world
exist, and what is its origin or source of creation?", "Does the world exist
outside the mind?", "How can the incorporeal mind affect the physical
body?", "If things exist, what is their objective nature?", "Is there a God or
many gods, or no god at all?". over time metaphysics has effectively become
the study of that which transcends physics.

Political philosophy is the study of fundamental questions about the state,


government, politics, liberty, justice and the enforcement of a legal code by
authority. It is Ethics applied to a group of people, and discusses how a
society should be set up and how one should act within a society. Individual
rights (such as the right to life, liberty, property, the pursuit of happiness,
free speech, self-defense, etc.) state explicitly the requirements for a person
to benefit rather than suffer from living in a society. Political philosophy asks
questions like: "What is a government?", "Why are governments needed?",
"What makes a government legitimate?", "What rights and freedoms should
a government protect?", "What duties do citizens owe to a legitimate
government, if any?" and "When may a government be legitimately
overthrown, if ever?", How should government be oorganized?, Who
decides who the leaders should be?, What laws are good and necessary?,
How should law be enforced? etc. Aesthetics is the branch of philosophy
concerned with the nature and appreciation of art, beauty and good taste. It
has also been defined as "critical reflection on art, culture and nature". The
word "aesthetics" derives from the Greek "aisthetikos", meaning "of sense
perception". Along with Ethics, aesthetics is part of axiology (the study of
values and value judgements). In practise we distinguish between aesthetic
judgements (the appreciation of any object, not necessarily an art object)
and artistic judgements (the appreciation or criticism of a work of art). Thus
aesthetics is broader in scope than the philosophy of art. It is also broader
than the philosophy of beauty, in that it applies to any of the responses we
might expect works of art or entertainment to elicit, whether positive or
negative. Aestheticians ask questions like "What is beauty?, What is art?,
What is the value of beauty and art?, Who should judge what is beautiful
or artistic?, How should art and beauty be judged? etc. Logic (from the
Greek "logos", which has a variety of meanings including word, thought,
idea, argument, account, reason or principle) is the study of reasoning, or the
study of the principles and criteria of valid inference and demonstration. It
attempts to distinguish good reasoning from bad reasoning. Aristotle defined
logic as "new and necessary reasoning", "new" because it allows us to learn
what we do not know, and "necessary" because its conclusions are
inescapable. It asks questions like "What is correct reasoning?", "What
distinguishes a good argument from a bad one?", "How can we detect a
fallacy in reasoning?" Logic investigates and classifies the structure of
statements and arguments, both through the study of formal systems of
inference and through the study of arguments in natural language. It deals
only with declarative sentences, used to make an assertion, as opposed to
questions, commands or sentences expressing wishes that are capable of
being true and false. Philosophy of Religion is the branch of philosophy that
is concerned with the philosophical study of religion, including arguments
over the nature and existence of God, religious language, miracles, prayer,
the problem of evil, and the relationship between religion and other value-
systems such as science and ethics. It is often regarded as a part of
Metaphysics, especially insofar as it is interested in understanding what it is
for something to exist, although arguably it also touches on issues commonly
dealt with in Epistemology, Ethics, Logic and the Philosophy of Language. It
asks such questions as "Are there sound reasons to think that God does or
does not exist?", "If there is a God, then what is he like?", "What, if anything,
would give us good reason to believe that a miracle has occurred?" etc.

1.3 Conclusion

Today, philosophers can be found working in nearly every career field. Some
are scientists developing ways to test household products without using
animals. Some are politicians and human rights activists fighting for changes
in foreign policy that will alleviate war and poverty for millions of Third World
citizens. Some are economists seeking practical solutions to economic
inequality. Still others are programmers working on the cutting edge of
technology to develop faster and more efficient computer software. So briefly
philosophy can be considered as a subject which concerns everybody.
References

http://www.philosophybasics.com/general_whatis.html

http://www.vuletic.com/hume/ph/philosophy.html

http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?PageContentID=1759&tabid=24640

http://www.whatisphilosophy.net/

http://www.iep.utm.edu/ethics/