Origins, Branches and History

What is Philosophy?
• A: The Three Basic Questions: • The word “philosophy” (Greek, philosophia) means the love (philia) of wisdom (sophia). • The wisdom philosophers love and pursue arises from an inquiry guided by three basic questions:
• 1. • 2. • 3. What’s what?, What’s good?, and What do we know? And a related question - “What’s true?”

and • the nature of knowledge (what do we know? *and what’s true?+).• Philosophy as the love of wisdom begins with the attempt to answer these three basic questions as to • the nature of reality (what’s what?). . • the nature of value (what’s good?).

come to be divided into three main branches: • metaphysics (the philosophical study of reality).• For this reason. the discipline of philosophy has. • axiology (the philosophical study of value). and • epistemology (the philosophical study of the nature. over the centuries. . extent. and limits of human knowledge).

Metaphysics Logic Epistemology Aesthetics Ethics Political Philosophy Social philosophy Branches of Philosophy .

To summarise the major divisions of philosophy: • Metaphysics: reality (What’s what?) Ontology (being or reality in general) Philosophical cosmology (the cosmos) Philosophical theology (and the philosophy of religion) (“God”) Philosophical anthropology (human nature and human existence) .

• Axiology: value (What’s good?) Aesthetics (philosophy of art) Ethics (moral philosophy) Social and political philosophy .

Epistemology: knowledge and truth (What do we know *and what’s true+?) .

in defining the general nature of philosophy. . constructive and. critical (or “deconstructive”).B: Two Different Approaches to Philosophy: Philosophy is a two-sided intellectual enterprise. • It is a form of thinking that is. on the one hand. a distinction is usually made between: • constructive (sometimes called “speculative”) philosophy and • critical (deconstructive) philosophy. on the other hand. • Thus.

i. and the nature of human knowledge.• Constructive philosophy is the attempt to formulate (or construct) rationally defensible answers to certain fundamental questions concerning the nature of reality.e. to the three basic philosophical questions and their “spin-offs. the nature of value.” • Another way of defining constructive philosophy is to say that it is the attempt to formulate rationally defensible beliefs concerning the nature of reality. . and the nature of knowledge.. the nature of value.

experiential. in the strong sense when it is credible. on logical and/or empirical (i. in the weak sense when it withstands or survives criticism -. believable because it is supported by evidence and/or sound argumentation. it has not (yet) been refuted (that is to say.i.. evidential.What makes an answer or belief “rationally defensible”? • 1. • 2. factual) grounds. i..e. proved to be certainly or probably false).e. Thus..e. it appears to be either certainly or probably true. the answer or belief is plausible because. .

e. agrees with.. or describe reality. the “way things are.” what is in fact the case). . • false when it fails to correspond to. or describes reality (i. agree with.What makes a belief “true”? What makes a belief or proposition true as opposed to false? • A belief or proposition is: • true when it corresponds to.

Example • If it is in fact the case that the average college student at Ateneo de Zamboanga learns a great deal as a result of her studies at the college. . • then the claim that she does so is true. and the claim that she does not do so is false.

. and the claim that they are not so effective is false. • then the claim that such programs are effective in the sense stated is true. and venereal disease.Example • If sex education programs in the nation’s schools actually have the effect of reducing or at least limiting significantly the rates of promiscuity. unwanted pregnancy.

• Constructive philosophy. • The more ambitious forms of constructive philosophy aim at the construction of a comprehensive. then. and epistemological questions. axiological. . is the attempt to formulate rationally defensible answers to metaphysical. coherent. and intellectually (and perhaps also emotionally) satisfying world-view or philosophical system.

• To summarise: constructive philosophy concentrates on providing answers to fundamental philosophical questions. . critical (deconstructive) philosophy concentrates on questioning such answers.

Reality] • Is reality fundamentally one or many? [Monism -v.Pluralism] • What. endures through change? . being. or existence • Ontology • Why is there something rather than nothing? • Is it possible that there was a time before now when absolutely NOTHING existed? • What is ultimately (or REALLY) real? [Appearance -v. if anything.C: A list of sample questions in philosophy Metaphysics: questions concerning the nature of reality.

Agnosticism] • What is the nature of God? • What about the existence of evil (pain. and all-powerful deity? *“The Problem of Evil”+ • Is God good? • Can God be less than perfect in any respect? . suffering. what does that mean for us? Philosophical theology (and the philosophy of religion) • Does God exist? [Theism. all-good. how? • Will the cosmos cease to be in the future? If so. Atheism.Philosophical cosmology • What is the cosmos made of? How is it structured? • Did the cosmos come into being? If so. and disorder)? How can evil exist in a world created and governed by an all-knowing.

e.Philosophical anthropology Questions concerning human nature and human action: • What are the essential or distinctive characteristics of human nature? Is there such a thing as a “human nature” shared by all humans? • How are the human body and the human mind related to one another? *“The Mind-Body Problem”+ • Are there minds other than my own? *“The Problem of Other Minds”+ • Is there any objective reality at all (i.. a reality that exists independently of my consciousness/mind)? .

Interactionism) • Can we distinguish between good and bad aesthetic taste? If not. can it be defined? How? • Is aesthetic value intrinsic or extrinsic? • Is aesthetic value objective or subjective? Is it partly objective and partly subjective? (Objectivism. how? .Axiology: questions concerning the nature of value and the criteria by which values may be recognised Aesthetics (the philosophy of art) • Does art have a “nature” or “essence”? If not. why not? If so. how? • Does aesthetic experience differ from other types of experience? If not. why not? If so. why not? If so. Subjectivism.

desire. etc. nature. standards. rules.Ethics (moral philosophy) Normative ethics • What is the nature of morality? • What is the nature of moral goodness? • What moral principles. or values should we live by? • What are the basic rules or principles of morality? • What is the difference between right and wrong conduct? • What is the foundation of morality (God. reason.)? • What is the basis of moral duty or obligation? • What is the basis of moral responsibility? • What is the nature of moral virtue? .

• Epistemology: questions concerning knowledge and truth • What is the nature of knowledge? • What are the sources of knowledge? • What are the scope and limits of knowledge? • Is there any knowledge at all? Is knowledge possible? Is cognitive certainty possible? • What is the difference between knowledge and opinion? • What is the nature of truth? .

Ancient Philosophy Medieval Philosophy Modern Philosophy Contemporary Philosophy Historical Periods of Philosophy .

Philosophy of Science Philosophy of psychology Philosophy of mathematics Philosophy of biology Philosophy of education Philosophy of law Philosophies of Discipline .

Philosophy of mind Philosophy of feminism Philosophy of religion Philosophy of culture Philosophy of history Philosophy of love Philosophy of sport Philosophies of Subject .

Phenomenology Analytic Philosophy Existentialism Contemporary Philosophical Traditions .

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